Deadlines and Opportunities


Taxes

A temporary funding bill ’til Dec. 20? Leaders of both parties are aiming to extend the current temporary government funding bill through Dec. 20 to give themselves more time to work out a final spending deal for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1. The current temporary funding bill will expire on Nov. 20. Lawmakers remain far apart on key issues, including funding of President Trump’s border wall. 

“Are taxes (and spending) progressive?” TPC’s Bill Gale and Econofact’s Zachary Obstfeld consider the recent claim by UC-Berkeley economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. Gale and Obstfeld conclude that “it is not a simple task to calculate the progressivity of the tax system. Nor is it obvious that only taxes should be considered. … [T]he overall tax and transfer system in the United States is progressive, [but it] redistributes fewer resources to low-income households than other advanced countries.”

Another Trump tax cut trial balloon. White House officials tell The Washington Post that they are considering setting the income tax rate at 15 percent for middle-income households. It isn’t clear what backers mean by middle-class. Currently, joint filers making between $19,400 and $78,950 are in the 12 percent bracket, while those making between $78,950 and $168,400 are in the 22 percent bracket. It also is unclear whether President Trump supports the plan that presumably would become a campaign plank.   

An opportunity to learn more about Opportunity Zones. TaxNotes’ Marie Sapirie dives into the details of proposals by the Senate Finance Committee’s top Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden and House Ways & Means Committee Democrat Rep. Ron Kind. They’d crack down on Opportunity Zones enacted under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The zones shelter from tax capital gains from investments in those zones.

A new tool to track state economies, and their taxes. TPC’s State and Local Finance Initiative (SLFI) has updated its tool for tracking economic and tax changes in the states. It allows users to customize data by state and time period. Read about it here, and give it a spin. 

Money can’t buy happiness. Or freedom from head taxes. Amazon and other businesses spent about $1.5 million to campaign against candidates for Seattle’s city council who want to revive a per employee tax on large employers. Council member Kshama Stewart was reelected on a platform that included “Tax Amazon.” 

For the latest tax news, subscribe to the Tax Policy Center’s Daily Deduction. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox weekdays at 8:00 am (Mondays only when Congress is in recess). We welcome tips on new research or other news. Email Renu Zaretsky at dailydeduction@taxpolicycenter.org.

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