Republicans’ haste leading to flawed tax legislation

first_imgLikewise, the House version would stop allowing taxpayers to take a deduction for medical expenses that exceed 10 percent of their income.That would hurt middle- and working-class families.On matters small and large, Republican leaders have deliberately left no time for definitive congressional analysis of the economic and social fallout.Then they’ve summarily dismissed research by respected outside groups like the Tax Policy Center, which has found that the legislation decisively tilts to the well-to-do — by 2027, the wealthiest 1 percent would get 60 percent of the benefits, the group says — and that by 2027, tens of millions of middle-class families would pay higher taxes.The Senate bill has a provision for triggering automatic additional corporate tax cuts in the unlikely event that revenues exceed expectations.On Tuesday, Republicans inserted a so-called “backstop” provision that would limit tax cuts years from now if there’s a revenue shortfall.Details weren’t provided and it’s probably more of a vote-getting device than a substantive check on ballooning deficits. Sen. Ron Wyden, the panel’s senior Democrat who was amenable to a bipartisan tax-reform deal. Instead, the seven-term Utah lawmaker, under pressure to retire next year, went small, expensive and partisan.Stephen Shay, a Harvard University law school lecturer, tax lawyer and former Treasury official, has predicted that the rushed legislation “will be rife with undiscovered loopholes that increase the windfalls and scope of the deficit.”The Finance Committee did hold an Oct. 3 hearing, he noted, but it lacked substance and was “irrelevant except to permit the committee majority to say a hearing was held.”Overall, Shay writes, “There is a pervasive failing in the bill to introduce guardrails around substantial rate reductions that would effectively police the many new boundaries between rate differences that the bill creates.”Some provisions are included to score cheap political points. Conservatives targeted higher education, elite liberal institutions in their book, with taxes on the endowments of better-off colleges and on the tuition waivers graduate students receive for working as researchers or teaching assistants.There were no hearings that weighed the effect of these measures.University officials claim they would reduce research and cut financial assistance for middle-income students — at a time the federal government is cutting back in the same areas. Over the summer, Republican leaders brushed aside Sen. John McCain’s call for “regular order” to consider what soon became a failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Regular order involves dozens of hearings in which different views can be ventilated, along with deep analysis in a bipartisan spirit.Politically motivated haste has now produced an equally reckless tax effort.On a macro level, it’s not going to produce the promised economic growth.It can be expected to add at least $1.7 trillion to the deficit in 10 years and worsen income inequality.It’s no surprise the House legislated on a partisan basis; that’s long been the way it does business.But the Senate ought to be a different story.Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who leads the Finance Committee, could have tried to work with Oregon Categories: Editorial, OpinionAny major tax bill has unintended consequences and hidden loopholes.But the current Republican tax effort just bristles with such potential miscues.It’s a slipshod product, legislated with minimal transparency and analysis and with a premium on partisan politics.The Senate is slated to vote very soon on a tax bill that’s similar to the one the House passed on Nov. 16.Both call for huge tax cuts, primarily for corporations and upper-income individuals, with little, sometimes nothing, for many middle-class taxpayers.Both parade as tax reform, but do little to reorganize the tax system as the last real tax reform did in a bipartisan measure passed in 1986.The legislation has been rushed so fast through a short-circuited lawmaking process that if it’s successful, many of the politicians who voted for it may find themselves shocked to discover what they’ve done. Sponsors contend that tax cuts benefiting the middle class that are slated to expire in 10 years actually will be extended by a future Congress.If that’s true, what they don’t acknowledge is that these future cuts would add even more to the deficit, bringing pressure for significant spending reductions.The only big available targets are entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, or military spending.That’s why there should be a clear path for deficit hawks like Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona, or defense hawks like McCain, to send this bill back to the Finance Committee for real hearings, review, debate and analysis.That’s called regular order.Albert R. Hunt is a Bloomberg View columnist and former executive editor of Bloomberg News.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?last_img read more

District of Columbia sues 4 oil majors for misleading consumers on climate change

