With the Senate GOP in disarray, is a temporary unemployment extension in the cards? Majority leader Mitch McConnell is scrambling to put together a COVID-19 relief bill though broad disagreements remain within his caucus and with the White House. Some GOP senators are pushing for a temporary extension of the expanded federal unemployment benefits that expire in a few days.
Two Trump Fed nominees advance. The Senate Banking Committee sent to the floor Trump’s latest nominations to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. One, Christopher Waller, is relatively non-controversial. But the panel approved Judy Shelton, who has backed a return to the gold standard and is seen as highly political, on a party-line vote.
A Silicon Valley county proposes a sales tax hike to fund COVID-19 costs. The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors acknowledge that a sales tax is regressive, but still may put a five-eighths of one cent retail sales tax increase on the November ballot. The tax would continue for five years, and generate about $250 million annually. The measure would help close a $300 million budget deficit and support the county’s COVID-19 response including safety net services, food and shelter, contact tracing, and testing and treatment of patients in county hospitals.
District of Columbia is back to square one in filling an $18 million budget hole. The chairman of the DC Council dropped his own proposal for a 3 percent advertising tax after opposition from The Washington Post and marketing groups. They argued the tax would hurt businesses and make it difficult for small media outlets to earn advertising revenue. The DC Council will vote on its $16.8 billion spending plan today.
Will the European Commission appeal EU’s ruling on $15 billion in Irish tax subsidies to Apple? The General Court of the European Union ruled in favor of Apple and Ireland last week, finding that the European Commission had misinterpreted the facts of Apple’s structure and Irish tax law. Bloomberg Tax explains that a loss on factual grounds is harder to appeal than a rejection of a legal argument. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports (paywall) that the disputed tax subsidies continue to sit in an escrow account whose balance will fall as time goes on.
South Korea will levy a 20 percent tax on cryptocurrency trading income. Under the new framework announced by the South Korean government this week, the Ministry of Economy and Finance will impose at 20 percent tax on annual gains exceeding $2,000 made from virtual currencies and intangible assets.
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