Morning Must Reads: Closing Tax Loopholes, Health Reform and Economic Austerity

The Associated Press this morning reports on competing efforts to close some tax loopholes in Pennsylvania.

After blocking similar efforts by Democrats in recent years, Republicans in Harrisburg now want to chip away at a couple of state tax provisions that benefit businesses...

A month-old bill backed by the leaders of the House Republican majority would attempt to close the so-called “Delaware loophole.” It would give the state Department of Revenue the power to stop firms — usually large, multistate companies — from using accounting sleight of hand to move profits out of Pennsylvania to a lower-tax jurisdiction in order to avoid paying the state’s 9.99 percent corporate net income tax.

To make it easier for business advocates to swallow, the bill would also take major steps long sought by the business community to lower business taxes, including gradually reducing the corporate net income tax rate to 6.99 percent in 2019...

At the same time, the Corbett administration wants to scale back part of a $73 million incentive for retailers that collect the sales tax and send it to the state in a timely fashion...

Under the proposal, retailers that get to keep 1 percent of the sales tax money they collect would be allowed to keep no more than $250 per month, which would bring another $41 million to the state in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The Scranton Times-Tribune reports on benefits of preventive services made available by the Affordable Care Act.

More than 3.8 million Pennsylvanians have used at least one free preventive service — ranging from annual checkups to tests for specific types of cancer — offered through health care reform legislation in the past year, according to a study by U.S. Health and Human Services.

The Affordable Care Act requires many insurance plans to provide coverage without any co-pay or deductible costs for a variety of preventive health services, including screenings for colon cancer, mammograms, well-child visits and flu shots. The move is part of an increasing emphasis on providing care that helps to keep people well.

Finally, in case you missed it, we highly recommend this inventive but persuasive op-ed on economic austerity.

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