“We’re so far apart we don’t care.”


Coronavirus relief talks: Divisions between the GOP and Democrats remain. The White House seems to have abandoned the $1 trillion stimulus package put together by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday. Trump now says he wants only a short-term extension of enhanced federal unemployment benefits and to extend the federal moratorium on evictions: “The rest of it, we’re so far apart we don’t care.” Congressional Democrats have flatly rejected efforts to break the House package into pieces. Adding to the complications: McConnell appears to have backed away from talks, leaving negotiations to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. The Senate still plans to adjourn for its August recess by the end of next week.

California lawmakers consider a new tax on millionaires. Fifteen California Senate Democrats unveiled Assembly Bill 1253 to impose an income tax surcharge on Californians who earn more than $1 million annually. The new tax would be effective this year and add a 1 percent levy on income from $1 million to $2 million, 3 percent on income from $2 million to $5 million and 3.5 percent on income above $5 million. They estimate the tax could generate $6.8 billion for K-12 schools and help fund the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The measure would require a supermajority vote of both houses before the end of August.

Seattle voters will consider a different transit tax in November. The Seattle City Council passed a sales tax plan this week, and now the initiative heads to the November ballot. Seattle voters will decide whether to replace their current transit-specific $60 license plate fee and 0.1 percent sales tax, which raises $56 million annually, with a 0.15 percent sales tax that would generate $42 million annually.

Michigan Supreme Court rebukes county over property tax foreclosure and sale. The Michigan Supreme Court rebuked Oakland County’s decision to seize a homeowner’s house after the owner underpaid property taxes by $8.41. The county then sold the home for $24,500 and kept all the proceeds. The court said the county could sell the house to satisfy tax debt, but the former owner is entitled to any additional income from the sale. Now, officials worry they’ll be responsible for repaying other former homeowners whose properties the county seized and sold.

Who really won in the recent Supreme Court Trump tax rulings? Robert Goulder, contributing editor at Tax Notes International, and Joseph J. Thorndike, contributing editor at Tax Notes Federal, discuss online the recent Supreme Court decisions on the release of Trump’s financial records. Notes Thorndike, “There are legal ways to define victory, and then there are political ways to define victory. I think a lot of the news coverage conflated those two or chose one of them and focused just on that and ignored the rest.”

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