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The left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities, based in Austin, works on everything from health care to hunger.

Executive Director Ann Beeson lays out the most pressing issues she thinks Texans, especially low-to-moderate income Texans, are up against in 2018.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

HOUSTON — Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday unveiled a plan to "rein in skyrocketing property taxes" in Texas, looking to lay down a marker in a debate that dominated the legislative sessions last year and promises to remain front and center through the 2018 primaries and beyond.

Hello! Money is on our minds in this mid-January edition of the Weekly Roundup.

Student loan default is a "crisis," report says

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

Walmart is raising wages for new employees from $10 an hour to $11, expanding paid parental leave and offering a one-time bonus to eligible workers, actions that the company says will affect more than 1 million employees in the U.S.

The changes were announced Thursday. Later the same day, Walmart announced it is closing 63 Sam's Club stores, after "a thorough review of our existing portfolio."

Updated on Dec. 22 on 12:02 p.m. ET

Congressional Republicans delivered on their first major legislative accomplishment of the Trump era on Wednesday, when the House voted 224-201 to pass a $1.5 trillion tax package. The bill cuts individual rates for eight years and slashes the top corporate tax rate to 21 percent permanently.

Updated at 1:26 a.m. ET Wednesday

Republicans in Congress approved a sweeping and controversial $1.5 trillion tax overhaul, with the Senate voting early Wednesday along straight party lines to move the measure forward.

Despite some last-minute challenges, Republicans appear to have the votes to give President Trump his first legislative victory.

Final passage of the bill that will reshape the tax system and touch nearly every American is expected early this week, possibly Tuesday or Wednesday.

It will be Trump's first significant legislative accomplishment, not a bad Christmas gift for a president, who often boasts of lesser successes.

Updated at 6:25 p.m. ET

Congressional Republicans released a final draft of their tax bill Friday. With newfound support from two wavering senators, lawmakers appear to be on track to pass the measure and deliver it to President Trump for his signature by Christmas.

Votes in the House and Senate are expected next week.

Updated at 7:29 p.m. ET

In making his "closing argument" for tax legislation expected to get a vote in Congress next week, President Trump announced that the changes would take effect early next year.

Updated Dec. 2 at 11:57 a.m. ET

The Senate narrowly approved a $1.4 trillion tax overhaul early Saturday morning following a day of procedural delays and frustration.

The legislation, which would cut the top corporate tax rate to 20 percent and lower taxes for most individuals, narrowly passed in a vote of 51-49. Tennessee Republican Bob Corker was the only Republican to vote against the legislation, joining every Democrat and both independents in opposing the sweeping overhaul of the nation's tax laws.

6 Possible Hurdles For The GOP Tax Plan

Nov 26, 2017

President Trump boasted earlier this month that Republicans were working together to pass sweeping tax cuts in the waning weeks of 2017.

"We're working to give the American people a giant tax cut for Christmas," Trump said. "We are giving them a big, beautiful Christmas present in the form of a tremendous tax cut."

But first, GOP lawmakers will have to resolve some major policy differences that could derail the bill.

The House has narrowly approved a $1.4 trillion tax overhaul, clearing the first major hurdle in Republican attempts to cut taxes and rewrite the tax code.

The vote was almost along party lines, with no Democrats voting in support of the bill and some GOP defections over provisions in the measure that would eliminate important tax deductions taken by constituents in some high tax states.

Updated 5:56 p.m. ET

Senate Republicans now plan to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate as part of a tax overhaul bill.

Several Senate Republicans said Tuesday that including the repeal in tax legislation, currently making its way through a key Senate committee, would allow them to further reduce tax rates for individuals without adding more to the deficit.

Updated at 12:01 ET Nov. 16

There are a lot of anxious graduate students at universities around the country right now.

That's because to help pay for more than $1 trillion in tax cuts for U.S. corporations, the House Republican tax plan would raise taxes on grad students in a very big way. These students make very little money to begin with. And many would have to pay about half of their modest student stipends in taxes.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

The Senate Finance Committee unveiled its version of a sweeping overhaul of the federal tax code on Thursday, as the House Ways and Means Committee was preparing to pass its own bill. The differing proposals forecast clashes between the two chambers that will make it difficult for Congress to enact the legislation by the end of the year as promised.

