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Congress is in recess. The Daily Deduction will return to its regular schedule on Monday, July 6.
Wyden promises tax changes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage. Following the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, senior Senate Finance Committee Democrat Ron Wyden said Friday, “As lawmakers, we must now turn our attention to ensuring that LGBTQ Americans enjoy the dignity and equal treatment under the law the Court has proclaimed in every other aspect of their lives…” He plans to introduce legislation to recognize and protect equal treatment in the nation’s tax laws: “one step further toward full equality for all Americans.”
They’re down to the wire on the Hill…at least in Senate-time. The Senate Finance Committee’s tax reform working groups now have until early July to finish their work. They were first supposed to wrap up at the end of May, then the end of June. Meanwhile, Finance panel Chair Orrin Hatch won’t raise taxes to pay for highway funding, but The Hill reports that Senate Democratic leaders want a six-year, $478 billion transportation bill largely funded by taxing corporate profits held offshore. They insist a short-term highway funding extension would be “very hard” to accept. It may get easier. Funding authority for the Highway Trust Fund ends in a month.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie changes his tune on the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit. The state passed its budget, and the GOP presidential candidate nixed tax increases on millionaires and corporate profits. Not wanting anybody’s taxes to go up, he also left intact and proposed expanding the state’s tax credit for low-income workers by 50 percent. In 2010, Christie cut the state’s EITC.
But the Michigan House would cut the credit to pay for roads. TPC’s Richard Auxier explains how the state could fund transportation by cutting its EITC. After voters roundly rejected Michigan’s ballot initiative to address road funding last May, lawmakers have been scrambling to find money to build and repair roads. And the state’s EITC may be easier to cut than more politically popular tax credits for seniors or homeowners. Richard concludes, “Ending the EITC and transferring revenue is not a tax-free way to improve transportation infrastructure. It’s squeezing your poorest residents for money.”
Connecticut sees progress on a tax deal. Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy relented on his plan to hike business taxes, thanks in part to pressure from corporations including General Electric and Aetna. The state sales tax on computer and data processing services would remain at its current 1 percent. He’s also willing to delay the so-called unitary tax, which would affect major corporations, until 2016.
A new Tax Fact illustrates the US payroll tax history. TPC’s Caleb Quackenbush and Gene Steuerle explain that about “80 percent of households paying payroll taxes owed more in payroll taxes than in individual income taxes in 2011.” While Social Security and Medicare taxes have increased they will be “increasingly inadequate to support the programs in future years.”
The social welfare budget: Don’t forget the impact of combined tax rates. In congressional testimony, Gene Steuerle urged Congress to modernize the nation’s social welfare programs by focusing on early childhood, quality teachers, more effective work subsidies, and improved neighborhoods. He suggests a closer look at the effects of combined marginal tax rates: They often climb sharply as rising incomes make individuals ineligible for benefits.
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