Labor Shortage Draws Attention of U.S. Lawmakers

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/labor-shortage-draws-attention-of-u-s-lawmakers-11622712602

Excerpt:

Congressional lawmakers from both parties are considering incentives such as providing federal funding to pay for hiring bonuses for workers and expanded tax credits for employers. A handful of states are moving to implement such programs on their own, without waiting for Washington.

Some economists, Republican lawmakers and business owners say enhanced federal unemployment benefits are contributing to the labor shortage, because many workers receive more in government aid than they would get on the job. Those benefits — $300 a week on top of regular state payments — are due to expire after Labor Day.

Other economists say the payments have provided a boost to many lower-income families, who have disproportionately lost jobs in the coronavirus pandemic, while in turn pushing money back into the broader economy.

Author(s): Kate Davidson

Publication Date: 3 June 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Biden Softens Tax Plan Aimed at Profitable Companies That Pay Little

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-softens-tax-proposal-aimed-at-profitable-companies-that-pay-little-11617809422?mod=djemwhatsnews

Excerpt:

A 15% minimum tax on large, profitable corporations that is part of President Biden’s infrastructure proposal would affect far fewer companies than the version he campaigned on, according to details the Treasury Department released Wednesday.

The tax — aimed at companies that report large profits to investors but low tax payments — would apply only to companies with income exceeding $2 billion, up from the $100 million threshold that Mr. Biden pushed during the campaign.

The Biden plan would now also let companies subject to the tax get the benefit of tax credits for research, renewable energy and low-income housing, a recognition that the campaign-trail version could have undercut the president’s preference to encourage companies to invest in those areas.

The result is that just 180 companies would meet the income threshold and just 45 would pay the tax, according to administration estimates that assume the rest of the administration’s plan gets implemented. Nearly 1,100 U.S.-listed companies would meet the $100 million threshold, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Many of them would still face sharply higher tax bills from the rest of the Biden proposals, which raise rates on domestic and foreign income.

Author(s): Richard Rubin, Kate Davidson

Publication Date: 7 April 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Covid-19’s Hit to State and Local Revenues Is Smaller Than Many Feared

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/covid-19s-hit-to-state-and-local-revenues-is-smaller-than-many-feared-11612706030

Excerpt:

Immediately after the coronavirus outbreak last March, states slashed revenue projections by an average of about 8%, with some expecting shortfalls as high as 20%. Those projections were largely based on experiences during the 2007-09 recession.

In the end, state revenues fell 1.6% in fiscal year 2020 and were 3.4% lower than projected before the pandemic, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers. While states expect revenues to decline 4.4% in fiscal 2021, 18 states are seeing revenues come in above forecast.

Author(s): Kate Davidson

Publication Date: 7 February 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal