Inadequate Funding Threatens 2020 Census

Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 4:45 PM by

“The Census,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, “is the bedrock upon which we construct our system of representative democracy. It provides for apportionment, redistricting, and the distribution of hundreds of billions of dollars of federal funding.”

By this time in the decennial cycle over the last five decades, funding would be ramping up so the U.S. Census Bureau could scale up its activity appropriately to undertake the constitutionally-required enumeration of the U.S. population scheduled for 2020. Yet the Congress has underfunded the Bureau for the last several years, and estimates for a shortfall for 2018 alone now range between $200 and $300 million. Compared to past censuses, the lack of funding at this point in the cycle is striking. Read more

GOP Tax Changes Could Make it Harder for African American Students and Others to Afford College

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 3:30 PM by

Now that the Senate and the House of Representatives have each passed their own versions of a federal tax plan, they will try to reach agreement on a single plan for both houses of Congress to approve. The two tax plans are more alike than dissimilar – both hike taxes on a sizeable number of taxpayers with low and moderate incomes, give the richest extremely large tax cuts, and favor corporations over individuals and families.

One difference between the two plans is that the House version includes provisions that would push higher education out of reach for many students, by raising the cost of obtaining a college degree and blocking one of the main pathways students take to financing advanced degrees. Whether these measures will wind up in the final version of the tax bill is anyone’s guess, especially given that the extremely rushed process Congress has engaged in so far in the tax debate has limited the opportunity for taxpayers to weigh in on various aspects of the bills. Read more

Federal Tax Plans Would Drive another Economic Wedge between White Families and Families of Color

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 2:36 PM by

A growing level of resources is concentrated in a very small number of hands, a trend that would be exacerbated if Congress passes one of the federal tax bills currently under consideration. Both versions of the bill expand the already-significant ability of extremely rich families to keep wealth within their own circles, a move that would contribute to the widening chasm between the very wealthiest and everybody else and would place additional obstacles to economic security in the path of families of color.

New figures point to the degree to which a growing amount of the nation’s resources are held by a select few. In 2016, 39 cents out of every dollar of wealth was held by the top 1%, according to the newest Survey of Consumer Finances, released this fall by the Federal Reserve Board. That amount is up from 30 cents a quarter-century ago.

Growing levels of wealth inequality block access to opportunity for those not lucky enough to be born to the top 1%. Read more

The Different Federal Tax Proposals are not all that Different. Here’s What They Have in Common.

Monday, November 27, 2017 at 8:03 AM by

Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the Senate have put forth their own versions of the changes they would like to see made to federal income taxes. While there are different provisions included in the two plans, they are more alike than different. Here are five ways that the House and Senate tax plans are fundamentally similar.

1. A sizeable number of taxpayers with low and moderate incomes would be paying higher taxes under both bills. Under the newest Senate plan, more than a third – 34% — of Wisconsin taxpayers in the bottom three-fifths of the income spectrum would have a tax increase by the time all the provisions are fully phased in. In contrast, only 1% of the Wisconsin taxpayers in the top 1% by income would experience a tax increase. That group has an average annual income of $2.5 million.

In the House tax plan, 10% of Wisconsin taxpayers with low and middle incomes would have a tax hike, compared to 8% of taxpayers in the top 1% by income. Read more

Revised Senate Plan Raises Taxes for Many Wisconsinites

Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 4:16 PM by
Wisconsin is One of 19 States Expected to Have a Net Increase in Taxes

House Bill’s Increase in Child Tax Credit Excludes Many Children in Working Families

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 11:05 AM by

Congressional leaders misleadingly argue that their tax cut plan would benefit working families because it increases the maximum value of the federal Child Tax Credit (CTC). However, that part of the House bill completely excludes 159,000 children in Wisconsin whose parents work in low-paying jobs, according to a new analysis.

House leaders intend to hold a floor vote on their tax plan this week. The Senate tax plan is likely to be voted on after Thanksgiving.

About one in three Wisconsin children in working families would either be excluded entirely or only partially benefit from the proposed increase in the CTC, according new report from the Washington, DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  Read more

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More than a Quarter of a Million Wisconsin Taxpayers Would Have a Tax Hike under Senate plan

Monday, November 13, 2017 at 3:14 PM by

Nearly 300,000 Wisconsin taxpayers would pay more in federal income taxes under a plan released on November 9 by Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate. That means about nine percent of all taxpayers in the state, or 1 out of 11 taxpayers – would pay more under the Senate plan. And if you consider who will wind up paying for the deficit-financed tax cuts in the long run, the number of low- and middle-income Wisconsin residents who would be worse off under the bill is likely to swell.

About 89,000 of the Wisconsin taxpayers with tax hikes are in the bottom 60% of the income spectrum, with incomes of less than $95,000. The average annual tax increase for those taxpayers would be $680. Figures are for 2027, when the permanent effects of the tax changes are in force. Read more

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What the Details of the Trump-House GOP Tax Plan Mean for Wisconsin Taxpayers, in Five Charts

Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 11:11 AM by

New details about the tax plan being advanced by President Trump and Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives show that the plan would mostly benefit the extremely rich, despite initial claims by proponents that it would be targeted at members of the middle class.

Provisions included in the tax framework include:

  • Reducing the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 20%;
  • Eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, which insures that wealthy individuals pay at least some level of federal income tax;
  • Eliminating the estate tax. Currently, only estates of more than $5.5 million for individuals or $11 million for couples pay any estate tax;
  • Reducing the number of income tax brackets;
  • Doubling the amount of the standard deduction and eliminating the personal exemption; and
  • Ending the deduction for state income taxes, and capping the deduction for local property taxes.

Republican leaders released the details of the plan earlier this month, allowing the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy to model how the provisions would affect taxpayers in different states. Read more

The Top Ten Most Surprising Changes in the House Tax Plan

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 7:05 PM by

As I’ve been gradually working my way through an 80-page summary of the tax cut plan that was introduced by House leaders last week, I’ve found a number of things that strike me as surprising. Based on what I’ve read thus far, here’s a subjective list of proposals that I wouldn’t have predicted would be in the plan, if you asked me about it several months ago.

These aren’t the things that concern me the most about the bill (except for # 10), and I haven’t formed an opinion about all of them. These are simply some proposals that I think are worth drawing attention to because we hadn’t necessarily anticipated them, and because some might slip by under the radar if Congress rushes the bill to the floor by the end of the month (which seems to be the plan). Read more

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Republican Tax Plan Remains a Huge Windfall for the Wealthy

Thursday, November 2, 2017 at 6:13 PM by

The tax cut plan unveiled today by House Republicans would provide a massive windfall to corporations and the wealthiest Americans, while hurting some taxpayers and substantially increasing the federal deficit.

We don’t yet have updated calculations of how the revised plan will redistribute taxes among different income groups, but the modest revisions to the plan won’t significantly change the previous calculations – which found that 80% of the tax cuts in the initial plan would go to the top 1% of Americans. (See Figure 2 in this Oct. 27th analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.)

Here are some of the reasons why the latest proposal, which would add at least $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years, would primarily benefit wealthy households and corporations:

  • Even though the tax plan does not cut the top individual income tax rate, the new tax brackets benefit the wealthy.
Read more
Categories: Blog, estate tax, FEDERAL BUDGET & TAXES, federal issues, taxes | Comments Off on Republican Tax Plan Remains a Huge Windfall for the Wealthy