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President Trump spent his tax filing day in Minnesota, where he touted his $1.5 trillion package of corporate and individual tax cuts he signed into law in 2017 and made a pitch for his 2020 reelection.

Speaking at a trucking company in the Minneapolis suburb of Burnsville on Monday, Trump said he hoped his economic message would be met with enthusiasm from a state that he came within 1.5 percentage points of carrying in 2016.

“We promised that these tax cuts would be rocket fuel to the economy and we were right,” Trump said during a roundtable discussion.

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In his remarks the president said the economy was doing well and that the recent tax cuts were “working very, very well.”

Besides taxes, Trump also argued that his tariffs on imported steel were helping blue-collar workers in Minnesota’s more rural north and leading to a resurgence in the mining industry due to increased demand from domestic steelmakers.

While the trip was billed as a chance to meet with local business leaders on Tax Day, Minnesota likely will play a crucial role in deciding Trump’s chances of winning reelection next fall as well.

Minnesota, which gave the country Vice Presidents Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, both Democrats, hasn’t given its 10 electoral votes to a Republican since Richard Nixon in 1972.

The state’s Democrats saw a huge overall resurgence during the anti-Trump backlash of 2018, notably in traditionally Republican suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Giving the president hope is the memory that his popularity outside the Twin Cities area helped the GOP flip two U.S. House seats away from the Democrats last year.

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The tax cuts were lambasted on Sunday by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat in the 2020 White House race, arguing that they added trillions of dollars to the nation’s debt and disproportionately helped the wealthy.

“That tax bill was a major missed opportunity,” she said. “That tax bill should have been a bill that would have not only brought some taxes down for working people but also could have funded a major infrastructure investment.”

So far Trump doesn’t appear to be getting much credit for the tax changes. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll last week showed that most Americans didn’t think they even got a tax cut. Just 17 percent of those polled believed their taxes went down.

More evidence came from a report by tax preparer H&R Block on Thursday that said Americans were undergoing a “confusing tax experience” this season. While its customers’ overall tax liability fell 24.9 percent in the first year under the new tax law, refunds were roughly flat at just 1.4 percent. While the average filer was better off, it said, they weren’t seeing it in their refunds, “which many people think of as their ‘bottom line.'”

Federal data also showed a negligible increase in refunds. According to the IRS, as of March 29 the average refund nationally was $2,893, which was just $20 more than at the same point last tax season.

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Further muddling the picture was the federal deduction for state and local taxes being capped at $10,000, which has mattered in high-tax states such as Minnesota, California and New York, among others.

Along with discussions on taxes, trade and the economy, Trump also expressed his shock and sadness for the massive fire that was devastating the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris – calling the blaze something “that is beyond country, it’s beyond everything.”

“The fire that they’re having at the Notre Dame Cathedral is something like few have witnessed,” he said, adding that the church was “one of the great treasures of the world.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

With the tax-filing deadline just days away, California residents are worried that a slew of proposed levies on everything from soft drinks to water to tires and car batteries could soon see even more money going out of their pockets in the state that already has the nation’s highest income tax.

As Californians grapple with that 13.3 percent income tax – and some leaner-than-usual refunds this year due to the recent federal tax overhaul – lawmakers in Sacramento are looking at a range of other revenue sources. Members of the legislature’s Democratic supermajority argue that these new taxes are vital to shore up the state coffers and to provide crucial services such as repairing crumbling infrastructure, cleaning up toxic wells and fighting obesity.

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Overall, the California Tax Foundation has added up more than $6.2 billion worth of tax increase proposals pending in the state legislature, with that number expected to rise as bills are amended.

But the state’s minority Republican leaders bemoan these new proposals, arguing that Californians are already burdened by some of the highest taxes in the country and the new charges would only worsen the state’s mounting affordability and housing challenges.

“We have the highest gas tax in the nation and the majority party has gone as far as taxing our air,” California State Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove said in a statement to Fox News. “Now, they are proposing to tax our water, soda, tires, and more. Higher taxes won’t solve California’s affordability and housing problems, and they will only make things worse.”

A spokesperson for the California Democratic Party declined to comment to Fox News, instead directing questions to lawmakers who proposed the pieces of legislation.

One of the most controversial proposals to come out of Sacramento this year is a proposal from Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to tax drinking water in order to clean up contaminated water in the state’s low-income and rural areas.

