Tax Break

Essential reading: Romney now says health mandate by Obama is a tax, and more

July 5, 2012

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

* Romney now says health mandate by Obama is a tax. Jeremy Peters – The New York Times. Mitt Romney declared on Wednesday that President Barack Obama’s healthcare mandate was in fact a tax, shifting his campaign’s characterization of the law and aligning himself with the conservative voices in his party. Two days earlier, his chief spokesman and senior strategist had said that Romney did not believe the mandate should be called a tax. Link

* Christie makes new appeal for a 10 percent income tax cut. Kate Zernike – The New York Times. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called a special session of the Legislature on Monday to argue his case again for a 10 percent income tax cut, saying “the New Jersey comeback” depends on it. But as with most things the governor does, Democrats viewed his half-hour speech less in terms of what he actually said and more for what it said about his national ambitions, and what some believe are his hopes to be the Republican vice-presidential nominee. Link

* France set to raise taxes on firms, rich. William Horobin and Gabriele Parussini – The Wall Street Journal. The government of Socialist President François Hollande announced plans to hit companies and the rich with higher taxes this year, as the country battles against weak economic growth to stay on track with deficit-reduction goals. The government said it would seek Parliament approval for 7.2 billion euros ($9.08 billion) in extra taxes this year. The plan, which had been outlined by cabinet members in recent days, calls for higher taxes on dividends and oil companies, while 2.3 billion euros of the tax increases would come from wealth taxes, the government said. Link

* The most sensible tax of all. Yoram Bauman and Shi-Ling Hsu – The New York Times opinion. On Sunday, the best climate policy in the world got even better: British Columbia’s carbon tax — a tax on the carbon content of all fossil fuels burned in the province — increased from $25 to $30 per metric ton of carbon dioxide, making it more expensive to pollute. This was good news not only for the environment but for nearly everyone who pays taxes in British Columbia, because the carbon tax is used to reduce taxes for individuals and businesses. Thanks to this tax swap, British Columbia has lowered its corporate income tax rate to 10 percent from 12 percent. Link

* Bullet train could shoot down Brown’s tax initiative. George Skelton – The Los Angeles Times opinion. The bullet train won’t be on the November ballot, but it will be on many Californians’ minds as they decide the fate of Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax proposal. That’s what I keep hearing from e-mailers such as Fred: “Many voters will not support Jerry’s tax plan so long as his budget includes monies for high speed rail.” Link

* Mitt Romney’s tax gamble on healthcare. Chris Cilizza and Aaron Blake – The Washington Post opinion. On July 4, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney tried to explain the (close to) unexplainable: How a penalty in Massachusetts is a tax nationally. Romney is trying to sell the idea that Obama’s healthcare bill contains a tax because the Supreme Court said it does. And the healthcare law that he signed in Massachusetts contains a penalty (or a fee) because that’s what he called it at the time and the court offered no ruling on those state-based laws. Link

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