Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen is cautiously backing a sweeping House Republican plan to overhaul the nation’s tax laws.
Rolled out Wednesday, the proposal would end a number of popular tax breaks to help pay for lower overall tax rates.
Paulsen is Minnesota’s lone member of Congress on the Ways and Means Committee, the Republican-led House of Representatives’ tax-writing panel.
“No plan is perfect. But, it’s time to end the status quo and fix a broken tax code … that is too costly, too complex, and takes too much time to comply with,” Paulsen said in a statement. “We need a tax code that promotes savings, investment, achievement, innovation, and hard work. This draft proposal provides real solutions to create a healthy economy.”
Ways and Means Committee chair Dave Camp’s plan would drop the top income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 25 percent and would reduce the number of income tax brackets from seven to two.
The plan would eliminate or reduce popular tax breaks for medical expenses, moving expenses, child care and energy-efficient homes, along with slashing the mortgage interest deduction for homes worth a half-million dollars or more.
In exchange, the plan would increase the child tax credit would and consolidate a number of tax breaks for education expenses.
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison panned the plan, arguing that it does little to address the nation’s income inequality.
Ellison said tax reform should “stop government spending that only benefits the wealthy and increase spending that supports working families, the poor and seniors.”
The proposal “hurts working people and their families, and expands loopholes that big companies already use to avoid paying taxes. It puts a greater burden on individual taxpayers and helps profitable corporations pay even less back to the country that made their profits possible,” Ellison said in a statement.
The issue is likely to stall in Congress in this midterm election year.
Democratic U.S. Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison are hosting a women’s economic security forum at the State Capitol today.
The lawmakers will lead a panel discussion on workplace issues for women, including paid family leave, health care, child care, retirement security and equal pay.
Among the guests planning to join Ellison and McCollum are: State House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul; Senate President Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul; Terry Williams, vice president, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota; Lisa Stratton, founder of Gender Justice, a non-profit dedicated to eliminating gender barriers in employment; Patricia Brady, executive director of Workforce Solutions, which runs Ramsey County jobs programs; and Deb Fitzpatrick, director of the Center on Women and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison will be at the White House today when President Obama signs an executive order increasing the minimum wage for federal contractors.
The Minnesota Democrat led the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ effort to push Obama to sign the order.
Ellison spearheaded a letter writing campaign to the president, urging him to circumvent Congress on the issue, to “provide labor stability for the low-wage workers on whom these federal agencies rely to fulfill their mission.” Ellison personally handled one of those letters to the president.
Obama announced plans for the executive order during his State of the Union address. He has cast the move as a way to spur Congress to increase the hourly minimum wage for all workers from $7.25 to $10.10, beginning in January 2015.
The rule will boost wages for a few hundred thousand workers, a small percentage of the more than 2 million federal contractors, White House officials said.
The event is set to begin at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time.
Newly available campaign finance reports highlight the fundraising disparity in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race.
According to documents on the Federal Election Commission's website on Monday, Republican candidate Julianne Ortman raised $234,000 so far for her bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken and Republican candidate Jim Abeler raised $87,000.
Franken has raised more than $12.4 million for his re-election campaign and had nearly $5 million cash on hand. Republican candidate Mike McFadden raised $2.2 million and had $1.7 million left in the bank at the start of the year. Republican candidate Chris Dahlberg raised far less.
Franken, McFadden and Dahlberg released the summary information from their reports by January 31, back when reports were due to be filed federally.
At that time, neither Ortman or Abeler released details of their fundraising reports. Because Senate candidates do not file their reports electronically, it takes a while for them to be uploaded to the FEC website. Ortman said last week that she had "nearly a quarter of a million dollars in 2013."
House candidates file their reports electronically so their fundraising information is available online when the reports are filed.
See all the fundraising information released by Minnesota's federal candidates for office below.
(scroll to see the numbers)
Friday is Federal Election Commission deadline day when federal candidates and groups must file their fundraising figures for 2013.
Follow along as we update our chart below with the cash hauls reported the the campaign finance agency.
Note: You may need to scroll a bit to see all the numbers.