The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
Highway funding: Will the House GOP play the long game? Ways & Means Chair Paul Ryan wants to pair international tax changes with six-year funding for highways, and he wants it done this year. To buy time to flesh out his plan to use revenue from a one-time tax on foreign profits of US companies, Ryan says the House will “very soon” release a proposed $8 billion patch to extend the fund through 2015. It better be soon: Authority for highway spending runs out in less than three weeks. Dems may be willing to sign on, but so far, GOP senators would rather extend highway funding just long enough to get past the 2016 election.
Will expired tax breaks be renewed again soon? The Ways & Means Committee could act after the August recess, and the Senate Finance Committee could move even sooner—as in, this week—though Chairman Orrin Hatch hasn’t confirmed a mark-up. Ryan doesn’t want a repeat of last December’s uncertainty, and Senator John Thune suspects the finance panel will lean toward a two-year extension… a repeat of last year.
Candidate Clinton would close a loophole. Reuters reports that Hillary Clinton will announce today her plan to close the carried interest loophole that allows private equity fund managers to pay a lower tax rate on much of their earnings.
Dems want an investigation into federal contracts with Ingersoll-Rand. Seven members from the Senate and House have asked the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General to investigate why the agency OK’d federal contracts for Ingersoll-Rand, and have requested that the Army Inspector General also investigate the contracts. The lawmakers say Ingersoll-Rand’s corporate inversion disqualifies it from selling products and services to the US government. The firm switched its tax address from New Jersey to Bermuda in 2001. In 2002 Congress banned federal contracting with inverted companies.
And in Kansas, stonewalling information about tax credits. In 2013, Kansas awarded tax credits for a film shoot and for plugging abandoned oil wells. Were the credits a good use of taxpayer dollars? It’s hard to tell: Fewer than five tax filers received the credits, so the Kansas Department of Revenue will not disclose the credits’ value. With so few beneficiaries, the department says taxpayers receiving the credits could be identified and their privacy compromised. Next door in the Show Me State: An online database called the Missouri Accountability Portal has been open since 2007. It makes public information ranging from tax credits to sales tax license revocations to state employee salaries.
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