He told reporters earlier this year that the lack of access to safe drinking water in the state is a “disgrace.”

The proposal, which if enacted would levy a fee of between 95 cents and $10 a month on residents’ water bills depending on meter readings, has divided members of Newsom’s own party. Tax and fee increases require support from two-thirds of lawmakers and, despite Democrats holding roughly 75 percent of the legislative seats in the state, some representatives from moderate and agricultural strongholds balk at the water tax idea.

State Sen. Anna Caballero has proposed using the state’s $22 billion surplus to create a trust fund to pay for water improvements. The move by Caballero has been championed by taxpayer associations in the state.

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“A state-imposed tax would not only be an outlier from a national perspective, it would be for California as well,” John Coupal, the president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), said in a statement. “Moreover, there are other ways to fund the one-time $150 million cost of necessary water system improvements.

Coupal added: “Not only is there federal funding specifically available for this purpose, California has passed several statewide bonds that have allocated hundreds of millions of dollars for clean water infrastructure improvements.”

Along with water, another liquid has come under the scrutiny of lawmakers in California: soda.

Following a national trend – and concerns over the risks of obesity and diabetes – Democratic lawmakers in the state have proposed a tax on the sugary beverages, which include soft drinks, sweetened iced teas, coffees and sports drinks. While details have remained vague on how much these taxes would be, Democratic Assemblyman Richard Bloom has supported a 20-cent-per-ounce tax in previous proposals.

“We have ignored this crisis for too long,” Bloom said in January. “We are standing on the edge of a cliff and addressing this health crisis requires a multi-pronged approach like the one you see today.”

A recent Los Angeles Times report highlighting some of these tax proposals noted that polls show residents already think they’re overtaxed. Republicans and representatives of the beverage industry argue that the tax would unfairly hurt businesses and consumers, particularly those in lower-income communities.

The “burden of paying the tax would disproportionately fall on some groups relative to others,” said Steven Maviglio, a spokesman for the American Beverage Association.

Besides beverages, Democrats are looking to pass Assembly Bill 18, which among other things looks to tax the sale of handguns and semiautomatic weapons in order to generate funding for gun control programs.

The bill, which was sponsored by Democratic Assemblyman Marc Levine, would implement “an excise tax on the sales of handguns and semiautomatic rifles” and then hand over the resulting revenue to the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program (CalVIP).

“California needs to bolster violence prevention initiatives so that they are commensurate with our state’s tough gun laws and as effective as violence prevention programs of other states,” Levine said in a statement earlier this month.

California already has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country and, beginning in 2019, state ammunition dealers will be required to maintain logs of all sales – including those of bullets. The state has already restricted online sales of bullets so they can only be delivered to licensed dealers and not someone’s home.

The gun-tax legislation has drawn heavy criticism from gun-rights and hunting groups.

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In an effort to curb opioid addiction and fund drug treatment programs, lawmakers in California have introduced a bill that would impose a one-cent-per-milligram surcharge on prescription opioids sold in the state.

“California’s opioid epidemic has cost state taxpayers millions and the lives of too many of our sons and daughters,” Democratic Assemblyman Kevin McCarty said in a statement. “We must do more to help these individuals find hope and sobriety. This plan will provide counties with critical resources needed to curb the deadly cycle of opioid and heroin addiction in California.”

In the state with the most drivers in the U.S., lawmakers are also looking to tax parts of automobiles to fund other government programs and initiatives.

In February, Democratic Assemblyman Chris Holden proposed a $1.75 fee on every new tire put on a car, while in December another bill was proposed to levy a $1 fee on every lead-acid battery made by a manufacturer and sold in the state until 2022. The tire tax is estimated to generate $57 million to pay for stormwater cleanup.

There is also a proposal to tax oil and gas extraction in the state, which would not only put California in line with every other major oil-producing state in the U.S., but would bring in an estimated $1.5 billion a year.

While lawmakers supporting these moves say they will improve the lives of all Californians and help the state maintain its large surplus, critics say all they do is allow the state to spend more money at the expense of working residents.

“As they spend more and more money, we raise the cost of living on everyone in the state,” Will Swaim, the president of the California Policy Center, told Fox News.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump’s tax returns were front and center on Tuesday during a number of hearings on Capitol Hill.

Following the formal request by House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., for copies of the last six years of the president’s tax returns, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig visited Capitol Hill, where they faced questions about when – and if – Trump’s returns would be handed over the Congress.

