The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
Dave Camp on tax reform: “It can be done.” Retiring House Ways & Means Chair Dave Camp remains optimistic. The Hill reports that a deal to extend expiring tax breaks could give Camp’s successor, Paul Ryan, a chance to secure broad GOP support for a tax reform plan.
About that tax extender deal… The White House promised to veto the proposal put forth last week by fellow Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. That plan would have restored and made permanent many expired tax breaks. The cost: More than $400 billion over the next 10 years, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes. What next? Will they add provisions, such as also making generous refundable credits for low-income working families permanent? Or will they pass a one-year retroactive extension of most expired provisions, leaving the next Congress to work out a deal all over again in 2015? It’s like Groundhog Day, but not nearly as funny.
Are US corporations really overtaxed? Mark your calendar and find out on Thursday, December 11. TPC and the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative, in the first of a series of joint events, will examine how to measure the effective tax rate of U.S. corporations, how taxes affect their ability to compete in global markets, and how tax preferences affect corporate tax burdens. You can register here to attend in person, or tune in to the webcast.
Cheap oil could come at a high price for some states. TPC’s Norton Francis explains: The plunging price of crude oil is great for drivers’ wallets, but what about states that rely on energy tax revenue, such as Alaska, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming? They assumed oil prices between $80 to $105 a barrel when they set their 2015 budgets. “Energy states can survive low prices, at least for a while,” concludes Francis. “But a protracted downturn could begin to eat away at state budgets.”
Chicago captures jet fuel taxes. United and American Airlines have used purchasing offices to avoid paying Chicago sales tax on jet fuel used at O’Hare International Airport since 2001 and 2004 respectively. That cost Chicago, Cook County, and the Regional Transportation Authority an estimated $52 million in sales taxes each year. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget, passed last month, closes the loophole, garnering $17 million for Chicago.
Switzerland continues tax breaks for wealthy expats. That flight from O’Hare to Geneva may cost a bit more, but Americans will still get tax breaks in Switzerland. Foreigners can avoid Swiss income and wealth taxes by negotiating lump-sum payments with Swiss cantons. The Socialist Party wanted to abolish the 152-year-old tax break, but Swiss voters didn’t agree. Yesterday, 59 percent voted to keep it.
And on the Hill… The Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure will hold a hearing on Wednesday to consider whether natural gas vehicles should be eligible for special tax credits. On the other side of the Capitol, the House Ways & Means Committee released its Green Book, an annual summary of spending programs under its jurisdiction. Meanwhile, the December 11 federal budget deadline is getting closer. Watch for more drama this week.
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