The two bills share a name, The Tax Cut and Jobs Act, but diverge on tax policy that affects both the business and individual sides of the tax code.

House Republicans made steady progress Tuesday on their goal to pass a sweeping tax bill in their chamber by Thanksgiving, as Senate leaders prepared to release their own tax legislation later this week.

The quick progress comes as Republicans race to pass steep tax cuts into law by Christmas to meet a deadline set by President Trump. But significant challenges lie ahead as Republicans try to avoid repeating the bitter party infighting that doomed earlier attempts to pass a GOP health care bill.

From Texas Standard.

A new proposal from Republican lawmakers would cut some tax rates and overhaul portions of the U.S. tax code. House Republicans rolled out the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in Washington on Thursday.

Among the most controversial aspects of the GOP tax plan is that it lowers the mortgage interest deduction for homeowners. Current homeowners wouldn’t be affected, but new borrowers would only be able to deduct the first $500,000 – that’s down from the current limit, which is $1 million.

John Diamond, director of Rice University’s Center for Public Finance says that the mortgage deduction change could lower Texas home values by 1-2 percent.

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

House Republicans unveiled a draft tax bill on Thursday, calling for deep cuts in both individual and corporate tax rates.

"With this bill, we will grow our economy by delivering more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks to Americans of all walks of life," said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET

Congress has approved a joint budget resolution, a critical step to paving the way for major tax legislation later this year.

The Senate-approved resolution passed the House narrowly on Thursday, 216-212, with 20 Republicans voting no and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., even having to cast a rare vote to help ensure its passage.

This week, Sarah Huckabee Sanders promoted one of the White House's chief selling points about the Republican tax plan. The pitch: American households will get an additional $4,000 as a result of the tax overhaul proposed in September.

The number comes from an estimate produced by the Council of Economic Advisers earlier this month.

Updated at 10:24 a.m. ET

Marching down Pennsylvania Avenue to send a message to Congress is a classic move in presidential political theater, and Tuesday is President Trump's inaugural performance. Trump makes his first visit to Capitol Hill to meet with Senate Republicans at their weekly meeting and the message is clear: Pass a tax cut.

Graphic by Bryant Ju and Ryan Murphy / The Texas Tribune

For Hurricane Harvey recovery, Texans want federal, state and local officials to focus on debris cleanup and disposal, housing, public health and environmental contamination, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Updated at 3:35 p.m. ET

Republicans are once again waving the white flag on health care.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he is pulling the Republican health care bill because it does not have the votes.

Rather than endure another embarrassing vote that sees his caucus come up short, the senators agreed in a closed-door meeting to shelve the bill.

frankieleon / Flickr Creative Commons

In Texas, many families are pulled out of poverty by what’s known as the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. Some experts say changing how the credit is paid out might help even more people.

The Brookings Institution’s Alan Berube talks about the credit — and why paying it all at once may not be the answer.

One of President Trump's boldest, most ambitious proposals on the campaign trail was to build a wall along the Southern border and get Mexico to pay for it. Amid the tumult of Trump's first few months in office, the border wall hasn't gotten as much attention as some other things. But new legislation has been introduced in Congress to help fund it.

It's called the Border Wall Funding Act of 2017, introduced on March 30 by Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala.

In a letter released Friday, President Trump's lawyers said a decade's worth of his tax returns show that he doesn't owe money to Russian lenders and that he has received no income from Russian sources, "with a few exceptions."

The exceptions include this: "In 2008, Trump Properties LLC sold an estate in Florida, that it had acquired in 2005 for approximately $41 million, to a Russian billionaire for $95 million."

Updated 9:45 a.m. ET

The White House is banging the drums that President Trump is doing something big again ahead of his 100th day in office — unveiling a tax "plan."

"This is going to be the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country," Trump's Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at a panel Wednesday morning.

Millions of taxpayers are rushing to complete their federal and state filings before the April 18 deadline. Among them are several million people in this country illegally, and there are signs that fewer such immigrants are filing than in years past.

andem / flickr

In recent weeks, several North Texas school districts have held or considered having tax ratification elections.

GotCredit / Flickr

For millennials just getting used to the tax code, some common misconceptions can lead to disappointment, and maybe even a big bill on filing day.

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