Fielding questions from the House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, Retting said that the final decision came down to him – with Mnuchin’s supervision.

WHAT DID TRUMP ATTORNEY SAY IN LETTER OPPOSING DEMS’ TAX RETURN DEMAND?

Rettig told a House panel Tuesday that the IRS was preparing a response to last week’s letter from Neal.

During the 2016 campaign, Rettig defended Trump’s decision to break with decades of tradition by refusing to release his tax filings. Under questioning at his confirmation hearing last August, Rettig pledged to uphold the political independence of the IRS.

Earlier in the day, Mnuchin told the House Appropriations Committee that his department intends to “follow the law” and is reviewing the request to hand over the returns.

Mnuchin also revealed that Treasury Department lawyers have talked to the White House counsel’s office about releasing Trump’s returns, telling lawmakers that the consultations occurred before the request arrived last week. Mnuchin said the conversations were “purely informational,” and he has not been briefed on their content.

But Mnuchin told a House panel that he has had no communication with the president or his top staff about the department’s decision on whether to provide Trump’s tax returns.

“It is our intent to follow the law and that is in the process of being reviewed,” Mnuchin told a House Appropriations subcommittee with responsibility for his budget.

NEW YORK DEMOCRATS LAUNCH FRESH BID TO DIG UP TRUMP’S TAX RETURNS

Tuesday’s hearings come just two days after acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday” in an exclusive interview that Democrats would “never” see President Trump’s tax returns.

“That’s an issue that was already litigated during the election. Voters knew the president could have given his tax returns. They knew that he didn’t and they elected him anyway.”

Mulvaney added that Democrats know they won’t get the returns, and “just want attention on the issue because they don’t want to talk to us about policy.” A fundamental purpose of tax law, Mulvaney continued, is to protect the privacy of tax filers.

“If they don’t get what they want in the Mueller report, they’re going to ask for the taxes,” Mulvaney said. “If they don’t get what they want in the taxes, they’re going to ask for something else. It doesn’t surprise anybody.”

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In framing his request for the filings, Neal relied on a 1924 statute that says the Treasury Department “shall furnish” them when requested. The IRS is part of Treasury.

Trump has broken with tradition by not voluntarily releasing his tax returns. He routinely says — as he did Friday — that he’s under routine audit and therefore won’t release his returns. But IRS officials have said that taxpayers under audit are free to release their filings anyway.

Fox News’ Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

An obscure federal statute makes it legal for Congress to obtain President Trump’s tax returns for the last six years, and, through an additional loophole, can be made public, according to Judge Andrew Napolitano.

During an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday morning, the senior judicial analyst explained that the Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means can compel the IRS to reveal anyone’s tax returns, not just President Trump’s, for any time period without reason. However, they are generally required to be kept secret and confidential.

“I honestly didn’t know this statute existed because it’s an obscure statute,” Napolitano said. “The Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, and/or the chair of the Senate Finance committee, can ask for anybody’s tax returns, and the secretary, meaning the secretary of the treasury for whom the IRS works, shall furnish them. They don’t have to give a reason.”

The confidentiality of those records is a crucial part of the statute, in order to protect the privacy of the individual whom the records belong to. However, under certain circumstances, members of Congress can publicly reveal the records with immunity, Napolitano said.

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“If these tax returns goes to the House Ways and Means Committee, and any member of Congress gets them, that member of Congress can go to the floor of the House of Representatives, and the tax returns of the President of the United States become public,” Napolitano continued.

Judge Nap predicted the attempt to obtain President Trump’s business and personal tax records will lead to a fight in court, because Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will likely not want to reveal that information to Democratic lawmakers.

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“Mnuchin is not going to release it voluntarily, even though the statute says that he must,” Napolitano continued.

If that’s the case, it could be months or even years before the issue of Trump’s tax returns is resolved.

President Trump, meanwhile, does not seem particularly concerned about the newest effort from the new crop of House Democrats. When asked about whether or not he would comply with the request, he said that “until such time as I’m not under audit I would not be inclined to do that.”

Source: Fox News Politics

In a tweet Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., suggested that House Democrats won’t be taking no for an answer in seeking access to President Trump’s tax returns.

The freshman congresswoman boiled her view of the situation down to the following mock conversation between Congress and the president:

“Congress: ‘We’re going to need a copy of the President’s tax returns from 2013-2018.’

