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

Criticism of Trump is completely valid

first_imgRe Jan. 19 letter, “Criticism of Trump is off base, unfair”: Liberals do get it, but we can see by who you voted for that you don’t. Trump’s straight talk, as you call it, is gibberish. Sadly and more importantly, it’s very dangerous, Trump is the new Comedy Central. Get a grip. Or better yet, move down to D.C. and help your guy, who is failing on all fronts. It seems you forgot the disaster of an economy President George W. Bush and lying Vice President Dick Cheney handed to President Obama on Jan. 20, 2009. Americans with brains didn’t. That why President Obama was re-elected by more then 50 percent, and that percentage has not happened since Reagan.You also seem to have forgotten the saved economy Obama handed to the Mr. “I-haven’t-done-a-thing-but-tweet,” you elected on Nov. 8, 2016. Hillary Clinton was the smartest, most experienced person this country has had in our modern era to run for president. You said it well. Yes, we the people are fed up — with Trump.Diane Sanders HombachSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:Schenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%Schenectady High School senior class leaders look to salvage sense of normalcyMotorcyclist injured in Thursday afternoon Schenectady crashEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Many options for Nisky memorial site

first_imgTo Dr. Michael Lozman, Holocaust memorial developer: My family and I have lived on Pearse Road for over 60 years. People bought homes here because it was green, quiet, and in every sense residential. We depended on our town board to maintain that atmosphere. But things began to change quickly in the ‘60s. The forests disappeared. The little brook that gave Brookshire Drive its name vanished, a casualty of the 13 acres of “garden-style” apartment buildings at the end of our road, foisted upon us by some well-connected developer and an admiring town board, despite spirited opposition by the families who lived here then. How’s that for altering the character of a neighborhood?So now, apparently, we shall have a Holocaust memorial, despite opposition by those of us who live here. Why not place your memorial on your road? You could enjoy it every day. Or, if your heart is set on Niskayuna, how about building it in one of the many unoccupied commercial zones here, such as that monstrous former Wal-Mart at Mohawk Commons? Too big? There’s a cozy little former restaurant nearby, The Tilted Kilt, equally vacant, that might meet your needs. Plenty of parking for a railroad car, too. I have very little hope that Niskayuna’s town fathers will place impediments before you. From my perspective, there has never been a paved-over green place they didn’t like. I’m fully aware of the atrocities that took place in Europe during the nightmare we now know as the Holocaust. Please know of my revulsion for the genocide and of my sorrow for the many innocent souls who were lost.Bruce RaymerNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationPuccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfectEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusNiskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Wednesday, Dec. 18

