Tax Break

Essential reading: Union, liberal coalition pushes Obama tax plan, and more

May 25, 2012

Union supporters in Las Vegas, September, 2008. REUTERS/David Allio

Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines from Reuters and other sources.

* Union, liberal coalition pushes Obama tax plan. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. A coalition of big unions and left-leaning activist groups has formed to support President Barack Obama’s proposal to raise tax rates on families earning more than $250,000, amid growing signs that Democratic lawmakers want to limit tax increases to people making $1 million or more. Link

* An often procrastinating Congress is raring at the gate on tax cuts. Jennifer Steinhauer – The New York Times. The Bush-era tax cuts, which are set to lapse on Jan 1, have both parties in the House and the Senate eager, perhaps even giddy, to vote for their respective versions of an extension of the cuts this summer, well before the due date. Without any extensions, the expiration would raise taxes next year by $221 billion. Link

* Heard in more states: See you in tax court! Nanette Byrnes – Reuters. Six U.S. states have established or considered establishing independent tax tribunals in the last two years, a trend supported by the business community, but one which also is stirring debate about the need for these new tribunals. Georgia and Illinois approved laws last year to create a tax court. In Alabama, Governor Robert Bentley announced Thursday that he will pocket veto legislation that would create a new state tax tribunal, due to flaws in the bill, but will support its reintroduction in the next legislative session. Link

* At an Iowa factory, Obama argues his energy policies work. Peter Baker – The New York Times. President Obama called on Congress on Thursday to extend and expand renewable energy tax credits, visiting a town revitalized by a wind-turbine blade factory to argue that his policies have begun to transform American energy production. Link

* Senate fails to agree on student-loan-freeze. Rosalind Helderman – The Washington Post. The Senate failed on two proposals Thursday to ensure that college student loan rates do not double in July. Democrats have proposed paying for the additional year of loan subsidies by ending a tax provision that allows executives of some small businesses to collect some of their income as business profits instead of wages, allowing them to avoid paying payroll taxes. Link

* Schumer blasts Saverin defenders. Siobhan Hughes – The Wall Street Journal. Senator Charles Schumer lambasted conservatives who rallied around the Facebook Inc. co-founder who decided to give up his U.S. citizenship shortly before a stock sale that turned him into a paper billionaire, saying that the logic of the Republican party’s right wing was “scary.” Schumer also attacked comments from Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform’s leader, saying he had compared Schumer’s policy proposal to that of the Nazis. Link

Taxes: How low can you go? Chrystia Freeland – Reuters opinion. Are your taxes too high? When Gallup asked that question in April, tax month in the United States, 46 percent said they were. An additional 47 percent said their taxes were “about right.” Just 3 percent said their taxes were too low. Conservatives have never been shy about talking about tax policy in terms of values as well. Low taxes are part of the bigger fight for personal freedom and a small state. The left, by contrast, has been more reluctant to make the case for higher taxes as the worthwhile price of better public services and a stronger social safety net. Link

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