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Blocking IRS Criminal Enforcement Funding, A Little Cut In Grocery Taxes


Senate kills new funding for IRS criminal enforcement crackdown on Russian oligarchs. The AP reports Senate Republicans blocked $30 million for the IRS criminal investigation unit that had been included in the recent Ukraine aid package. Among its roles, that group was tasked with tracing assets hidden by Russians who have been sanctioned by the US since the invasion of Ukraine. The GOP insisted the funding be dropped because lawmakers opposed new funding for IRS enforcement.

Talking budget, social spending, and pandemic funding. Newly-confirmed Budget Director Shalanda Young told the Senate Budget Committee that President Biden wants any new version of a social spending, climate, and tax bill to reduce the deficit. Separately, Senate leaders continue to haggle over how to provide new funding for COVID-19-related vaccines and testing. Congress dropped an effort by Biden to include the money in the recent omnibus spending bill. 

Idaho Gov. Little signs bigger grocery tax credit into law. Idaho shoppers, who pay a 6 percent tax on groceries, will be able to claim an additional $20 tax credit starting in 2023, up from $100 for people under 65 and $120 for older adults. The increase will reduce revenues by about $32 million but will be offset with sales taxes on online purchases.

Tennessee lawmakers aren’t sold on a new bond issue for the Tennessee Titans. Republican lawmakers already approved a tax break for the professional football team’s planned stadium upgrades last year. But Gov. Bill Lee has a new plan that includes $500 million in bonds for a new enclosed stadium. Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson worries that the bonds could cost the state money.  

Will a small Michigan town approve a property tax cut and a new income tax? Voters in Wyoming, Michigan, will soon decide on a 50 percent property tax cut combined with a new income tax of up to 1 percent on corporations and residents and up to 0.5 percent on non-residents who work in the city. The revenue would fund first responders and parks. Wyoming would be the 25th city in Michigan to levy its own income tax. 

Art imitates life and illustrates property tax data. An art exhibit in Pittsburgh aims to show how homes owned by Black and Brown people are undervalued for resale but overtaxed. Artist Kinnane Smith and data analyst Jordan Abbott created an Allegheny County-specific visual. 

Starbucks’ UK tax bill gives pause. The coffee giant paid £5.4 million in corporate tax on a gross profit of £95 million. Expenses of £78 million, including £26.5 million in royalty payments reduced UK taxable profits to £13 million last year. Global profits were $4.9 billion (£3.7 billion).  Paul Monaghan, chief executive of the Fair Tax Foundation, called the relatively low tax payment  unsurprising.

 

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