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionSpa crew did a great job on big stormA quick letter to recognize the excellent job Saratoga Springs did clearing our streets from the sizeable two-day snowstorm earlier this month.Not only were most of the streets plowed, but Broadway and downtown were cleared in time for our Victorian Street Walk, which attracted a reported 25,000.To plow our large city so quickly, it took an experienced department with excellent leadership, a proven plan, sufficient equipment and hard work by the city crews working long hours overnights.Richard SellersSaratoga Springs Flushing is the least of Trump’s worriesDonald J. Trump has announced his latest concern, the deregulation of American toilets.He claims that Americans are flushing their toilets too often, and this in turn results in a shortage of water for washing your hands.He has ignored serious infrastructure repairs and updates in many areas of the country. The concern of seepage from underground ancient and rotting pipes, which might affect drinking water, is not there.He has denied climate change, even if there is abundant scientific proof to the contrary.Melting glaciers causing rising oceans, rampant wildfires and hurricanes resulting in human losses and hundreds of homes are just phenomena.He refuses to acknowledge the need for gun regulation, neither in the vetting process nor in being able to purchase military-type automatic rifles. The violence continues too frequently, most recently at a U.S. Naval base in Florida by a Saudi nationalist. The president offers “thoughts and prayers” until the next mass shooting.The situation at the southern border is a monumental disgrace where asylum seekers are being treated like animals, in some cases worse than animals. Another young man died last week. But never fear, now Jared Kushner is in charge.Now that the national debt has reached $21 trillion and still rising. We the people as law abiding citizens must prove our loyalty by not flushing our toilets so often.Jane ReisengerSchenectadyMust do better than tributes to racismWhile driving around Schenectady I saw a Confederate battle flag hanging on a porch.In response to this provocation, I’d like to praise the New York-based artist Kehinde Wiley and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) for supporting and building the statue “Rumors of War.”This statue was recently on view in New York City and now is prominently displayed at the VMFA near, but not on, Richmond, Virginia’s, famous Monument Avenue. I spent my formative years near Richmond, where I learned that Monument Avenue was created to “honor heroes of the Confederacy.” As I learned about the Confederacy, it became clear that “Monument Avenue” is simply a monument to a beastly culture and the men who killed tens of thousands of American troops to preserve a society dependent upon the practices of kidnapping, owning people, separating families, selling children, rape and torture, to name just a few. Noting this, I do believe “Rumors of War” would be a bit better if it was forged from the melted statues of the racist traitors currently standing along Monument Avenue in Richmond. And to the New Yorkers sporting the Confederate battle flag on porches, vehicles and flag poles, I share Wiley’s response to the statues of traitors, murderers, and racists along Monument Avenue, “We can do better.”Chuck PiotrowskiNiskayunaEllen audience a bit too giddy over giftsI sat down with a cup of coffee the other day and settled in to watch the 5 p.m. local news on Channel 6. I turned on the TV, a bit early, around 4:50 p.m. Well the Ellen DeGeneres show was on with Ellen and some model dancing around telling the studio screaming, jumping women in the audience that they all were going to get free this and free that.What I find so amazing is that the women in the audience behaved like little children on Christmas morning getting presents from their parents. My question is why would they behave and belittle themselves for a free toaster or whatever. Have they no pride? There, that being said, let the flogging begin.Rick SplawnikAmsterdamMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

Telford Bridging the market gap

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Offices: Laudable Leeds

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PREMIUMExperts urge ASEAN to harmonize non-tariff barriers to boost intra-regional trade

first_imgFacebook Topics : Google Forgot Password ? Log in with your social account LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Indonesia ASEAN intra-region-trade non-tariff-barrier imports exports ERIA BPS Linkedin Researchers from the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS) have advised ASEAN countries to harmonize their non-tariff measures (NTMs) to boost intra-regional trade.With the adoption of the Asian Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), six members of the association, namely Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, have eliminated import duties on 99.6 percent of their tariff line, while four members, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam, have reduced their import duties to between 0 and 5 percent on 98.86 percent of their tariff line.However, the researchers said that trade in the region remained low due to NTM policies enforced in ASEAN countries, such as trade quotas, licenses, regulations, label requirements, price controls and anticompetitive measures.In 2019, Indonesia’…last_img read more

