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House, Senate Gird For Tax Votes

Congress Poised to Approve Biggest Tax Overhaul in 30 Years. Reuters: “The Republican-controlled U.S. Congress will begin voting on Tuesday on the biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax system in more than 30 years, with little standing in the way of the party’s first major legislative triumph under President Donald Trump. The House of Representatives, which introduced initial tax legislation barely six weeks ago on Nov. 2, was poised to act first with a Tuesday afternoon vote. The Senate could follow on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, after completing 10 hours of debate, lawmakers said.”

Progressive Make Final Push To Resist GOP Tax Scam

Resistance groups press lawmakers not to pass tax plan. Common Dreams: “Resistance groups gathered at Republican lawmakers’ offices on Monday in a final push to defeat the tax bill that’s expected to leave 13 million without health insurance, send the deficit soaring by nearly $1.5 trillion, and raise taxes for working American families while ensuring a permanent tax cut for corporations and the wealthy. ‘The Republicans are passing legislation but they haven’t read the bill,’ said Nancy Hayer, one of the protesters. ‘There’s no transparency and Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security will be cut. There doesn’t seem to be any care about the millions of people who won’t have healthcare. It’s a cruel piece of legislation.’ The deficit increase is expected to force the government to make deep cuts to social service programs, causing new concerns in recent days among the tax bill’s critics. The Republicans can afford to lose only one vote to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and protesters in Maine, Wisconsin, and Ohio expressed hope that their senators would cast the deciding vote—costing the GOP its last chance to pass a major piece of legislation before the end of the year, following the defeat of its plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.”

What’s In The Final Tax Bill

What’s in the final Republican tax bill. NYT: “The final legislation released by Republicans on Friday follows the broad strokes of the previous House and Senate bills, providing deep and longstanding tax cuts for businesses, including a corporate tax rate of 21 percent, down from the current 35 percent… The final bill does build back in some of the prized tax breaks that had been slated for elimination in the House legislation, including the deduction for high out-of-pocket medical costs, tax-free tuition waivers for graduate students and the ability to deduct interest on student loans. But it also includes new limits on other popular tax breaks, including the mortgage interest deduction and the state and local tax deduction.”

Tax Lawyers Love New Loopholes

Tax lawyers are getting ready to exploit all the mistakes in the GOP tax bill. Mother Jones: “With Republicans in Congress on the verge of a vote on the biggest tax overhaul in decades, tax scholars are concerned that parts of the hastily-crafted bill could create opportunities for wealthy taxpayers to exploit loopholes and game the US tax system—and add on to the growing deficit. Without proper safeguards and anti-abuse measures, these taxpayers can take advantage of several tax provisions riddled with problems, according to a 30-page analysis released Monday by 13 tax scholars. ‘Unless they pretty fundamentally change course on some of these key provisions, the bill is quite possibly going to cost more than it is now expected, and certainly more than the trillion dollars that’s already been estimated,’ says David Kamin… ‘My sense is that the estimates have not so far taken into account the ways in which the taxpayers are going to game the system.'”

Tax Bill Punishes Liberal Big Cities

Tax bill whacks liberal big cities. Politico: “The Republican tax bill, largely written by lawmakers from rural and Southern red states, is about to squeeze urban America. The bill would eliminate tax breaks for everything from bike commute subsidies to building charter schools. One break for refinancing municipal bonds — which saved New York City alone $425 million over the past four years — would be gone. A key break for rehabbing old buildings is getting scaled back. At the same time, mayors and county executives are going to face pressure to cut taxes themselves. The $10,000 cap on state and local income and property tax deductions is by far the biggest blow for high-tax, high-cost-of-living, liberal big cities and their surroundings.”

Tax Provision for “Small Businesses” Gives Millions To Trump

Pass-through provision a giveback to wealthy real estate developers. Huffington Post: “The president ― who reported income of at least $200 million from the companies running his residential buildings, hotels and golf courses last year ― might have lost out on millions of dollars had House and Senate negotiators failed to insert a provision that extends a big new tax break to businesses that own expensive properties but that don’t have many employees. Conference committee members had largely settled on the Senate version of the rules defining which businesses would and would not be eligible for that deduction. Large corporations are getting a 40 percent reduction in their top income tax rate. Originally, Senate Republicans wanted to ensure that a similar tax break for “pass-through” businesses ― so named because the owners’ profits “pass through” onto their individual tax returns and are not reported on separate corporate returns ― was aimed at firms that employ workers, not just passively own property. ‘But then they crafted a new loophole that appears designed for real estate businesses,’ said Steven Rosenthal, a tax law expert at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, adding that why that happened was ‘the $64,000 question.'”

More from OurFuture.org:

Is Betsy DeVos About To Pump Up The School-To-Prison Pipeline? Jeff Bryant: “Students frequently suspended from school are at high risk of getting involved with the criminal justice system. The Obama administration set up new regulations to address the school-to-prison pipeline. Now Betsy DeVos is undermining them. The rationale for regulation cutting is that the rules may be ‘unnecessary’ or overly ‘costly.’ But they’re only unnecessary and costly when they don’t apply to you.”

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