Tax reform bill lands shortly after the morning newspaper

This is one of the problems with running a daily newspaper in the Internet age. The Las Vegas paper — which hit the driveways this morning — has a story about what is expected to be in the Republican tax reform bill, but an hour or so later the actual tax bill has been released.

The New York Times is reporting that the much debated and maligned dropping of the income tax deduction for state and local income and sales taxes is still in the bill.

The state and local tax (SALT) deductions are patently unfair to states with lower tax rates.

Using 2010 statistical data from the IRS, you find Californians who filed for state and local income tax deductions claimed deductions of $10,700 per return. Nevadans who filed for the state and local sales tax deduction claimed only $1,430 per return.

Calculated on a per capita basis, Californians claimed $2,116 in federal income tax deductions, while Nevadans claimed only $166 per person for sales tax deductions.

The tax deduction for property taxes remains but is capped at $10,000. The bill also maintains mortgage interest deductions for existing mortgages, but caps the deduction for newly purchased homes to $500,000.

The bill also establishes three tax brackets — 12, 25 and 35 percent. “Single filers making up to $24,000 will pay no income tax; up to $90,000 will be in the 12 percent bracket, up to $260,000 in the 25 percent bracket and up to $1 million in the 35 percent bracket. Those making above $1 million will be in the 39.6 percent bracket, which is currently the top rate for millionaires,” the Times says.

The standard deduction for the 70 percent of Americans who do not itemize would increase from $6,350 for individuals to $12,000 and from $12,700 to $22,000 for married couples.

There will be no changes to 401(K) plan tax exemptions after all.

It also doubles the exemption for the estate tax and repeals it after six years.

Bloomberg is also reporting that the bill ends the $7,500 credit for purchasers of electric vehicles made by companies such as Tesla Motors, which got more than $1 billion in tax breaks from Nevada to build a battery plant in Sparks.

Now the fight begins. Nevada Democrats have largely opposed the tax reforms that would benefit most Nevada taxpayers and stimulate the economy.


When haggling over details, it is easy to forget what the rules are

When you are down in the scrum, butting heads and scrambling for the ball it is easy to forget the rules of the game or even what game you are playing.

Now, if it is wrong for Congress to mandate under pain of tax penalties that everyone buy insurance from privately owned and operated health insurance companies or through state or federally operated exchanges, isn’t it just as wrong for Congress to order those health insurers to charge a 30 percent premium penalty to those who let their insurance lapse?

The Commerce Clause has been stretched beyond any semblance of rationality when a person can be fined for growing grain to feed his own cattle because that disrupts interstate commerce, but health insurance is not commonly available across state lines.

Where does Congress derive the enumerated power to micromanage health insurance — whether via ObamaCare or RyanCare?

And why pray tell can you be given Medicaid — basically government insurance that dictates what allegedly private doctors and hospitals may charge for care no matter what it really costs — if your income is 138 percent of the poverty level, but you are on your own if you earn 139 percent of the poverty level?

Overturn the actuarial tables and whole concept of insurance when Congress dictates that those with pre-existing conditions and “children” to the age of 26 must be covered at the same rate as others. What is the difference between only allowing insurers to charge three times as much for older people than healthier younger people than only allowing them to charge five times as much.

Despite what you may have read in the morning paper, RyanCare does not repeal the tax on so-called Cadillac insurance plans. It merely delays it a couple of years.

When you are up to your arse in alligators it is hard to remember your objective was to drain the swamp.





Reid continues hypocrisy of demanding Romney’s tax returns while keeping his secret … Look, rich people!

Harry Reid continued his sleight-of-hand routine Tuesday night at the Democratic convention, pointing with exaggerated animation to Mitt Romney’s tax returns in an attempt to distract everyone from the glaring facts right in front of their eyes. Look, rich people!

After introducing himself as the humble senator from Searchlight, Harry proclaimed in his customary deadpan:

“Never in modern American history has a presidential candidate tried so hard to hide himself from the people he hopes to serve. When you look at the one tax return he has released, it’s obvious why there’s been only one.”

Actually Romney has released his 2010 return and the preliminary figures for his 2011 return, but no need to quibble with mere facts when they get in the way of a tall tale.

“We learned that he pays a lower tax rate than middle-class families. We learned he chose Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island tax shelters over American institutions. And we can only imagine what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the American people a dozen years of tax returns, like his father did.

“Mitt Romney says we should take his word that he paid his fair share. His word? His word? Trust comes from transparency, and Mitt Romney comes up short on both. …”

Your word? Your word, Harry? This from a man who has refused to release any of his tax returns nor state what percent of his income he pays in taxes or where he shelters his multimillion dollar assets or how he become a millionaire while serving in public jobs the vast majority of his life. I wonder whether his Christmas tips for the staff at the Ritz Carlton are deductible, since he did try to use campaign money for that purpose? And how did he report the $1 million he collected from the sale of property he had not personally owned for three years? Look, rich people!

“If we don’t know how Mitt Romney would benefit from the policies he proposes, how can we know if he’s looking out for us or just himself?”

How do we know who Harry is looking out for, since he continues to throw tax money at those who contribute to him and the Democratic Party?

Harry also said this about Republicans:

“In addition to the crowd of ‘couldn’ts’ and ‘shouldn’ts,’ the Republican Party has become the party of the ‘wouldn’ts’ and the ‘won’ts.’ They pledged on day one they wouldn’t lift a finger to help. And they haven’t.”

This from the man who controls the calendar in the Senate, which hasn’t passed a budget in more than three years, though the Republican controlled House keeps sending budgets over. This from a man who hasn’t been able to muster a single Democratic vote, including his own, for the budgets Obama has submitted.

Pay no attention to the facts, Harry says. Pay no attention to the fact Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, which Harry failed to mention. Pay no attention to the fact things have gotten worse under Obama’s policies and practices. Pay no attention to Nevada having the highest rate of foreclosures and underwater mortgages in the country, something that can be, at least partly, laid at the feet of Barack Obama and his community organizers with their “vampire socialism.” Look, rich people!

Today’s Investor’s Business Daily offers a handy guide to those facts, in some cases, for the sticklers out there, comparing today’s figures not only with those on the day Obama took office, but also to when the recession officially ended in June 2009. These are a few:

“• Median incomes: These have fallen 7.3% since Obama took office, which translates into an average of $4,000. Since the so-called recovery started, median incomes continued to fall, dropping $2,544, or 4.8%.

“• Long-term unemployed: More than three years into Obama’s recovery, 811,000 more still fall into this category than when the recession ended. …

“• Gas prices: A gallon of gas cost $1.89 when Obama was sworn in. By June 2009, the price was $2.70. Today, it’s $3.84.

“• Misery Index: When Obama took office, the combination of unemployment and inflation stood at 7.83. Today it’s 9.71. …

“• Debt: Everyone is far worse off if you just look at the national debt. It has climbed more than $5 trillion under Obama, crossing $16 trillion for the first time on Tuesday and driving the U.S. credit rating down.”

Never mind that food stamp recipients, as noted by The Wall Street Journal today, have grown from 33 million in 2009 to 46,670,373 as of Friday — nearly one out of seven Americans at a cost of $72 billion a year and growing. Those are Harry’s and Barry’s constituents. You know, the one’s who, by presidential decree, can keep drawing welfare without having to, well, actually work as the law states.

Harry didn’t mention any of those, but merely gestured and shouted: “Look, rich people!”

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