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Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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State Budget Problems Cause Economic Hardship

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has once again released an analysis of state government budget health, and the news continues to deteriorate. In their lastest analysis, they rank all 50 states according to changes in three main economic indicators - employment, poverty, and housing foreclosures. The report finds:

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Fiscal Policy Agenda Returns to Washington

The Fiscal Policy Team and Congress both return to action this week with a number of fiscal policy issues to be tackled during the next five weeks. Below is a rundown of issues coming up soon, with most of the action happening in the Senate:
  • Debate continues between Senate Democrats and Republicans over whether to offset the cost of a popular package of tax breaks called the "extenders." The latest development is that Senate Republicans are now challenging Democrats to offset the cost of the package with spending cuts rather than other tax increases. BNA ($)

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BudgetBlog on Hiatus for Holiday: Happy Fourth Everyone!

Happy Fourth of July! Just wanted to let our loyal BudgetBlog readers know we're going on a short hiatus next week. With Congress heading out of town for a short summer recess and the upcoming Fourth of July holiday next week, the Fiscal Policy team is heading out of town in order to escape the heat for some well-deserved vacation. This means, though, that the BudgetBlog will be dormant next week. But don't despair. Craig and I will return in one short week on July 7 to continue to bring you all the news, gossip, information, and analysis on federal fiscal policy you've come to expect.

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House Passes UI Extension by a Two-Thirds Margin

What a Difference a Day Makes Yesterday's suspension vote in the House to extend unemployment insurance benefits by at least 13 weeks fell short of the required a two-thirds supermajority by a mere three votes -- perhaps attributable to the eleven members who did not vote. This afternoon, the House voted again on the proposal as a stand-alone bill and, guess what? It passed precisely by a two-thirds, i.e., veto-proof, margin. As Speaker Pelosi mentioned in a statement following today's vote, the bill does not only help the nation's unemployed workers, but the rest of us:

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The Solution to Growing Unemployment: Free Trade Deals?

Today, the Bush Administration issued a veto threat against H.R. 5794, the Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 2008. Please read the following and see if you can spot the non sequitur:

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Military Wages

Congress has sent the president a bill that would, in addition to forcing free-riding federal contractors to pay payroll taxes, "allow soldiers receiving combat pay to have their money counted as income for the purposes of the Earned Income Tax Credit." (BNA email) I realize that we blow a lot of cash on the military, but does it strike anyone as odd that some Americans getting shot at in a combat zone in service of their country are paid so little that they qualify for EITC?

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Workers See Fewer Hours, More Weeks Unemployed

As Dana noted in this morning's daily report, the unemployment numbers released this morning were bad enough to put unemployment insurance (UI) benefits extension back in play for the domestic spending section of the FY 08-09 war supp. But the past couple of weeks have seen the release of a couple of other data points that should increase concern among lawmakers that the U.S. labor force has come into sour times.

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Five Years of Bush Tax Cuts, Another Five Years Increasing Inequality

When the Treasury Department released a stack of propaganda analyses yesterday on the 2001-2003 Bush tax cuts, they also promulgated a press release to accompany their reports. While their message was nothing more than years-old, warmed over talking points, it has provided yet another opportunity to talk about the continual deepening of income inequality in the United States.

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Unions Boost Wages of Lowest-Income Workers the Most

Shawn Fremstad posted yesterday on a new paper released this month by John Schmitt over at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. The paper studies the impact unions have on income and has some interesting findings:

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TPC Testimony Before Senate Finance Committee

The Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution, has published two tesitmonies from a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing on overhaul of the U.S. tax code: A Blueprint for Tax Reform and Health Reform Leonard Burman

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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