“45: ‘No, I’m ‘under audit.’

“Congress: ‘We didn’t ask you.’ “

JASON CHAFFETZ: TRUMP’S TAX RETURNS AND WHY DEMOCRATS ARE OBSESSED WITH THEM

After Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his Russia investigation found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, some Democrats have been continuing efforts to investigate the president’s business dealings and other actions.

Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet referred to the House Ways and Means Committee’s request to the IRS for six years of the president’s tax records.

HOUSE DEMS RAMP UP EFFORTS TO GET TRUMP’S TAX RETURNS, WILL ‘TAKE ALL NECESSARY STEPS’

During the election, Trump broke the long-standing tradition of presidential candidates releasing their tax returns, saying they were under audit. He has continued to dodge the issue as president.

Congressional Republicans claim with their IRS request Democrats have “weaponized” the tax law.

The president recently took note of the impact Ocasio-Cortez has made on the Democratic Party since taking office in January.

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“The Green New Deal, done by a young bartender, 29 years old,” Trump told a crowd of House Republicans at a dinner in Washington on Tuesday, referring to Ocasio-Cortez and her package of proposals for U.S. efforts to combat climate change. “A young bartender, wonderful young woman.”

The president then claimed that longtime Democrats had become “petrified of her.”

Source: Fox News Politics

Living in New York is about to get more expensive and more difficult for many.

Fox Business’ Charles Payne says New York politicians are desperate for money and looking for it any which way they can after passing a progressive budget Sunday.

“Well I mean you know they’re spending a lot of money and they need to find it any way they can and look under every pillow cushion they could find,” Payne said on “America’s Newsroom” Monday.

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The Democrat-controlled New York Legislature Sunday passed a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags and planned to approve tolls for driving into the busiest sections of Manhattan starting in 2021 as part of a $175.5 billion state budget agreement 

“You know I do find interesting, though, the idea that we’re going to tax people who drive into work in the city to fix the subway,” Payne said. “That’s progressive.”

The budget, worked out with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, includes other agreements that will include two other dedicated revenue sources for the subways: a “mansion tax” on Manhattan homes that sell for $25 million or higher, and an internet sales tax levied on retailers who sell merchandise online.

Payne was critical of the budget, saying it doesn’t really help New York grow.

“It’s another one of these big city tax plans that ultimately, I don’t see how it helps build the city right. It’s not pro-growth,” Payne said.  “It’s about where can we find money and in many instances where can we deter people from wanting to even come to the city.”

“This budget is probably the strongest progressive statement that we’ve made,” Cuomo said Sunday.  “If you have big problems, it calls for big solutions.”

The Manhattan tolls plan, known as congestion pricing, will be the first of its kind in the nation with the billions the tolls are expected to raise going toward fixing New York City’s mass transit system.

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Payne believes politicians have ran out creative ways to keep promises to their constituents.

“There’s no creative way for them to stay in office after making all the promises that they’ve made to get office in the first place,” Payne said. “To ever go back and say hey let’s do this in a smart way which will attract business which will attract a well-heeled people to live in our cities.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

After releasing 12 years of tax returns on his campaign website, Washington governor and 2020 presidential candidate Jay Inslee urged President Donald Trump to do the same.

Inslee became the latest Democratic presidential candidate to release his tax returns, making the announcement on “Fox & Friends” Friday. Inslee said he had released 12 years of his personal tax records on his campaign website and called on the president to “come clean with the American People.”

“He’s got to show what he’s been hiding,” Inslee said. “Americans deserve that truth.”

Trump broke with decades of tradition by not releasing his tax filings during his 2016 campaign. He argued he couldn’t release his taxes because he was under an audit by the Internal Revenue Service, but being under audit is no legal bar to a candidate from disclosing taxes.

After his “Fox & Friends” appearance, Inslee tweeted: “Just now, on @realDonaldTrump’s favorite show, @foxandfriends, I announced I’m releasing 12 years of tax returns, and called on him to finally be transparent with the American people.”

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Inslee announced his Democratic presidential bid earlier this month, which made him the first governor to enter an already-crowded field of senators and other hopefuls battling to challenge President Trump in 2020.

Tax returns paint a fuller picture of a presidential candidate’s financial situation, from income and revenues to the effective tax rate they pay to charitable donations and overseas holdings.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, became the first 2020 presidential candidate to unveil her 2018 returns when she disclosed the documents on Wednesday.

