Category Archives: Politics

“Nightmare” Republican tax bill brings year-end chaos for homeowners

Homeowners across the country looked to battle the coming $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions by paying their 2018 property taxes in advance. Now the IRS has announced that only property taxes that have been assessed can be deducted in 2017.

The announcement did little to clarify who can take a deduction now for 2018 taxes.The Service didn’t define what “assessed” means in this case, and with each taxing agency having its own dates and systems for property tax bills, confusion is the byword.

The New York Times and The Washington Post both provided windows to taxpayer angst over this.

The final word — for now — goes to homeowner Brian Lowit of Baileys Crossroads, VA, who wired a payment to his county and then heard that he might not get a deduction. As he said to the Post, “It’s a nightmare. I’m definitely frustrated, annoyed and irritated. The rush to get that bill done screwed everyone up. It’s insanity and it’s stupid.”

Write a massive tax bill in secret and hold no hearings on it. What could go wrong?

Could Trump tax bill trigger a housing crash?

Reducing or eliminating the deductions for state and local taxes won’t just cost some people money in terms of increased taxes. The Republican bills could also push down property values, attacking the most valuable assets many families have. As The New York Times reported,”An analysis of the Senate bill by Moody’s Analytics concluded that home… Continue Reading

Trump’s tax plan benefits — Trump. Surprised?

Now we know what Donald Trump, the presidential candidate who won’t release his own tax returns, wants to do about taxes: Cut them for people like himself. His August speech in Detroit outlined his plans, which fall in line with what House Republicans, including zombie-eyed granny-starver Paul Ryan (thanks to Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce )have… Continue Reading

Republican fantasy tax plans all “puppies and rainbows”

Let me paraphrase Josh Barro of The New York Times in summing up the tax talk you’re hearing in the Republican Presidential Debates: It’s all puppies and rainbows. As Barro points out here, Marco Rubio would eliminate all taxes on capital gains, which of course would benefit those in the U.S. who have accumulated the most… Continue Reading

IRS plays dead on campaign finance

Any small business that has been audited knows the IRS can be a junkyard dog when examining records for deductible meals, travel, mileage, and other business expenses. Not so when it comes to reviewing political organizations. As The New York Times summarizes, the IRS has pretty much rolled over on groups that use nonprofit “social… Continue Reading

Hastert and FIFA cases prove the oldest rule in the book: Follow the money!

What does Dennis Hastert’s indictment on apparently Very Very Bad Horrible Terrible Behavior (kudos to Kaili Joy Gray of Wonkette) and the FIFA bribery and kickback scandal (New York Times version here) have in common? They both in part involve people charged with trying to hide or disguise transfers of money—something that is of tremendous… Continue Reading

How your tax $$$ subsidize Walmart & McDonald’s

One more reason fast-food and other low-wage businesses are happy with the status quo on minimum wage: Your tax dollars help subsidize their chintzy wages, which often leave their workers on public assistance. As detailed in a University of California study and reported in The New York Times, around half of all home health care… Continue Reading

Joe’s op-ed in The Oregonian opposes Portland “street tax”

Here in Portland, the City Council is proposing a street fee in the form of a local income tax. I started adding up some of the fundamental problems I saw with the proposal, and wrote an op-ed for The Oregonian, “Eight Problems With Portland’s Proposed Street Tax.” The phrase, “the wheels have been greased on… Continue Reading