Lunch Links: Schumer Pushes for Social Security Boost; Impact of Passing Tobacco Tax Initiatives in Missouri; Marylanders to Vote on Further Tax for Subway Improvements

October 24, 2016

Today is October 24, the date in 1931 when the George Washington Bridge, connecting Manhattan with New Jersey over the Hudson River, opened for traffic. Along with the Holland Tunnel, opened four years earlier, they enabled non-ferry vehicular crossing to New York City. GWB tolls started at 50 cents each way in 1931, and today are $15 inbound ($12.50 for E-ZPass during peak periods, $6.50 for carpools). Bridge tolls bring in more than $1 million per day.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

Tax Reform Rundown: Bernie Becker of Politico notes that this past weekend was the 30th anniversary of the 1986 tax reform, the last major overhaul of the federal tax code. He lists all the complications to doing it again: interests trying to save certain incentives, unfunded highway and infrastructure needs, international tax rules and competition, European actions, inversions, and the debt. (Politico)

Corporate Tax Battle Looms: Many legislators are pushing for a cut to corporate tax rates, but Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wants corporate tax revenue to go up, not down. (Huffington Post)

Schumer Wants Social Security Boost: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), on the re-election campaign stump, said Social Security should make a one-time supplemental benefit payment of $581 because the cost-of-living adjustment is so low. The COLA for 2017 will be just 0.3 percent, due to low inflation. (The Wall Street Journal)

Louisiana Transportation Secretary Pushes Gas Tax: With a $13 billion backlog and inflation eroding the tax in the 29 years since it last went up, Shawn Wilson says an increase ought to be on the table. (KEEL NewsRadio)

Dueling Missouri Tobacco Tax Initiatives Causing Confusion: If voters approve both Amendment 3’s 60-cent increase for pre-K and Proposition A’s 23-cent increase for transportation, perhaps only the one with the larger number of votes takes effect. Or perhaps both go into law. (Associated Press)

Maryland Governor Keeps an Open Mind on Metro Tax: Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Marylanders in suburban Washington, D.C., should be able to decide if they want to tax themselves more to fund Metro service. He warned that the state won’t boost its $500 million subsidy to the Washington-area transportation authority without major improvements in safety and customer service first. (The Washington Post)

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