I, and others, certainly will have plenty of articles about what is wrong and right about the current tax cuts proposals. But, as I read the plan, I became frustrated with a proposal that was missing – fixing the Highway Trust Fund.
Infrastructure spending is a priority of this administration. In the spring President Trump announced his $1 Trillion ($1,000,000,000,000) infrastructure plan. According to the administration, the plan will rebuild the nation’s roads, tunnels and bridges. By September, the administration was contemplating how to pay for this spending from private sector credits to dumping the burden on the states.
The most recent discussion of how to pay for the $1 Trillion spend happened during discussions with the House Ways and Means members. According to the Washington Post, “At the meeting Tuesday, Higgins said Trump indicated the administration instead would seek to pay for infrastructure upgrades through direct federal spending — either by paying for projects with new tax revenue or by taking on debt.”
I was hoping, I know naivety, that another option would be discussed – pay for the infrastructure spending like always via the Highway Trust Fund which generates revenues via the gasoline and diesel tax. Since there would be a budgetary shortfall, maybe we should actually increase or fix the tax.
Many of the links Ann has assembled look at the industry and deal-specific impacts of the tax bill…For example, potential effects on LBOs, sports stadium financing, future of stock options, higher education, and homebuilders. A nice complement to the more ubiquitous analyses of revenue effects, scoring, and distributional estimates we’re seeing on the tax prof/economists side. This information about who is likely to feel what effects gives us some insights into how the politics/political economy of this tax reform is likely to unfold going forward. Well worth a click.
Back in May, I continued to track President Trump’s promise to end the Johnson Amendment. At that time he promised during a National Prayer Breakfast that he would “get rid of and totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment and promised to issue an executive order (which he signed May 4).
But, a significant problem with legislating via Executive Order is that executives change and with the change so goes the Executive Orders. What works much better is legislation. Enter, the Tax Cuts and Job Act, where there is a proposal to end the Johnson Amendment.
Well, it has finally arrived. This morning, the House GOP gave us a 426-page bill (and an 82-page section-by-section summary).
There’s a lot going on here, and it’s hard to say how much attention we should pay. After all, now lobbyists, Democrats, and interest groups can read the bill and start arguing against (or for) it. Moreover, this is just the House; the Senate still has to release its bill,[fn1] which may differ substantially. And the fact that we have a bill doesn’t in any way indicate that (a) it will be enacted, or (b) the enacted law will look anything like the bill.
So #TaxWeek isn’t going quite the way we expected;[fn1] the House is now expecting to release its tax bill tomorrow. (Or maybe not.) Which means we’re not bringing any coverage of the tax bill today.
But that’s okay! It gives me room to slot it some follow-up to last month’s decision that section 107(2) violated the Establishment Clause. Remember, Judge Crabb found it unconstitutional, but ordered the parties to provide supplementary briefing about the appropriate remedies. Should she enjoin the IRS from providing benefits under section 107(2)? Or should she expand the set of taxpayers who could benefit from section 107(2)? Or something else entirely?