Friday, June 22, 2018
Business

PolitiFact: What else is in the tax cut legislation

The heft of the Republican tax bills lower taxes for individuals in the early years while disproportionately benefiting wealthy taxpayers and corporations.

Tucked into the legislation from both chambers, however, are measures with consequences for the environment, health care, churches and abortion rights.

As negotiators from the House and Senate prepare to hash out the final bill to send to President Donald Trump, we decided to unpack a few notable provisions tucked into each bill that didn’t receive as much attention.

Oil drilling in Alaska

The Senate tax bill opens 1.57 million acres of coastal Alaskan tundra — in the largest wildlife refuge in the United States — to oil and gas exploration. The drilling is expected to rake in $1 billion to the federal government over a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The region has been closed to drilling, unless authorized by Congress, since 1980.

The section was introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, but was not included in the House version.

ACA mandate

Technically, the requirement for Americans to carry health insurance is a "tax," as ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court in upholding the law. But the Senate’s decision to eliminate the Obamacare individual mandate would have an enormous effect on the health care industry, as Americans could choose to not purchase health insurance without fear of penalty.

The Congressional Budget Office predicted an increase of 4 million uninsured Americans by 2019 and 13 million by 2027, along with a 10 percent annual hike in insurance premiums.

The individual mandate penalty falls disproportionately on lower- and moderate-income households.

The House version doesn’t mention the individual mandate.

Abortion rights

College savings accounts, which are not taxed, could be opened explicitly for unborn children under the House bill. Under the bill, an unborn child is defined as a "child in utero," or "a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb."

The provision doesn’t enable college-fund savers to do anything they can’t already do for future children. But experts told us the language might erode abortion access in the future.

The Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group, said: "It’s a small increment in the momentum that we’re building to ensure that one day every child is welcomed and protected under the law."

The Senate bill doesn’t include the unborn children language.

Johnson Amendment

The House tax bill repeals the Johnson Amendment, a 1950s-era law that bans churches from endorsing political candidates.

The original law prohibits 501(c)(3) nonprofits from engaging in certain political activities, but the new bill allows churches to keep their tax-exempt status regardless of statements about political candidates made during religious services.

The Senate bill leaves the Johnson Amendment in place.

Professional football?

The Senate bill also removes "professional football leagues" from the description of 501(c)(6) nonprofit organizations, a long-term goal of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

This would codify into law something the National Football League has had in place for a few years; it dropped its tax-exempt status in 2015.

Comments
Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

The biggest hospitals in Houston had a problem.To earn a prized institutional certification, they needed more nurses with bachelor of science degrees in nursing.But local colleges were more focused on turning out nurses with two-year degrees who, to ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, the future of health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But t...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Here’s an intriguing set of facts: Coal produces the same percentage of the world’s electricity as 20 years ago. Oil and gas remain about level, too.Same for nonfossil fuel sources. In other words, the massive push towards renewables over the past co...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Florida’s otherwise rosy job numbers, one that’s been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes gen...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Published: 06/22/18
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Published: 06/22/18
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Published: 06/21/18
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Published: 06/21/18
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18