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Catherine Treadwell, J.D., Director of Government Relations
|Estate Tax Exception at Risk
Prior to the signing of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) , the estate tax was applied at a 40% rate to estates valued at $5.59 million or more per an individual or $11.18 million per a married couple. The TCJA changed this by changing the exception to $11.18 million per an individual and $22.4 million per a married couple. This means that an estate valued under $11.18 million for an individual and $22.4 million per a married couple, will not be taxed by the estate tax.
However, these changes are not permanent and will expire in 2025. In fact, there are already policy proposals that are trying to ensure the TCJA estate tax changes will not get renewed. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VA), recently proposed changing the estate tax rate to 77% on estates valued more than $1 billion. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), mentioned in her kick off for her 2020 Presidential Campaign, that she would push for the estate tax to go back to the way it was during the George W. Bush Administration. When Bush entered the White House, the estate tax exclusion amount was $675,000 for an individual, and the maximum estate tax rate 55%.
The Death Tax Repeal Act of 2019 was introduced in the Senate on January 23, 2019. This bill would repeal the estate tax permanently. ASA supports this legislation and recently signed onto the Family Business Coalition letter in support of the Death Tax Repeal Act. The letter revolved around key points: repealing the death tax would spur job creation and grow the economy, the death tax contributes a very small portion of federal revenues, a super-majority of likely voters support eliminating the death tax, and the death tax is unfair.
In the meantime, there are still legal ways to limit the tax liability for your heirs. The annual exclusion for gifts, which for 2018 was $15,000 per a person or $30, 000 per a married couple, is still in play. This exception allows you to give $15,000 per person or $30, 000 if you are married to as many people as you would like, which over time can greatly reduce your taxable estate.
ASA Advocacy is dedicated to being your voice on The Hill and in D.C. We want to hear what issues are affecting you and your company. Please contact Catherine Treadwell, J.D., at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Deadline to Submit OSHA Form 300A Data is March 2:
OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses) for calendar year 2018 is due March 2, 2019. OSHA’s data collection is currently underway. For more information on current requirements and to submit your company’s data, click here.
- The U.S. Supreme Court said it will consider a Clean Water Act case over whether sewage plants can place wastewater into the ground if the groundwater flows into another body of water. Hawaii appealed the case after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled with environmentalists that wastewater from Maui was improperly entering the Pacific Ocean from its underground disposal. (Los Angeles Times)
- Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler declined a proposal presented by EPA staff in December that would have reduced biofuel blending requirements from the current 15 billion gallons to as little as 14.3 billion gallons through 2022, as the oil industry has suggested, according to two sources. One of the sources said that Wheeler felt the 14.3 billion gallons figure was too low and would anger lawmakers from top corn-producing states. (Reuters)
- Over 50 million gallons of contaminated wastewater is released daily from 43 U.S. mining sites that the federal government monitors, about 20 million gallons of which are untreated, according to a news outlet's assessment. Officials have not finished basic risk analyses and other tests for about 80 percent of abandoned mining areas on federal land, the report said. (The Associated Press)
- BP PLC's annual energy outlook analyzed a scenario in which wind, solar and other renewable resources, along with natural gas, would constitute 85 percent of global energy growth up to 2040, which BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley said shows "how the dual challenge of more energy with fewer emissions is framing the future."
- The United States is asking China to keep the value of the yuan stable, a move designed to neutralize attempts by Beijing to devalue its currency in response to U.S. tariffs, according to people familiar with the trade negotiations between the two countries. Both sides have a tentative agreement to include a promise of a stable yuan in a draft of a "Memorandum of Understanding" that would form the basis of a deal to be finalized by President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, several people involved in and briefed on the discussions said. (Bloomberg)
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, another 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, is expected to unveiled a universal child care plan funded by her previously proposed wealth tax. The proposal would limit child care expenses for American families to 7 percent of income regardless of the number of children in care and would make child care free for families with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty level, according to a person familiar with the plan. (Bloomberg)
- U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and 10 Senate Democrats sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta asking for information on the Trump Administration’s proposed rulemaking to create new “industry-recognized apprenticeship programs” that run parallel to the current registered apprenticeships, but with lower quality standards and bypassing the approval of the Department of Labor. The text of the full letter can be found here.
