TAXES

Gov. Charlie Baker is riding high going into the 2018 election cycle. He remains the country’s most popular governor and leads his Democratic challengers by enormous margins.

But with a record of favoring tax cuts in the past, Baker faces complicated political questions from further down the ballot.

The House has narrowly approved a $1.4 trillion tax overhaul, clearing the first major hurdle in Republican attempts to cut taxes and rewrite the tax code.

The vote was almost along party lines, with no Democrats voting in support of the bill and some GOP defections over provisions in the measure that would eliminate important tax deductions taken by constituents in some high tax states.

Massachusetts voters appear to want to significantly change the way the state’s tax burden is shared.

A new WBUR poll (topline resultscrosstabs) finds three proposed 2018 statewide ballot initiatives are enjoying overwhelming support from Massachusetts voters. The live telephone poll was conducted by the MassINC Polling Group for WBUR.

Updated 5:56 p.m. ET

Senate Republicans now plan to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate as part of a tax overhaul bill.

Several Senate Republicans said Tuesday that including the repeal in tax legislation, currently making its way through a key Senate committee, would allow them to further reduce tax rates for individuals without adding more to the deficit.

Congressman RIchie Neal speaks during a meeting of the House Ways and Means Committee, on Nov. 9, 2017.
Screen-shot / C-SPAN

By a party-line vote, the House Ways and Means Committee Thursday passed a Republican tax overhaul, sending it to the full House.

Northern New Jersey is one of the highest-taxed places in the country. So a tax cut sounds great to a lot of people there. But the House Republican plan being debated this week may actually raise the taxes of many people in the region.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

The Senate Finance Committee unveiled its version of a sweeping overhaul of the federal tax code on Thursday, as the House Ways and Means Committee was preparing to pass its own bill. The differing proposals forecast clashes between the two chambers that will make it difficult for Congress to enact the legislation by the end of the year as promised.

The two bills share a name, The Tax Cut and Jobs Act, but diverge on tax policy that affects both the business and individual sides of the tax code.

“Privilege” remains a buzzword on today’s campuses.

But for Julia Vann, studying one recent evening in the Amherst College library, it isn’t something theoretical.

The guilt, she says, started as soon as she arrived at school.

“Knowing that I had as much food as I wanted, and I could turn up the heat as high as I wanted — just like, little things that really shocked me about my day-to-day life.“

Were the GOP tax bill to pass as is, taxpayers and their spouses would get a $300 credit per year, as would families for nonchild dependents — for five years.

And it would allow businesses to immediately deduct the costs of business investments from their taxable income, a practice called "full expensing" — likewise, for five years.

And then it would end the estate tax, starting in six years.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.
State House News Service

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker returns to Beacon Hill from a vacation Monday, and lawmakers begin a countdown to the last day of their formal sessions in 2017. 

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