Trump Administration wants a say in South Dakota v. Wayfair. Solicitor General Noel Francisco has asked for time during the US Supreme Court’s oral arguments in the online sales tax case next month. The justices may decide whether South Dakota can require out-of-state sellers to collect the sales tax, even if the retailers have no physical presence in the state. The White House wants states to have more authority to collect sales tax on internet purchases.
Budget negotiations continue. There may need to a be a two- or three-day stopgap measure, given the difficulty Congress is having in completing a spending bill.
Also on the Hill: Determining the value of tax extenders. TaxNotes reports that the House Ways & Means Tax Policy Subcommittee will set up a process for bipartisan discussion on tax extenders. This follows a March 14 hearing in which industry groups and think tanks shared their views.
Are Americans uninformed about foreign aid? “On average, Americans think 28 percent of the federal budget is spent on foreign aid, when it is about 1 percent.” Budget wonks often point to this as evidence that the public is hopeless uninformed. But maybe not. Vanessa Williamson of TPC and the Brookings Institution shares her latest research that finds Americans commonly think foreign aid includes military spending—a perception often promoted by the Pentagon and its backers. On average, that inflates their estimates of the foreign aid budget by 50 percent. Her “findings reinforce an old and reliable rule: If you see a statistic that reinforces a stereotype, look closer.”
Hatch warns Trump on China tariffs. The Senate Finance Committee chair signaled the White House that he may not be on board with broad new taxes on Chinese imports. The President has vowed $60 billion in new levies but Hatch told an industry group, “any actions that the administration intends to take under Section 301, whether aimed at China or elsewhere, must be narrowly targeted at the source of the problem and with an objective to bring about a positive resolution — and not for the purpose of erecting trade barriers.”
Pete Peterson has died. Peter G. Peterson, a Wall Street financier who became a leading advocate for government fiscal prudence, has died at 91. Peterson’s foundation has funded a wide range of fiscal policy analysis by many research organizations including TPC.
Save the date: April 9 event on tax administration challenges and the TCJA. TPC’s Third Annual Lubick Symposium will consider the complexities that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act create for tax administration and compliance, as well as what Treasury guidance would best provide certainty to taxpayers. For example: How will the new pass-through provisions affect taxpayer behavior and limit opportunities to minimize tax liability? The Monday morning event will take place from 9:30 am to 12 noon at the Brookings Institution, and will be webcast live. Register here.
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- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.