House Releases Tax Reform Bill– The House Ways and Means released the first draft of its tax reform bill. The draft lowers the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% and collapses individual tax rates into five brackets: 0%, 12%, 25%, 35%, and 39.6% for the highest-income Americans. It doubles the standard deductions for individuals and families and creates a new Family Credit, which includes an expanded child care tax credit. It also creates a new 25% rate for small business. Key Provisions • The State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT) is eliminated for both income and sales taxes; it is capped for property taxes at $10,000. • The Home Mortgage Interest Deduction is preserved for existing mortgages and maintained for newly purchased homes up to $500,000. • The tax exempt status of municipal bonds is maintained. o Tax credit bonds, advanced refunding bonds, and private activity bonds are all repealed. o The draft also prohibits the use of tax exempt bonds to finance professional stadiums. • The New Market Tax Credit¸ Work Opportunity Tax Credit, and the Rehabilitation Credit for Historic Buildings are repealed.
House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) has scheduled a mark-up of the committee’s tax reform proposal for Monday, November 6. Following the mark-up, Chairman Brady and House Republican leadership will work to bring the bill to the House Floor for a vote before Thanksgiving. The Senate Finance Committee is working on their own bill which they are expected to release on November 8.
Trump Declares Opioid Crisis a Public Health Emergency President Trump officially declared the opioid crisis a Public Health Emergency, stopping short of his promise to declare the epidemic a national emergency. He issued a 90-day declaration that directs federal agencies to better use their money to fight the opioid problem, but without providing any new funding. His executive action allows for expanded access to telemedicine services, including services involving remote prescribing of medicine commonly used for substance abuse or mental health treatment; and allows the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to more quickly make temporary appointments of specialists with the tools and talent needed to respond effectively to the ongoing public health emergency.