Monday, August 20, 2018
Editorials

Another voice: So, what would Trump pay?

ĎHere is everything you need to know about our plan," the press office for House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., promised in an email offering links to thousands of words of material on the House GOPís new tax cut proposal. But it did not contain some crucial information that we would like to know and that every lawmaker should have before voting on the package: how the plan would personally benefit President Donald Trump.

Figuring this out would be easy for anyone following the tax cut debate ó if, that is, the public had access to the presidentís tax returns. But Trump has broken with decades of bipartisan tradition and refuses to release his tax forms, past or present. So Americans can only guess about the nature and size of his personal stake in the GOP tax plan.

Thereís reason to guess he might do very well by it.

For example, the House GOP tax plan would eliminate the alternative minimum tax. When summary information from Trumpís 2005 tax return leaked, it showed that the AMT obliged him to pay $31 million more in federal taxes that year. The tax worked in that case just as intended, limiting Trumpís ability to deduct and loophole his taxable income far below what would have been reasonable for someone of his wealth. How many millions would Trump stand to save just from the AMT repeal?

Similarly, the House GOP proposal would cut rates on "pass-through" income for certain types of privately held companies ó the types that Trump frequently used to conduct his business. Republicans may limit the scale of the break, out of concern that they would otherwise create a new loophole for tax dodgers. But they are still debating how to structure the shift. These details could have large implications for the presidentís bottom line.

Lawmakers also should not ignore the fact that Trumpís family would almost certainly benefit from eliminating the estate tax, another piece of the GOP plan.

Refusing to release tax returns is just one of many ways in which Trump represents a distressing departure from the countryís democratic norms. Members of Congress should respond by conducting their own business with the dignity Trump lacks. A self-respecting legislature would insist on minimal transparency from the executive branch. The House Ways and Means Committee on Monday began several days of discussion on the GOP tax cut plan. The debate should not have even started without some basic clarity about the presidentís conflicts of interest.

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Editorial: Did Rick Scottís wallet affect his epiphany on rail line?

Editorial: Did Rick Scottís wallet affect his epiphany on rail line?

Within weeks of taking office in 2011, Gov. Rick Scott made one of the worst decisions of his administration and refused $2.4 billion in federal money for a high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando. Within months of leaving office, the governor...
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Editorial: Hillsborough has a place among growing number of governments suing opioid makers

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Published: 08/17/18
Editorial: Here’s what needs to be done to stop algae blooms

Editorial: Here’s what needs to be done to stop algae blooms

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Editorial: Journalists are friends of democracy, not the enemy

Editorial: Journalists are friends of democracy, not the enemy

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Published: 08/15/18
Updated: 08/16/18

Bumping into GOP cowardice on guns

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Published: 08/14/18
Updated: 08/17/18
Editorial: Vaccinations are safe way to prevent measles

Editorial: Vaccinations are safe way to prevent measles

The revelation that three people in Pinellas County have contracted the measles virus should be a wake-up call to everyone to get vaccinated if they havenít been ó and to implore parents to immunize their kids. Contagious diseases such as measles can...
Published: 08/14/18
Updated: 08/17/18
Editorial: Habitat for Humanity still has questions to answer about selling mortgages

Editorial: Habitat for Humanity still has questions to answer about selling mortgages

A good reputation can vanish overnight, which is why Habitat for Humanity of Hills-borough County made a smart decision by announcing it would seek to buy back 12 mortgages it sold to a Tampa company with a history of flipping properties. The arrange...
Published: 08/14/18
Editorial: Vote ó or a minority of the electorate will decide your future without you

Editorial: Vote ó or a minority of the electorate will decide your future without you

40%of Americans who were eligible to vote for president in 2016 just didnít bother. That number dwarfs the portion of all eligible voters who cast a ballot for President Donald Trump ó 27.6 percent ó or, for that matter, Hillary Clinton, 28.8 percent...
Published: 08/13/18
Updated: 08/17/18
Editorial: Why stand your ground has to go

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Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe made a reasonable decision to charge Michael Drejka with manslaughter in last monthís deadly Clearwater convenience store parking lot confrontation. The shooting, which erupted over use of a handicap parkin...
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Editorial: Politics aside, arguments are clear for moving appellate court to Tampa

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Itís time to re-establish a permanent home for the state appeals court that serves the Tampa Bay region.It makes sense to put it in Tampa, the same as it made sense 30 years ago when the courtís operations began moving piece by piece up Interstate 4 ...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18