Limitations on the State and Local Tax Deduction Hurt Pennsylvania in Two Ways

A major issue in the debate over the Republican tax cut bill is whether the deduction for state and local taxes (the SALT deduction) should be eliminated or reduced. The conference committee bill released on Friday proposes a “compromise” that would allow individuals to deduct up to $10,000 in some combination of state and local property and income or sales taxes. 

That compromise is deeply problematic for Pennsylvania and many Pennsylvanians, in two different ways. 

First, substantial numbers of upper middle-class Pennsylvanians will see their taxes go up as a result of the limitation on state and local tax deductions in the conference committee bill. These taxpayers are likely to be concentrated in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where a high percentage of taxpayers take the state and local deduction. 

Second, the state as a whole will suffer because the limitation on the state and local tax deduction will make it more difficult for the state to raise taxes. This is a serious issue, especially at a time when the state suffers from both recurring budget deficits and a deep public investment deficit and yet there is little political will in the General Assembly to raise taxes. 

We consider these two problems in order after the break.

Fight Rising Inequality by Pushing Back on Tip Theft!

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Hello from Paris everyone!

I will resist here posting pictures of me eating fancy cheeses and drinking wine.

The GOP-Backed Tax Bill: A Lose-Now, Lose-More-Later Plan for Low- and Middle-Income Americans

GOP-backed tax bills have passed both the House and the Senate. Many of us have already seen charts which show how, under these plans, low and middle-income families will eventually see their taxes raised (by 2027), while the top 1% sees huge savings (see, for example, the chart below showing the Senate bill’s impact on Pennsylvania). What hasn’t been discussed as much is that these bills are step one in a two-part process, designed to severely cut critical government programs.

The GOP Tax Bill: An Assault on Economic Equality and Democracy

Budgets, it is frequently said, are an embodiment of our moral ideals and commitments. If so, the tax plan adopted by the Senate on Friday represents an extreme moral failure on the part of the senators from the Republican Party who voted for it. At a time when incomes are becoming ever more unequal, the Republican tax plan will ultimately make the rich richer and the poor and middle class poorer. Not only will working people and the middle class suffer, but so will our whole country. 

Show Me the Savings! Bipartisan Lawmakers Back Transparency to Stop Outsourcing That Costs School Districts More

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A large body of research and experience shows that public sector outsourcing often backfires. Rather than resulting in savings for taxpayers, governments too often get bilked, paying more money to private vendors, in some cases for inferior services. To rub salt in the wounds, private companies may pay lower wages and benefits, completing the lose-lose-lose trifecta – bad for taxpayers, bad for government, bad for workers. 

New Jersey and the $15 Minimum Wage

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With yesterday’s news that the Garden State will move toward a $15 minimum wage next year as pledged by Democratic Gov.-elect Phil Murphy, and alongside his fellow Democrats who control the state Legislature, one must ask: when will Pennsylvania’s legislature get on board and follow in the footsteps of states like New Jersey, New York and Maryland?

For Many Pennsylvanians, Insurance Premiums Increase Are Greater Than Tax Cuts

As we have pointed out previously, because it repeals the individual mandate, the Senate tax cut proposal will not only lead to 13 million fewer people having health insurance in the United States, but it will lead to much higher premiums for many who do purchase health insurance on the individual market. The CBO’s estimate was that premiums nationwide would increase by 10%.

Help for Your Thanksgiving Day Tax Debates

If your family is anything like ours, politics tends to come up around the Thanksgiving Day table and diverse opinions are often put forward, including by one or more of our cranky uncles who mutter about “those people” and the “damn government.” Since your cranky uncles like mine no doubt listens to Rush and his friends, they are going to present you with a lot of misinformation about the GOP federal tax cut bill. 

But have no fear as we have your back.

The Rich Get Richer: Why the Senate Tax Bill is a Total Sham

The Senate Republican tax plan would provide enormous, permanent tax cuts to high-income households and corporations – all while adding at least $1.5 trillion to the deficit. And to pay for its permanent tax cuts for corporations, the bill would raise taxes on many middle-income families and repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, increasing the number of uninsured Pennsylvanians by 505,000 and raising individual market premiums nationwide by 10 percent.

This is Not Normal

It is hard to look at politics in America without being afraid for our future. Everywhere we look, we see extremist movements that reject common standards of argument and evidence that are willing to say anything to advance their cause and that will not compromise even at the cost of creating a public disaster. 

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