A Retirement And A Possible GOP Infrastructure Alternative

Top Ways & Means Republican Brady won’t run for re-election. Kevin Brady announced that he’ll retire from Congress upon completion of his current term. As chair of the House Ways & Means Committee, the Texan helped lead GOP effort to pass the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Brady said one reason he’s retiring is that GOP rules prohibit him from resuming the chairmanship if Republicans win control of the House in 2022. His successor as the committee’s top Republican is uncertain.

Senate Republicans look at a skinny infrastructure bill. In what looks like a reprise of last month’s debate over the American Rescue Plan, a group of Senate Republicans hints they will counter President Biden’s $2 billion-plus American Jobs Plan with a skinnier infrastructure bill. The are looking at spending about $600 billion to $800 billion and only on traditional physical infrastructure as well as broadband. They say it would be paid for with unspecified user fees, not corporate tax hikes. Shelley Moore Capito, Mitt Romney, and Bill Cassidy are among those working on the alternative.

House Dems from New York State call, again, for SALT cap repeal. Most members of the New York delegation, except for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kathleen Rice, say they will oppose any future tax legislation until Congress repeals the TCJA’s $10,000 federal cap on state and local tax deductions. 

Greasing the skids. House and Senate Democrats and House Republicans want to bring back earmarks, those targeted projects that used to lard spending bills. Now Senate Republicans will decide next week whether to they want to revisit the ban on the projects. Earmarks could pave the way for regular spending bills and, perhaps, even a compromise infrastructure plan.  

The IRS has $1.3 billion in unclaimed 2017 tax refunds. About 1.3 million taxpayers failed to  file tax returns in 2017, even though many had federal income taxes withheld from their paychecks. The IRS says they must file their 2017 returns by May 17 to claim any income tax refunds due them. The median refund would be $865.

Should the now-expanded EITC stay that way?  What are the pros and cons of making the expansion permanent? The Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute are jointly hosting an online event Thursday, April 22 to consider The American Rescue Plan Act’s temporary expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit. Speakers include Senator Michael Bennet and former House Speaker Paul Ryan. The program also include a panel with TPC’s Elaine Maag, Syracuse University’s Chris Faricy, Northwestern University’s Diane Schanzenbach, and AEI’s Michael Strain. Brookings’ Isabel Sawhill will moderate.

Iowa lawmakers advance a tax on certain smoking paraphernalia.  They’d impose a new tax of at least 20 percent on the sale of glass and metal pipes that people use to smoke tobacco or, um, other substances. Retailers would need a special permit to sell the products. Revenue from the tax and fees would fund courts for those suffering from substance use disorder and mental health issues. The Iowa Senate has passed the legislation and House committees are now considering it. 

Florida Senate continues work on corporate tax cut legislation. The chamber’s Finance and Tax Committee advanced bills to reduce state corporate income taxes, cut property taxes for those reselling timeshares, and allow 100 percent deduction of business meals. 

Louisiana lawmakers work to centralize and simplify state’s tax system. House and Senate committees have advanced a bill to lower individual income tax rates for those making more than $50,000 while eliminating the state deduction for federal income tax payments. They’ve also moved a second bill to allow the state to collect both state and local sales taxes. Both measures require amendments to the Louisiana Constitution that must be approved by  two-thirds of the legislature and statewide voters. Sponsors say the bills would simplify the state’s tax code but would not change overall tax burdens.


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