Another Relief Bill: If Not Now, When?

Democratic leaders urge Sen. McConnell to negotiate next relief bill, ASAP. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have demanded that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell take up the House-passed HEROES act or other coronavirus legislation in the wake of the dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths.  McConnell says he won’t even begin talks until the Senate returns from its Fourth of July recess on July 20.

National Taxpayer Advocate releases annual report. National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins released her first report to Congress. She identified taxpayer challenges arising from the pandemic, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and the IRS’s implementation of the Taxpayer First Act as priority issues for the her office  in the coming year. The report also assesses the 2020 filing season and IRS responses to recommendations proposed in the National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2019 annual report.

July 8: Urban Institute hosts virtual State of the States event on pandemic-driven budgeting. The noon event will focus on innovative ways state leaders are planning for massive revenue reductions caused by job losses and decreased consumer spending. Without federal relief, states and localities will have to raise taxes or cut programs. Register here for the event. TPC’s Tracy Gordon will join Donna Ginthe of the University of Kansas; Anne Kaiser,  Chair of the Maryland House of Delegates Ways and Means Committee; and Shelby Kerns of the National Association of State Budget Officers. Donnie Charleston, director of the Urban Institute’s State and Local Fiscal Policy Engagement, will moderate.

In Ohio: Cities worry about tax revenue in a work-from-home era. They’ve based economic development strategies on boosting employment in their jurisdictions. The idea: Cities provide  tax and development incentives to businesses that hire more workers who pay more city income taxes. But companies have been shifting employees to permanent work-from-home status. About 80 percent of Ohio businesses are located in a municipality. If those employees end up working from home permanently, cities’ financial stability will be at risk.

In Connecticut: The plastic bag tax returns tomorrow. Governor Ned Lamont had suspended the 10-cent-per-single-use-bag tax to reduce the risk that grocery store workers could contract the novel coronavirus by touching reusable shopping bags. Connecticut’s COVID-19 cases are decreasing and the state’s reopening remains on target, so retailers will resume collecting the tax starting July 1.

The passing of Ed Kleinbard. The former head of the Joint Committee on Taxation died Sunday after a long struggle with cancer. Before joining JCT in 2007, Ed was a tax lawyer in private practice. Since 2009, he’s been a professor of tax law at USC, where he was a prolific and provocative author. After Ed’s passing, his colleague and frequent co-author Joe Bankman called him “funny, loyal, passionate, and acerbic.”

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