Thursday, September 20, 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
Marijuana use is now as common among baby boomers as it is among teens, federal data show

Marijuana use is now as common among baby boomers as it is among teens, federal data show

Talk to your grandparents about marijuana - before somebody else does.The latest release of a massive federal drug use survey shows monthly marijuana use has skyrocketed among older Americans. The past decade, in fact, has seen a sea change in the de...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Former Tampa Bay exec and Chico’s CEO Shelley Broader discusses changing retail in St. Pete visit

Former Tampa Bay exec and Chico’s CEO Shelley Broader discusses changing retail in St. Pete visit

ST. PETERSBURG — When Shelley Broader worked in Tampa Bay, she was turning around a failing grocery store.It was the early 2000s. Amazon wasn’t a powerhouse yet, people were still on Myspace and no one was ordering groceries online. On Thursday, she ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tampa Bay’s fastest selling used car is a Prius. Do you drive the slowest selling car?

Tampa Bay’s fastest selling used car is a Prius. Do you drive the slowest selling car?

Apparently, a lot of people in Tampa Bay are trying to get their hands on a Toyota Prius. An analysis by iSeeCars shows that the eco-friendly car is the fastest-selling used vehicle in the area, averaging 19.2 days on the market. That might not be su...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Cargill recalls more beef on E.coli worries from Colorado plant tied to previous recall

Cargill recalls more beef on E.coli worries from Colorado plant tied to previous recall

Cargill Inc. is recalling more than 132,600 pounds of ground beef possibly contaminated with harmful E. coli bacteria that food-safety investigators believe has already caused 17 illnesses and one death.The beef originated at a Cargill slaughterhouse...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Colorado-based alternative fuel company to hire 45 at new $10 million factory in Plant City

Colorado-based alternative fuel company to hire 45 at new $10 million factory in Plant City

PLANT CITY — Alternative fuel firm MLMC Florida will open a $10 million factory near the Hillsborough-Polk county line and will create 45 new jobs paying an average salary of at least $58,383 a year, officials said Thursday.Based in Parker, Colo., ML...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Publix has pumpkin spice everything on sale, and other deals this week in coupons (Sept. 20-26)

Publix has pumpkin spice everything on sale, and other deals this week in coupons (Sept. 20-26)

Sometimes, the coupon gods align. And, man, that’s beautiful because everyone loves so-cheap-it’s-almost-free stuff.Vegetarians rejoice: This week’s steal of a deal is for you. Publix has Quorn "chick’n" nuggets and patties on BOGO (buy one, get one)...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Homes sales jump in Pinellas and Hillsborough in August after months of declines

Homes sales jump in Pinellas and Hillsborough in August after months of declines

Home sales in August hit their highest levels in a year in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties as prices throughout the Tampa Bay area continued to rise. In Pinellas, sales of single-family homes jumped nearly 7 percent from the same month a year ago....
Updated: 9 hours ago
Floridan hotel misses deadline, faces hearing on repairs to keep more concrete from falling

Floridan hotel misses deadline, faces hearing on repairs to keep more concrete from falling

TAMPA — When a chunk of concrete fell off the Floridan Palace Hotel last month, injuring a woman who was struck by debris, city officials gave the historic building’s owners a deadline to submit an engineering report and make repairs.That deadline ca...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Too many homeowners forced to tap home equity to pay for day-to-day expenses

Too many homeowners forced to tap home equity to pay for day-to-day expenses

Tapping home equity to pay for day-to-day expenses like groceries and utilities is a recipe for financial peril. It can work for a while, especially if home prices are rising. Eventually the spigot runs dry, bills pile up and your home can be lost to...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18
Pinellas County strikes bed tax deal with VRBO, HomeAway and other AirBnb competitors

Pinellas County strikes bed tax deal with VRBO, HomeAway and other AirBnb competitors

The Pinellas County Tax Collector’s Office will start collecting bed tax dollars from a slew of home rental apps that operate similarly to AirBnb starting Oct. 1.Prior to the new partnerships with TripAdvisor and Expedia, only AirBnb had set up to pa...
Published: 09/19/18