The 2020 hopeful urged her rivals to follow in her footsteps and make their returns public, as Democrats continue to slam Trump for not releasing his returns during his 2016 presidential run.

“Join me in calling on every presidential candidate to disclose their taxes. This is what transparency and accountability is all about,” Gillibrand said in a video.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has promised to release 10 years of his tax returns but hasn’t done so yet. He said he will make the returns public “soon.”

GILLIBRAND THE FIRST 2020 DEMOCRAT TO UNVEIL 2018 TAX RETURNS: SEE WHAT SHE MADE 

Another White House contender, Sen. Elizabeth Warren highlighted that she has released the past decade of her tax returns and like Gillibrand, has urged the other candidates to do the same.

The Massachusetts Democrat has yet to release her 2018 returns. Her campaign told Fox News she will, once she files her 2018 returns.

The tax filing season doesn’t end until April 15.

On “Fox & Friends” Friday, Inslee also made the case for climate change. It is a topic his campaign is focused on with the goal of building “a national movement to defeat climate change,” according to Inslee’s website.

“This is a can-do nation. We put a man on the moon, we defeated fascism and we can use our smarts to build a clean energy economy like we are doing right today and we are doing it all across America,” said Inslee. “We need an inspirational leader, not a pessimistic one in the White House. I think I am ready for that job. This country needs that spark of optimism.”

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Inslee made the case for climate change on Fox & Friends Friday, after Trump’s visit to Grand Rapids, MI the day before for a campaign rally where he said, “I love campaigning against the Green New Deal.”

“No more airplanes, no more cows, one car per family, one car, you are going to love that in Michigan,” Trump said at the rally.

The Green New Deal, championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., calls for the U.S. to shift away from fossil fuels such as oil and coal and replace them with renewable sources such as wind and solar power. It also calls for virtual elimination by 2030 of greenhouse gas emissions that have been tied to climate change.

Trump’s jabs came days after 42 Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., voted “present” on a non-binding resolution that would have begun debate on the Green New Deal. Not a single senator voted to break the filibuster, while 57 senators — including three Democrats and Sen. Angus King, I-Maine — voted “no.” In addition to Sanders, five Democratic presidential candidates who have previously backed the Green New Deal voted “present”: Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

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Democrats described the vote, orchestrated by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as a “sham vote” meant to avoid a genuine debate on the effects of climate change.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York disclosed her 2018 tax returns on Wednesday and Fox Business host Charles Payne said the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate benefited from President Donald Trump’s tax reform.

Gillibrand became the first 2020 presidential candidate to unveil her 2018 returns, which revealed how she fared following Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul. Gillibrand, who criticized Trump’s sweeping tax law in the past, reportedly got a significant tax cut.

Payne said what is “really interesting” is just what exactly the Democratic senator benefited from, calling it a “cautionary tale for Americans.”

“The alternative minimum tax,” he said. “She was able to write off $10,000 as she would have to pay on this tax,” Payne said on America’s Newsroom Thursday.

The alternative minimum tax (AMT) was designed to keep wealthy taxpayers from using loopholes to avoid paying taxes.

Payne talked about the history of the tax referencing an article which said about 154 families in America who paid no tax in the 1960s. “People lost their minds, how dare them not pay anything?” Payne said. The Fox Business host added the alternative minimum tax was created to get that money from the people who didn’t pay any taxes.

GILLIBRAND THE FIRST 2020 DEMOCRAT TO UNVEIL 2018 TAX RETURNS: SEE WHAT SHE MADE 

“Guess what? It was an index for inflation so the number was $200,000. Well, you can imagine decades later, millions and millions and millions of Americans getting slammed on AMT taxes because the initiative, really, was to take out the pitchforks and the torches and get those rich people not paying their fair share,” Payne said,

Gillibrand reported an adjusted gross income last year of just over $214,000, with nearly $168,000 coming from her Senate salary and most of the remainder from her book deal.

The senator paid $29,710 in federal taxes, for an effective tax rate of 13.6 percent.

The 2020 hopeful urged her rivals to follow in her footsteps and make their returns public, as Democrats continue to slam Trump for not releasing his returns during his 2016 presidential run.

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“Join me in calling on every presidential candidate to disclose their taxes. This is what transparency and accountability is all about,” Gillibrand said in a video.

Presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, has promised to release 10 years of his tax returns but hasn’t done so yet. He said he will make the returns public “soon.”

Another White House contender, Sen. Elizabeth Warren highlighted that she has released the past decade of her tax returns and like Gillibrand, has urged the other candidates to do the same.

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The Massachusetts Democrat has yet to release her 2018 returns. Her campaign told Fox News she will, once she files her 2018 returns.

The tax filing season doesn’t end until April 15.

Trump broke with decades of tradition by not releasing his tax filings during his 2016 Republican presidential campaign. Trump argued he couldn’t release his taxes because he was under an audit by the Internal Revenue Service, but being under audit is no legal bar to a candidate from disclosing taxes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Source: Fox News Politics

According to a Fox News Poll released Wednesday, voters’ top tax concern isn’t how much they pay. Instead, they are most concerned about the rich not paying enough (34 percent) and the way the government spends the money (28 percent).

About 1 in 10 say what bothers them most is the amount they pay (12 percent), too many people don’t have to pay at all (12 percent), and the complexity of the system (10 percent).

Compared to 2014, the last time the question was asked, there has been an increase in voters who are troubled that the rich aren’t paying enough (+6 points).  The shift in frustration comes mainly from self-identified liberals (+20) and voters under age 30 (+14 points).  However, it’s not limited to traditional left-leaning groups — voters ages 65 and over (+14), voters earning $50k and over (+11), and whites without a college degree (+9) are also increasingly bothered by the wealthy not pulling their weight.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE COMPLETE POLL RESULTS.

“One underappreciated aspect of the past two years is the Democrats have fought the president to a draw on taxes,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Democrat Chris Anderson. “While the Democrats managed to regain their edge on health care, they also reframed the tax debate in terms of fairness and breaks for the wealthy, which has prevented President Trump and the GOP from gaining any substantial political benefit from their tax reform.”

In December 2017, President Trump marked a campaign promise off his list as the Republican-led Congress passed a sweeping tax reform bill.  At that time, former House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “The message to the hardworking taxpayers of America is:  Your tax relief is on its way.  That is what’s happening here.  The message to the families in America who’ve been struggling, paycheck and paycheck — your tax rates are going down and your paychecks are going up.”

Voters don’t entirely share Ryan’s view. Last month, the Fox News Poll found voters split over the new tax law:  34 percent favorable vs. 36 percent unfavorable.  Thirty percent were unable to rate it.

In addition, the new poll finds 55 percent of voters think their taxes are “too high,” and that’s about where that number has stood since the Fox News Poll first asked the question 15 years ago (2004).

However, while the overall numbers held steady, a role reversal recently took place in the background.

Consider this:  The number of Democrats who say their taxes are too high is 59 percent.  It was 49 percent in 2018 and 45 percent in 2017.  That’s a 14-point increase since Trump won.

An even bigger swing happened among Republicans — in the opposite direction. Sixty-eight percent said their taxes were too high in 2017 and 59 percent in 2018.  Now, 50 percent feel that way. That’s an 18-point drop since their candidate won, and a 9-point decrease since passage of the GOP tax reform bill.

“No one ever claimed that partisans are logically consistent,” says Shaw. “With a Republican president, Republican voters are less likely to think their tax burden is unfair. Meanwhile, with Trump in the White House Democrats think taxes are too high — but they also support substantial increases in federal spending.”

Overall, 37 percent say their tax bill is “about right.”  Three percent think they pay too little.

Trump’s job performance on taxes has taken a hit since last year.  In March 2018, more voters approved than disapproved of him on taxes by 2 points (48-46 percent). Today, he is underwater by 6 (42-48 percent).  Drops in approval among independents (-12 points) and Democrats (-8) account for that downward shift.

“Over a year since Trump signed his tax cuts into law, voters just aren’t feeling it,” says Anderson.  “His job approval for handling taxes is down, while more people say their taxes are too high and the rich aren’t paying their fair share.”

Trump receives his only net positive job rating on the economy (50 percent approve vs. 42 percent disapprove).  He gets a net -2 on North Korea (42-44 percent), a -13 on immigration (41-54 percent) and -15 on health care (37-52 percent).

Trump broke with decades-long precedence when he declined to release his tax returns during the 2016 presidential campaign.  He continues to decline to make them public.

