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BPAA Federal Policy Update - July 30

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TAX

  • Tax Reform 2.0 Framework A Good Start: The Ways & Means Committee released its long-awaited tax reform 2.0 framework, which would make permanent the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act's (TCJA) individual income tax changes. Here are three ways the framework would further reform the U.S. tax code: Make permanent the income tax rate and deduction changes scheduled to expire in 2025. The Taxes and Growth model estimates that this would boost long-run GDP (2.2 percent), wages (0.9 percent) and create 1.5 million additional jobs, while reducing annual federal revenues by $112 billion dynamically. Streamline retirement savings accounts. A universal savings account would significantly improve today’s long-term savings options. Improve the tax treatment of start-up businesses. Make permanent the income tax rate and deduction changes scheduled to expire in 2025. The Taxes and Growth model estimates that this would boost long-run GDP (2.2 percent), wages (0.9 percent) and create 1.5 million additional jobs, while reducing annual federal revenues by $112 billion dynamically. Streamline retirement savings accounts. A universal savings account would significantly improve today’s long-term savings options. Improve the tax treatment of start-up businesses. Read more at The Tax Foundation.
  • Bloomberg Tax on Tax Reform 2.0: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) released an outline of the 2.0 tax cut package to House members today, as he gathers information from lawmakers on what they would like to see in the legislative package. The two-page outline has three main themes: making permanent the small business and individual tax cuts in the 2017 tax law (Pub. L. No. 115-97); promoting savings through retirement accounts, a universal savings account, and expanded education savings accounts; and boosting innovation by helping “brand-new businesses write off more of their initial start-up costs, and remove barriers to growth.” The document said that Tax 2.0 would create a new universal savings account that is a flexible savings tool and expand tax code Section 529 education accounts so that taxpayers can use them to pay for apprenticeships to learn a trade, home schooling, and student debt. It would also let families withdraw money from their retirement accounts without a penalty when they welcome “a new child into the family, whether by birth or adoption.” The contents of the actual package remain in flux as members lobby for their own ideas and as Republican leaders keep an eye out for members who appear vulnerable in the November midterm elections and could be helped with some popular legislation. Brady is set to move forward with the package in September with a committee vote. The tax measures are seen by many as a political tool to buoy the fortunes of GOP House members in the midterm elections. However, some elements—such as making retirement savings more attractive—could find Senate support and have better prospects in Congress. Ways and Means ranking minority member Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) said the tax cut bills were more about politics than policy. Neal said he wasn’t for linking the retirement issue to the tax package. “Retirement is too important and I think there is some room here for bipartisanship,” he said.
  • State-by-State Job Impacts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2018: Today, we’ve released updated state-by-state analysis of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Our Taxes and Growth model estimates that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will create 215,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in 2018. As we’ve written previously, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a pro-growth tax reform, which will increase long-run GDP, raise wages, and create jobs. While tax changes can take years to materialize, we do expect to see an increase in jobs within the first year. The table below illustrates the state-by-state impact of the new tax law. You can also use our new interactive map tool to better visualize the updated data here. Read the full article at the Tax Foundation.

 

SPORTS BETTING

  • Did The Supreme Court Reinterpret The Wire Act To Allow Cross-Border Internet Sports Betting?: The Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Murphy v. NCAA dramatically altered the landscape for sports betting in the United States by declaring that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is unconstitutional. As a result of this decision, States are now free to legalize sports betting without any federal interference. Previously, PASPA had prohibited most states from authorizing or licensing sports betting within their borders. But some legal commentators now believe that the Court’s decision may have gone even further by allowing states to authorize sports betting across state lines, which could dramatically expand legalized sports betting through the use of the Internet. At issue is the Court’s brief discussion of the federal Wire Act at page 28 of the Murphy opinion. With the demise of PASPA, the Wire Act looms as the most important federal law affecting the future of sports betting. In short, the Wire Act prohibits any person or entity engaged in the business of sports betting from using “wire communication facilities” (such as the telephone or the Internet) to “transmit” bets or wagers on sporting events -- or even “information” relating to bets or wagers -- through “interstate commerce,” which generally (but not always) means across state lines. Read more at Forbes.

 

LABOR

  • Labor Dept. Offers Views on Worker Classification: The Labor Department July 13 rolled out a new interpretation on the controversial, ambiguous question of whether certain workers are are employees or independent contractors. The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division issued enforcement instructions to investigators on how to draw the line between employee and independent contractor in the home-care registry industry. The registries compete with traditional home-care providers by referring the elderly and people with disabilities or injuries to nurses and aides. The workers are treated as independent contractors who don’t get minimum wage or overtime protections. The field bulletin is tailored to a specific occupation within a narrow sector of the workers. But it offers a glimpse into how the Trump administration may task federal investigators to handle an issue that’s perplexing businesses throughout the economy—including app-based companies like Uber and TaskRabbit—that want to maintain an independent contractor model without running afoul of the law. The guidelines come in response to calls for clarity for home care industry from heavyweight management firm Littler Mendelsonand from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Both Littler and Rubio, an ally of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, have accused WHD investigators in Florida of applying an overly broad interpretation of the employment relationship, alleging registries have misclassified workers and owe them back pay. They argue that this view of independent contractor misclassification was abandoned by the agency when Acosta withdrew a memo issued in the previous administration that said the overwhelming majority of workers should be treated as employees. Read more at Bloomberg Government with subscription. 
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