The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
Out today: A first look at GOP budgets. The US hit its debt limit yesterday (at least technically), and the budget battles have begun. The Senate GOP budget resolution reportedly won’t include detailed plans to overhaul entitlement programs—though the House GOP plan may. The Senate Budget panel version will propose only savings targets for Medicare and Medicaid (but not Social Security) and leave the hard work of making those cuts to later. The Hill reports the Senate proposal would balance the budget in ten years, according to GOP lawmakers familiar with the document. The House is expected to release its budget this week as well.
With the Affordable Care Act, maybe patience is a virtue. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is behind schedule in sending out 800,000 corrected 1095A tax forms that Affordable Care Act enrollees must use to determine their level of tax subsidy. CMS hoped to send them by the first week of March. The error affected about 20 percent of the tax filers. Meanwhile, the US Department of Health and Human Services reports that 16 million people gained health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act since its major provisions took effect in 2013, cutting the uninsured rate from 20.3 percent to 13.2 percent.
The Highway Trust Fund: How do you get from an insolvent Point A to a funded Point B? TPC’s Richard Auxier examines the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s proposal to support the Highway Trust Fund. It’s a path that would make Rube Goldberg proud. “The ARTBA rebate is a great example of poorly targeted tax relief,” he explains. But the group is “only trying to navigate past political leaders who would rather play three-card Monte than pass a straightforward gas tax hike.”
Tax reform is tough all over. US lawmakers aren’t alone in facing tax reform obstacles. The Austrian government would like to pass a $5.3 billion tax-relief package to kickstart its economy. The ruling coalition wants to cut income tax rates for everybody except those earning more than 1 million euros a year, whose top tax rate would rise to 55 percent. It would also hike the tax on dividends though that might require a two-thirds majority in parliament to amend the constitution. If it does, the ruling coalition will need to convince one of two other parties, the far-right Freedom Party or the left-leaning Greens, to get on board.
Sweetheart tax deals: Will the EU succeed in getting members to share information? The Wall Street Journal reports (paywall) that a draft law requiring 28 European Union members to share information on their tax deals with multinational corporations could expose sensitive business information to other governments. The European Commission will likely publish the proposal tomorrow after review by EU commissioners. If approved by member governments, the law would take effect next year.
Hearings on the Hill today. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will testify on the state of the international financial system today before the House Committee on Financial Services. The House Ways & Means panel’s subcommittee on Human Resources holds a hearing on expanding opportunities for low-income families, with John Bridgeland of Civic Enterprises, David Muhlhausen of The Heritage Foundation, Russ Whitehurst of The Brookings Institution, and Joan Entmacher of the National Women’s Law Center. The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on the US international tax system with PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Pamela Olson, Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Anthony Smith, Rutgers University’s Rosanne Altshuler, and Harvard University’s Stephen Shay.
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