Renovation of 92-year-old Catholic church in Riau Islands halted after protests

first_imgThe APKK has also filed a lawsuit against the Karimun administration at the State Administrative Court seeking to revoke the church’s building permit. The lawsuit’s first hearing was held at the end of last month.Separately, Aunur said that local Muslims, as represented by the APKK and FUIB, proposed three demands to his administration, namely relocating the church, turning the church into a historical site or revoking the permit already issued for the church renovation.“As an IMB is a legal product, we have to wait for the ongoing legal process,” he said, calling on all sides to exercise restraint to maintain the tranquility of the region.APKK chairman Hasyim Tugiran said the group wanted the church to refrain from starting the renovation work while the lawsuit was still ongoing.Meanwhile, Widodo said that the congregation remained determined to renovate the church in accordance with the IMB they had already obtained.He said that the APKK and FUIB’s demands to turn the church into a heritage site and relocate the church to another location were not the solution that his side wanted.“The church’s current capacity can no longer accommodate [the congregation] during mass, that is why why renovation is urgent,” he said, expressing the hope that a planned meeting to be held in the Religious Affairs Ministry in Jakarta between the Karimun regent and the Pangkal Pinang bishop could result in a decision that was in line with the prevailing law.Head of the Religious Affairs Ministry’s Karimun regency office, Zamzuri, was not available for comment.In May 2012, the church’s renovation committee wrote a letter to ask for support from the local community. It collected 107 signatures to be enclosed with the renovation proposal, based on which the RT (neighborhood unit) 01, RW (community unit) 01, Tanjung Balai subdistrict, in July 2012 issued a recommendation letter for the renovation.The church began pursuing a building permit in 2012 by collecting 107 signatures of non-Catholic residents in Tanjung Balai who supported the renovation. This was in line with a 2006 joint ministerial decree on places of worship, which requires a congregation to get 90 signatures from its members and another 60 from other residents before building a house of worship.The Tanjung Balai district office issued a recommendation letter on the renovation on July 2, 2012.Topics : The renovation of the 92-year-old Santo Joseph Catholic Church in Karimun, Riau Islands, has been halted following protests from local groups.The church, which was established in 1928, obtained a building license (IMB) for the renovation last October but had postponed starting the process after objections from the local United Muslim Forum (FUIB) and the Karimun Regency Caring Alliance (APKK), who objected to the church’s location in Karimun’s capital of Tanjung Balai. Parish head, Kristiono Widodo, said that when workers were about to start the renovation last week, a group of around 20 people started yelling from outside the church, demanding that they stop working. “They wanted to go inside and look for the church management whom they considered to be provocative, and asked for the work to stop,” Widodo told The Jakarta Post.After a heated discussion, Widodo said that church officials agreed to go to the Karimun Police headquarters with the group.“When we got there, it turned out that the Karimun regent, an APKK representative and customary leaders were already there,” Widodo said.At the police headquarters, the representatives discussed the APKK and FUIB’s objections and Karimun Regent Aunur Rofiq asked the church to temporarily halt the renovation work.last_img read more

Coronavirus carrier faces jail in Singapore for lying over movements

first_imgThe husband had been confirmed to be infected with the virus in late January, and has since recovered, while his wife had been quarantined due to her close contact with him.The health ministry said “detailed investigations” had established their true movements and they were charged “in view of the potentially serious repercussions of the false information…and the risk they could have posed to public health”.Charges under the Infectious Diseases Act are rare and this is the first case during the coronavirus outbreak in Singapore. First time offenders under the Act can be fined up to S$10,000 ($7,147) or imprisoned for six months, or both.Also on Wednesday, Singapore said a 45-year-old man lost his residency status after failing to comply with an order to stay at home for 14 days when he returned from China. The city-state – known for its tough laws – has also cancelled work passes and cut employers’ rights to hire foreigners for breaches of other virus prevention measures.Topics : A Chinese national who contracted coronavirus has been charged by Singaporean authorities for allegedly giving false information about his whereabouts in the city-state and could face up to six months in jail.Singapore has won international praise for its fastidious approach in tackling the virus – which has included using police investigators and security cameras to help track suspect carriers. The wealthy island state, an important regional financial center and transport hub, has confirmed 91 cases so far.The health ministry on Wednesday said it had charged a 38-year-old man from Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus first surfaced late last year, and his wife who resides in Singapore for allegedly providing false information to authorities about their movements for contact tracing.last_img read more

Dutch king offers condolences for advance team speedboat collision that led to seven deaths

first_imgTopics : Dutch King Willem-Alexander offered his condolences regarding a speedboat collision on the Sebangau River in Central Kalimantan involving members of an advance team preparing for the Dutch royal visit that resulted in seven deaths.”We’re deeply saddened by the tragic boat accident yesterday on the Sebangau river. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and with the injured,” King Willem said at the Bogor Presidential Palace on Tuesday. The incident occurred on Monday when a speedboat owned by the area’s military command hit a boat owned by the Sebangau National Park. Both boats were carrying passengers who were involved in the preparation for a visit by King Willem-Alexander and his delegation to the Sebangau National Park near Palangkaraya.The fatalities include Kuala Kapuas commander Lt. Col. Bambang Kristianto Bawono and workers from the national park.The king and the delegations are scheduled to visit the area on Thursday, in which the national park is among other places the Dutch king plans to visit during his four-day stay in Indonesia. (dpk)last_img read more