December 19, 2012 |
You may be unaware of the local ramifications of one of the proposals currently at play in the danse macabre that passes for fiscal negotiations in Washington. This is the plan to cap federal tax deductions at either a set figure or a percentage of income. Either way, it would strike deepest and hardest mostly at residents of California, as well as other populous states with high levels of government services, high state and local taxes, and relatively expensive housing. The mortgage interest and state and local tax deductions are among the most important tax breaks that would be capped under this sort of proposal.
November 2, 2012 |
For voters who think the presidential candidates' agendas for the arts are worth considering along with what they propose for the economy, healthcare, taxes and all the rest, Americans for the Arts Action Fund, the political wing of a national service organization for the nonprofit arts, has issued a checklist based on its "newly compiled analysis of the presidential candidates' arts policy positions. " It's a list of seven yes or no questions, mainly pertaining to funding of various grant-making agencies and initiatives that support arts education and arts volunteering.
October 24, 2012 |
The do-gooding spirit is thriving in the U.S., with 81% of Americans planning to maintain or boost their donations this year, according to a new report. That's nine percentage points higher than 2011 and 18 points above 2010, according to Fidelity Charitable, which offers programs to boost altruism. The average American plans to give $2,400, up from $2,100 last year. Three-quarters of the 571 respondents said they don't donate in order to benefit from tax deductions. Seven in 10 are influenced by their experiences with illness or death, while two-thirds say it's a holiday tradition to give.
October 16, 2012 |
It's an especially touchy subject when consumers are sick of pinching pennies after years of a down economy, and the question of taxes and spending caused a storm of bickering at Tuesday night's presidential debate. When a woman named Mary asked Mitt Romney his positions on various tax deductions - including the mortgage deduction, the child tax credit and the education tax credit - the former Massachusetts governor said he wanted to simplify the tax code and lower taxes for the middle class.
October 9, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - As a lofty political debate over taxes and spending plays out on the presidential campaign trail, a more practical one is unfolding this week in Virginia as eight senators try to strike a bipartisan deficit reduction deal. The senators are holed up in a Mount Vernon conference room seeking a way to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff - the year-end confluence of automatic tax increases and budget cuts that could stagger the economy and American households. Failure to act could slice half a percentage point off economic growth next year and deliver a tax increase averaging $2,000.
October 1, 2012 |
In my column on Sunday, I reported conflicting advice to voters from Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the co-chairmen of President Obama's commission on reducing the national debt. Simpson, a Republican and a former senator from Wyoming, said he thinks GOP candidate Mitt Romney is more likely to succeed at forging a long-term budget compromise than Obama. Bowles, a Democrat who served as Bill Clinton's White House chief of staff, said he thinks Obama is more likely to succeed. But let's assume for a moment that the polls are right and that Obama is about to win a second term.