first_imgAnna Arata, a spokeswoman for Shell, said in a statement that “we’re committed to playing our part” with regards to addressing climate change and that lawsuits “impede the collaboration needed for meaningful change.” Shell set goal this year of achieving “net-zero” emissions by 2050.Racine told reporters on Thursday that his office only learned of Minnesota’s lawsuit when it was filed yesterday and had been preparing this long before.Minnesota and DC’s lawsuits are the latest in a string of legal challenges by states, cities, and citizen groups targeting fossil fuel companies over their role in global warming.Counterparts in California, New York and Massachusetts also filed lawsuits against oil majors but the Minnesota and DC lawsuits focus on consumer protection.Racine said the named companies “sought to create a false picture” about the environmental harm that fossil fuels cause, even as they “pivot their marketing efforts” to portray their products as clean.  The attorney general for the District of Columbia on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Corp, BP Plc, Chevron Corp, and Royal Dutch Shell Plc for “systematically and intentionally misleading” consumers about the role their products play in causing climate change, the latest action by a US attorney general against the oil and gas industry.The lawsuit brought by Attorney General Karl Racine comes a day after Minnesota AG Keith Ellison filed a lawsuit against the American Petroleum Institute, Exxon Mobil and Koch Industries for violating state laws barring consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices and false advertising.”The defendants violated the District’s consumer protection law by concealing the fact that using fossil fuels threatens the health of District residents and the environment,” Racine said in a statement. The intent of the legal action is to “end these disinformation campaigns and to hold these companies accountable for their deceptive practices,” he said.Casey Norton, a spokesman for Exxon, said the lawsuit is part of a “coordinated, politically motivated” campaign against energy companies.”The claims are baseless and without merit. We look forward to defending the company in court,” he said.Sean Comey, a spokesman for Chevron echoed claims about the merit of the case and said the litigation “distracts” from its efforts to address climate change.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Premier League, clubs ‘scared’ to publicly back restart, says Neville

first_img(REUTERS) – The Premier League and its clubs are “frightened to death” about publicly backing the resumption of the season as they do not want to be held liable if someone dies because of the coronavirus, television pundit Gary Neville said on Sunday.Professional soccer has been suspended since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has infected over 182,000 people in the United Kingdom, killing more than 28,000.The 20 Premier League clubs held a conference call on Friday in which they looked at plans for a resumption of training this month but deferred making a decision on resuming the season until the government gave the go-ahead.The government had originally set May 7 as the day it would review lockdown restrictions.“The PL are having a CV nightmare. They keep spouting health first but then brief constantly ‘We have to re-start’,” Neville wrote on Twitter here“I’d respect them more if they said, ‘We accept the increase in health risk but it’s one we are willing to take’. They won’t as they are frightened to death!”When a Twitter user asked him what would happen if they restarted the season and someone died, Neville said: “That’s why we haven’t heard one single prominent CEO, Chairman, Owner or Executive open his mouth to back the re-start.“Scared to death of the liability and blame.”The clubs have reviewed plans for resuming training which will initially be restricted to small groups of players with no use of indoor facilities.Some clubs started individual sessions for players at their training grounds last week.Neville said that although he understands the complexities of a return to action, it was “depressing” to see the league and clubs not communicating their plans.“It would be good for them (the Premier League) to speak at least once. Any of them! Clubs included,” the former Manchester United and England defender added when it was suggested to him that the league has press briefings.“They are bottling this virus on comms (communications). Very happy to tell us when they are delivering food parcels though.”last_img read more

Vice President of Research to step down after 14 years

first_imgHall told the Daily Trojan that his decision to leave the University came after some personal reflection — and after working at the school for 14 years.  According to a University spokesperson, an advisory search committee with the task of finding a new vice president of research will be launched soon. Incoming Provost Chip Zukosi will be involved in the committee. “[I’ve] come to realize that what I care most about is impact on the innovation, universities broadly,” Hall said. “And, particularly how universities can bring together innovation across three main elements, the education, research and clinical research clinical programs that universities have and how they might be integrated.” Randolph Hall, vice president of research, will step down from his position at the end of the year, Interim Provost Elizabeth Graddy announced Tuesday “A big part of what I did was look at how universities can adapt to digital technology and our practices, practices research in particular,” Hall said. “So, that partly was writing policies to enable and reward innovation, partly creating services that enable collaboration.” Hall said he is most proud of launching the Washington, D.C. Office of Research Advancement which finds funding in the nation’s capital for research projects promoting social change. He also contributed to the Total Access for Research Administration, a system that helps manage research awards, proposals, laboratories and overall protocols.center_img Part of Hall’s  job includes overseeing over $800 million dollars in research funds at the University. Hall held the position of assistant dean for research at the Viterbi School of Engineering for four years. After leaving, Hall hopes to visit other universities and stakeholders. He hopes to collect information about ranking universities, their accreditation, their scientific procedures, funding and leadership. Hall plans on later writing a book about universities and innovation with this knowledge. “USC has grown into a top-tier research university, and Dr. Hall’s leadership has been critical to this evolution,” Graddy wrote in an email to University faculty and staff. “Across our university’s history, our best leaders have worked for the good of our campus community and for the public at large, and Dr. Hall has embodied this spirit of generosity for the entirety of his service,” Graddy wrote in the email. “Through informed risk-taking, a spirit of collaboration, and a commitment to positive, lasting impact, Dr. Hall has demonstrated how to achieve excellence in research.”last_img read more