The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
As expected: Paul Ryan will succeed Dave Camp as House Ways & Means Chair. Representative Kevin Brady removed himself from consideration earlier this week, though he had more committee seniority. The full House GOP conference approved its Steering Committee’s chairmanship recommendations, including Jason Chaffetz to replace Darrell Issa on the Oversight and Government Reform panel and Tom Price, who will take over for Ryan on the Budget Committee.
Antonio Weiss: No shoe-in for Treasury. Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Elizabeth Warren both reportedly oppose the President’s choice for the undersecretary post, and Senator Bernie Sanders has expressed some concern. Weiss had been involved in corporate inversion deals at the investment firm Lazard, Ltd. While Weiss would not be responsible for tax policy, he’d coordinate banking, debt financing, capital markets and regulation policies, and oversee implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial law.
The IRS Advisory Council released its annual report. The report includes recommendations on a broad range of issues and concerns including IRS funding, as well as topics covering the Office of Professional Responsibility, Large Business and International, Small Business/Self-Employed, and Wage and Investment operating divisions.
A Washington State task force recommends a state carbon tax. Governor Jay Inslee’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce made recommendations for a market-based carbon pollution program. CERT says that a carbon tax, or “price-based approach,” would have several advantages over an emissions-based approach, such as a cap-and-trade program. The report also argues the tax would provide certainty to businesses and cost less to administer.
In Connecticut: Budget woes. The latest state reports project a budget deficit of up to $100 million. During his reelection campaign, Democratic Governor Dan Malloy insisted there would be no deficit and promised not to raise taxes even if one existed. But now some Democrats won’t rule out potential tax increases. Republicans, not surprisingly, are crying foul.
North Pole: There’ll be some holiday belt-tightening, there, too. No, not that North Pole. In North Pole, Alaska, Flint Hills Resources stopped producing gasoline, jet fuel, and heating fuel due to high operating and environmental clean-up costs. The closure of these operations reduced its assessed property value. Flint Hills has accounted for 40 percent of the city’s $1 million in annual property taxes. Now, the firm’s 2015 property tax bill is expected to drop from $400,000 to about $200,000. North Pole is looking to trim $180,000 from its operating budget and raise other taxes to maintain city services.
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