Pamplin Media Group – Wyden: Time for Congress to Pass Federal Tax Changes

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Oregon Democrat says workers shouldn’t have to pay more than wealthy investors; he and Biden share a few ideas.


US Senator Ron Wyden said people who work should not have to pay more taxes than those who live on investments or profits from the sale of assets, such as stocks.

As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, the Oregon Democrat is making plans to reverse some of the changes Republicans pushed to Congress during the federal tax code overhaul in 2017. These changes have benefited more high-income households and large corporations, and also cost the US Treasury a decade-long projection of $ 1.8 trillion.

“I am committed to ending the double standard of US taxes,” Wyden said in an interview with Pamplin Media Group. “The person who works – a firefighter or a nurse – pays taxes with every paycheck. Millionaires can defer, defer and defer taxes, and that just isn’t fair. I’m going to change it.

“I also want to make it clear that I share President Biden’s determination to ensure that… any household under $ 400,000 will not pay more.”

Wyden indirectly referred to reports, including one published in June by ProPublica, which reported that some Americans paid little or no federal income tax in certain years – including Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk – based on data compiled by the Internal Revenue Service over 15 years. . The Treasury Department says it is investigating the leak; personal tax data is confidential.

Some of Wyden’s proposals, which he discussed in January when he became chairman of the tax drafting committee for the second time, are consistent with those put forward by Biden.

Biden had sought to raise more money for federal spending on public works projects, health care needs and other programs by raising taxes on high-income households and large businesses. Republicans oppose the changes.

Both had sought to increase the maximum corporate tax rate, which the 2017 law reduced from 35% to 21%. Wyden praised the 15% minimum corporate income tax that Biden proposed as an alternative to increasing the corporate tax rate to 28%.

Both have proposed ending certain tax breaks for capital gains, which are profits from the sale of an asset such as a stock held for at least a year. Current tax rates can go up to 20%, depending on the amount of the gain, a person’s income tax bracket and how long the asset is held. Biden has proposed doubling the capital gains taxes of investors earning more than $ 1 million a year. Wyden proposed taxing the richest 0.3% of earners, based on at least $ 1 million in annual income or $ 10 million in assets for three consecutive years. There would be exceptions for farms, homes and retirement savings.

In contrast, Oregon law does not grant special treatment to capital gains, which are subject to the top state income tax rate of 9.9%.

> Effort on several fronts

Unlike the 2017 law, Wyden said, Democrats plan to spread their changes across multiple bills.

“There will be several bills in this effort,” he said. “The leadership of Congress has talked to me and others about how to structure it. These are questions yet to be resolved.”

It is also likely that the Democrats, who hold a slim majority in both houses of Congress, are expected to pass the changes in the same way the Republicans did in 2017. This is part of a known parliamentary procedure. under the name of budget reconciliation, which allows approval by simple majorities, rather 60 votes to avoid obstruction in the Senate. The House has 220 Democrats – only two above the 218 majority – and 211 Republicans; there are four vacant positions. The Senate is tied 50-50; Vice President Kamala Harris is the tiebreaker for Democrats.

The key will be for Democrats to be reluctant to raise specific taxes.

Wyden, during an event in Portland on Tuesday, June 29, also drew attention to one of the tax changes included in Biden’s pandemic stimulus package, known as the US bailout. It increases the child tax credit to $ 3,000 per year for children aged 6 to 18 – and to $ 3,600 per year for children under 6 – and converts it into a monthly payment of l ‘Internal Revenue Service from July. So families don’t have to wait to file an income tax return to receive money – and they get the money back even if they don’t owe taxes.

But there’s a catch: the higher tax credit is only in effect for one year.

Wyden said he wanted to make sure the change is permanent. The change is expected to reduce the number of children living below the federal poverty line by 40%.

“Too often, low-income families and individual workers, especially blacks and Latinos, have not had access to these comprehensive benefits,” he said during a hearing of his commission on the 20th. April.

“These extensions are going to be a game-changer for these workers and families in Oregon and across the country. They should be permanent, and I’m working with the members of this committee to make that happen.”

Energy: 44 to 3

A change that Wyden has already put forward – he’s awaiting a Senate vote, although Wyden has said he could be part of a larger package of tax changes later this year – eliminates 44 tax breaks linked to energy. This includes the much-discussed Oil and Gas Depletion Allowance, which dates back to the start of modern federal income tax in 1913.

Instead, there will be only three tax breaks: the development of renewable sources; alternatives to gasoline and diesel as transport fuels and energy efficiency.

Wyden said the changes are linked to reduced greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change.

“The new lodestar will reduce carbon emissions,” Wyden said. “It’s a free market system. If you reduce carbon emissions, you will be able to get the credits.”

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