The White House's out-of-the-blue decision to name Sen. Max Baucus [D. Montana] the next ambassador to China means the state's Democratic governor must appoint a replacement long before next year's Senate election. And that will fundamentally change one of 2014's biggest battleground races: Instead of a free-for-all, open-seat battle, Democrats will get to rally behind a better-entrenched incumbent seeking a full term.
The move is potentially helpful not only to the Democratic party but to that segment of the political class that might have been concerned about the Baucus moves toward comprehensive tax reform. This might have meant the loss of various loopholes, all of which would have been vigorously defended and many of those doing the defending would have been former Baucus staffers who have since gone to work on K Street. So the “reforms” might not have amounted to much even if Baucus had stayed on to finish his term and gotten the project underway.
So Baucus will leave behind business that might be best unfinished and a memorable prediction that the rollout of the Affordable Care Act – which had his fingerprints all over it – would be a “train wreck."
In mid-October, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange quietly postponed all of the forums it had scheduled to inform small businesses about the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), as we reported.
It looks like labor unions might be getting tax relief from Obamacare, according to a report from kaiserhealthnews.org.
"Weeks after denying labor’s request to give union members access to health-law subsidies, the Obama administration is signaling it intends to exempt some union plans from one of the law’s substantial taxes," reads the report.
One day away from the launch of the Obamacare marketplaces, the question most on the minds people visiting the Healthcare.gov website is not about coverage, but rather about avoiding the penalty, or tax, for not having health insurance. As of Monday morning, here is how the website listed its "Most Popular" items:
If you are a U.S. senator and have a cool idea about taxes but are worried to speak it aloud for fear some of your constituents will peel your hide off in small strips ... well, there is hope. A couple of your colleagues have come up with a plan.
Republicans forged ahead in their effort to transform North Carolina into a reliably red state, with Gov. Pat McCrory and top legislature leaders agreeing Monday on a tax cut plan to boost economic growth and job creation.
The House of Representatives is scheduled Tuesday to consider a bipartisan bill to add new seasonal flu vaccines to the IRS definition of taxable vaccines. The Senate has already reached an agreement to vote on its version of the bill without further debate if the House passes an identical version. If passed into law, all new flu vaccines would become subject to the 75¢ per dose vaccine tax, and also become eligible to be included in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). A summary of the bill provided by the House Republican Conference explains:
Bernie Becker and Kevin Bogardus write in The Hill that, according to “two top tax writers on Capitol Hill ... the case for tax reform has been strengthened by the recent revelations about Apple’s tax tactics and the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups.”
In his prepared remarks on the IRS’s targeting of his political opponents, President Obama said that “we’re going to hold the responsible parties accountable,” but only once we determine “who is responsible.” In today’s Wall Street Journal, Kim Strassel offers some helpful thoughts on determining responsibility, writing that it’s really not all that hard — and, indeed, it’s not.