Alice Rivlin Dies; Tariff Talks Toughen; Enforcing the Emoluments Clause

Taxes

Alice Rivlin dies. She was founding Director of the Congressional Budget Office, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board. She also helped pull the District of Columbia out of bankruptcy as head of its Financial Control Board, was a long-time scholar at the Brookings Institution, an affiliated scholar at the Tax Policy Center, and a friend and mentor to many of us at TPC. She was 88.  

This won’t hurt a bit: More tariffs to come. Another $300 billion in Chinese imports could face higher tariffs if President Trump’s makes good on his latest threat. The tariff war between the US and China continues, though Trump and Chinese President Xi Jingping may talk at the late June G20 summit in Japan. Trump also says he may spend $15 billion in tariff revenue to bail out farmers who lose sales to China. Last year, he offered $12 billion in similar aid.  

The tariffs that ate the tax cuts. TPC’s Howard Gleckman explains that many households could lose the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as a result of Trump’s tariffs. Indeed,  “Public opinion surveys showed most Americans thought they got no benefit from the TCJA’s tax cuts. Turns out, they may have been right—at least when those tax cuts are paired with the Administration’s trade policy.”

Will Chairman Neal seek President Trump’s New York State tax returns? Maybe not. Doing so could complicate the Ways & Means chair’s efforts to get six years of Trump’s personal and business federal returns. The New York returns “wouldn’t matter for our purposes,” said a Neal spokesman. “The committee is investigating the mandatory presidential audit program at the IRS to determine whether or not the program needs to be codified into federal law.”

The President’s tax returns could aid enforcement of the emoluments clause. University of Alabama law professor Ronald Krotoszynksi Jr. writes in  the Chicago Tribune that Neal may have a better case to demand  President Trump’s tax returns: “The emoluments clause provides a much stronger legal and constitutional basis for the committee’s request for Trump’s income tax returns than generic concerns about IRS rules or policies. Legislation that requires all presidents to disclose their personal income tax returns — which would fall within the committee’s jurisdiction — would greatly facilitate enforcement of the emoluments clause.”

Washington State will levy a payroll tax to fund a public long-term care insurance program. Starting in 2022, workers will pay a  0.58 percent payroll tax to fund the program. It will provide up to $36,500 in benefits for each eligible participant for services ranging from nursing home care to home health aides. The fund will begin paying benefits in 2025.

Coming soon in Oregon: A multibillion-dollar business tax and education funding plan. Democratic Governor Katie Brown will soon sign the measure. Oregon will levy more than $1 billion annually in taxes on 40,000 businesses with gross receipts over $1 million, and will cut the personal income tax rate by 0.25 percentage points for all but the highest earners.

One year in, how are states managing the tax implications of legal sports gambling? In his new brief, TPC’s Richard Auxier explains why sports betting emerged as a state finance issue in 2018, how state taxes on sports betting work, which states allow legal sports betting (both online and in person), and how much money states stand to gain from these taxes.

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