The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
What might happen to federal highway funding? Clues next week? Both tax-writing committees will hold hearings on long-term funding for the Highway Trust Fund. The House Ways & Means Committee will hold its hearing on Wednesday. The Finance panel will meet on Thursday. The Fund currently relies on the 18-cents-per-gallon federal gasoline tax but spending authorization for the program ends on July 31. Meanwhile, Utah Senator Mike Lee and Florida Congressman Ron DeSantis would repeal the federal gasoline tax entirely, and “devolve” highway funding to the states.
Some states already have no problem raising their gas taxes to fund roads. TPC’s Howard Gleckman finds it rather interesting. Politically, “five of the six states that have enacted gas tax hikes this year are bright red. One is purple.”
Another try at a carbon tax. Democratic senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Brian Shatz of Hawaii would tax carbon at $45 per ton of carbon dioxide or equivalent greenhouse gases for coal, oil, natural gas, and other hydrocarbons--collected where it is produced or refined. But there is little interest in the idea on Capitol Hill.
No tax hikes would mean more big spending cuts in Kansas. Yesterday, on day 112 of the 90-day scheduled session, the Kansas House defeated legislation to raise taxes to fill a $400 million budget hole. Without the revenue, GOP Governor Sam Brownback will cut the budget across the board by 6.2 percent when the fiscal year starts on July 1. That translates into a $197 million cut for the state’s schools, though the state may soon face a court order to restore even prior cuts.
In Wisconsin, a plan to ditch a different tax. GOP senate leaders would like to eliminate the state’s alternative minimum tax. Wisconsin taxpayers who claim a large number of itemized deductions pay the tax, which is higher than their ordinary income tax. In 2013, nearly 28,000 Wisconsin taxpayers paid the state $26.1 million in minimum taxes. Most had earnings between $200,000 and $500,000.
UK taxis are so over Uber. They’ve launched a signage campaign targeting the tax advantage Uber has over taxi services in the United Kingdom. London’s Black-cab drivers say Uber doesn’t pay UK tax. Uber, headquartered in the Netherlands, says it complies with all tax rules.
In case you haven’t registered yet… You can find out how research-driven efficiencies can improve IRS tax administration next week. A joint TPC and IRS conference will be held and webcast on June 18. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will deliver opening remarks.
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