But voters want transparency. Three-quarters overall (74 percent) and over half of Republicans (54 percent) believe that, in general, “the president of the United States” should be required to release his or her tax returns.

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Indeed, roughly equivalent numbers want that same transparency from “congressional leaders like the speaker of the house and senate majority leader” (76 percent) and “presidential candidates” (72 percent).

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand became the first presidential candidate to release her 2018 tax returns Wednesday challenging her rivals for the 2020 Democratic nomination to do the same.  With the exception of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren who, barring 2018, has released a decade worth of tax returns, none of the other candidates have released their own.

The Democratic-led House passed a comprehensive proposal March 8 that would require the disclosure of presidential tax returns.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,002 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) (formerly named Anderson Robbins Research) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from March 17-20, 2019.  The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.

Source: Fox News Politics

New York City is expensive. From parking to hotels to Broadway tickets, the city has a way of leaving the wallet lighter for any visitor. But it’s poised to get even pricier if a controversial new “congestion” fee comes to fruition.

With Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s backing, the proposed charge would be imposed at all Manhattan points of entry below 60th Street. While the price has not been set in stone, a report commissioned by Cuomo’s office recommends cars entering Manhattan during peak hours be charged $11.52, and trucks be charged $25.34 – on top of any bridge tolls.

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The hope is that the fees eventually would help ease traffic, while sending needed funds toward public transportation, notably the city’s aging subway system.

But, on the heels of New York’s clash with Amazon that ended with the tech giant scrapping plans for a new headquarters there, the proposal is creating new economic concerns and political pushback.

Democratic state Sen. Joseph Addabbo, who represents parts of Queens and Brooklyn, told Fox News that “businesses are very concerned” about the higher costs of entering Manhattan.

“Being a business person in New York City is not easy,” he said. “… Congestion pricing is hitting them over the head.”

Cuomo, in his State of the State address last month, said the tax would raise about $15 billion by 2024. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio supports the legislation but is calling for hardship exemptions for those traveling to Manhattan for medical care – as well as upstate farmers who sell produce in Manhattan.

Phase one, meanwhile, already has been enacted as New Yorkers riding below 96th Street started seeing increased prices in their taxis, Ubers and other rides for hire since Feb. 1: $2.50 for yellow cabs; $2.75 for Uber, Lyft and Juno; and 75 cents for ridesharing cars. Cuomo reportedly says the Metropolitan Transportation Authority can gain $1 million a day from the new surcharges.

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But in a statement to Fox News, the Independent Drivers Guild representing over 70,000 app-based drivers blasted what it called a “sham” tax that “unjustly singles out low income for-hire drivers and their already highly-taxed riders.” The organization said the system “disproportionately hurts women, who more often opt for Uber or Lyft trips over public transit for safety reasons, especially at night.”

What comes next is not yet clear. Phase one only went into effect this month after a long legal battle. Phase two, which would extend to all drivers, would have to clear the state legislature – but could be a tough sell since the tax would affect any constituents who travel to the city.

New York City Councilman Barry Grodenchik, a Democrat representing part of Queens, worried about the impact to his constituents, many of whom rely on cars to get into Manhattan.

Leading opponent Richard Brodsky, a former Democratic assemblyman, told The New York Times last year, “This has always been a policy nostrum of the elites, sort of a big lab test in which the lab rats — the regular people — wanted no part of it.”

Supporters counter that the plan can work, and is sorely needed.

A spokesman for New York state Democratic Sen. Liz Kruger, who represents Manhattan’s east side and supports the tax, told Fox News the senator remains optimistic and “the devil is in the details.” Kruger thinks there is “a model that can be found that is equitable to all New Yorkers,” the spokesman said.

Democratic state Sen. Kevin Thomas, of Long Island, stressed the need to fund infrastructure repairs. “Much of my district commutes by train to the city, and improvements are desperately needed to the aging rail line,” he said, urging that most of the money go toward fixing the Long Island Railroad.

In Cuomo’s State of the State address, he said, “The status quo has got to go. Riders are fed up, the situation only gets worse. It’s like the old commercial: you can pay me now or you can pay me later. The system is just continuing to deteriorate and if we don’t invest now we’re going to pay more later and suffer in the meantime. … Let’s do it this year.”

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Congestion pricing is not new. London has had an £11.50 surcharge since 2003, during working business hours. Los Angeles, too, is looking at a rush-hour toll system, with support from Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Source: Fox News Politics


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