Yellen will stay as Treasury boss. The Treasury Secretary told President Biden she plans to stay through the end of his first term, multiple news organizations reported. Sources say she considered leaving after two difficult years but Biden asked her to help navigate the debt limit battle that is expected later this year. Yellen is a former chair of the Federal Reserve and a highly-respected expert in public finance.
The House may vote to replace the income tax with a national retail sales tax and abolish the IRS. Some House Republicans say Kevin McCarthy agreed to give them a vote as part of the deal to secure his speakership. Their Fair Tax Act would replace the federal income tax with a national sales tax and replace the IRS with an “administering authority.” It isn’t clear if the bill can pass the House but it certainly would die in the Senate.
More House committee news. Rep. Jodey Arrington of Texas will be the new Budget Committee chair. He’ll replace Rep. Jason Smith, who will become Ways and Means chair.
Fighting over defense spending. Some hard-core GOP populists want to include military spending in their deep budget cuts. But top House Republicans, including Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Appropriations Committee Chair Kay Granger say no way. House Republicans say they want to lower fiscal 2024 discretionary spending to 2022 levels, a cut of about $130 billion.
Former Trump Organization CFO gets 5 months for tax fraud. Allen Weisselberg was sentenced to five months in jail and five years of probation after pleading guilty to tax fraud. A New York jury found the company guilty of 17 counts of civil tax fraud for giving Weisselberg and other senior executives tax-free benefits instead of taxable wages. The former CFO agreed to testify against the company but not against Trump, who never was charged in the scheme.
Texas has a $35 billion surplus. Inflation drove sales tax revenue higher, according to the Texas Public Policy Foundation. What to do with the money? Lawmakers are eyeing property tax relief for starters. State caps limit new spending to about $12.5 billion.
Will Minnesota keep taxing Social Security income? The state has a larger-than-expected $17.6 billion budget surplus, so lawmakers are considering eliminating the tax on Social Security benefits. The Department of Revenue estimates the move could lower taxes for 400,000 residents, to the tune of $1,200 for an average return. But the state, one of 12 that still taxes Social Security benefits, would lose $500 million in annual revenue.
A tax exemption for home sharers in Oregon? Lawmakers are developing a bill to waive the tax homeowners owe on renting rooms, as long as they charge $1000 or less per month. Home Share Oregon, a matchmaking site for roommates, backs the bill, which could help keep older adults in their homes. The company says 800 homeowners are looking to rent out spare bedrooms on its site, and more than 3,000 people are searching for space.
Georgia’s gas tax holiday is over. The state resumed collecting its 29 cents-per-gallon tax on motor vehicle fuels today. The tax was suspended for ten months last year. Prices won’t jump immediately because retailers must first sell the untaxed gas they received during the tax holiday. The suspension cost Georgia about $1 billion.
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