Thursday, December 14, 2017
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: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

For once, it would be nice to see Sen. Marco Rubio stand up as the independent leader he aspires to become. For once, the Florida Republican should hold his position rather than bow to pragmatic politics. Rubio can stick with his threat Thursday to v...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Another voice: A shameful anniversary

Josephine "Joey" Gay should have celebrated her 12th birthday this week. She should have been surrounded by friends and family in a place festooned with purple, her favorite color.Chase Kowalski should have been working toward a Boy Scout merit badge...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Timing is everything, and Sen. Bill Nelson seized the right moment this week to call on his colleagues to pass legislation he filed earlier this year that would block the Trump administration from opening additional areas to offshore drilling. With t...
Published: 12/13/17

Another voice: Alabama picks an honorable man

THANK YOU, Alabama.In Tuesdayís special election, the state by a narrow margin chose to spare the nation the indignity of seating an accused child molester in the U.S. Senate. Though the stain of electing Republican Roy Moore would have sullied Alaba...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Editorial: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts arenít worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Published: 12/12/17

Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Floridaís juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scottís administration was defensive and obtuse. So itís welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over stateís rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week wonít make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, itís obvious that Jeff Vinikís plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17