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he has ruled out running for Senate in his home state of Kansas. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had pushed the former congressman to jump into the open-seat race to replace retiring Sen. Pat Roberts. (NBC News)
- Alabama Rep. Bradley Byrne said he'll seek the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones next year. The third-term congressman may not be alone in the race for his party's nod to take on 2020's most vulnerable Democrat: Alabama state Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and Alabama Auditor Jim Zeigler are also weighing campaigns. (AL.com)
- The United States is projected to spend $5.96 trillion on health care by 2027, a 19.4 percent share of gross domestic product, according to a new report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Office of the Actuary. Spending is estimated to grow at an average rate of 5.5 percent per year from 2018 to 2027, fueled primarily by demographic and economic changes as Americans grow older and approach the Medicare age of eligibility, according to the report. (Morning Consult)
- The House and Senate are in session.
- Impact of Sanctions on Venezuela – Catherine Treadwell, ASA Director of Government Affairs will be at the White House meeting with White House staff today (Monday, 2/25) to discuss potential negative impacts recent sanctions on Venezuela are having on ASA members serving the PVF marketplace. An email was sent to all ASA PVF members last Friday advising of the potential impact of the sanctions and asking our members to contact ASA if they are directly impacted. Stay tuned for more information.
- The House Committee on Energy and Commerce will have a hearing on Clean Energy Infrastructure and the workforce to build it. The hearing will be held Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time. You can livestream it here.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the House will vote Tuesday on the resolution to reject Trump's emergency declaration this week. It is expected to face little resistance in the House, while its fate is less certain in the Republican-controlled Senate, which would have to vote on the measure within 18 days.
| || NEWS FROM STATE AND LOCAL |
NY - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced as part of his Executive Budget a proposal that would protect New Yorkers from unknown exposure to toxic chemicals. The "Consumer Right to Know Act" would authorize the Department of Environmental Conservation, in consultation with the Department of Health and the Department of State, to develop regulations establishing on-package labeling requirements for designated products indicating the presence of potentially hazardous chemicals, including carcinogens.
NV AB 163: Revises provisions governing water conservation. Key updates include requirements for water leakage audits and requiring EPA WaterSense certified products in new residential, commercial or industrial facility after January 1 2020.
CA AB 1143: expand the initiative to require gas corporations to advance the state’s market for low-emission space and water heating equipment for all new and existing buildings, rather than only residential buildings, and to require gas corporations to do so additionally through the use of renewable gaseous fuels.
UT HB 360: enacts provisions related to monitoring and mitigating lead in drinking water in schools and child care centers.
IA HF 404: a bill for an act relating to lead testing in child care facilities and schools.
NY A 5786: Requires persons engaged in the installation, improvement, repair and maintenance of medical gas piping or the instruction thereof to be licensed
CT HB 7144: an act concerning small hot water heaters, certain certification by state agencies and the Connecticut airport authority, communications with the building inspector and state fire marshal and revisions to other statutes related to buildings and fire safety.
VT H 302: An act relating to testing and remediation of lead in drinking water of schools
KY HB 487: An act relating to taxation and the recapturing of LIFO benefits.
CT HB 7151: An act related to requiring certain products to be certified to energy or water efficiency standards including: faucets (non-metering), showerheads, urinals and water closets, and water coolers.
MN SF 1588: a revision to existing bill that would provide authorization for a school district to provide representatives of organizations promoting careers in high-wage, high-demand occupations in the skilled trades the same access to secondary school students as the district provides to institutions of higher education.
The New York Times
The debate unfolded over a period of days, on multiple televised stages in different states. There were no direct clashes between the candidates, no traces of personal animus — but a debate it was, the first vivid disputation over policy in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.
The subject, perhaps predictably, was health care. At issue was just how drastically to transform the American system, and how comprehensive the role of government should be.
EPA acting administrator Andrew Wheeler rejected a proposal from his staff that would have reduced the ambition of the nation’s biofuel policy over the next three years, arguing the targeted range it included for annual ethanol consumption was too low, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
The deal represents a major endorsement of Rivian’s electric vehicle technology by the world’s largest online retailer. Amazon is hoping Rivian will assist it in its development of delivery vehicles that will bolster its logistics network, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing the confidential strategy.
Small Business Roundtable
We live in an increasingly data-driven world. Collecting and analyzing data influences everything in our society, from the ads we see on TV to the products our favorite brands sell. However, despite data being at the core of the 21st century economy and the U.S. leading the world in technology and innovation, we lack a clear national regulatory framework for protecting data and consumer privacy.
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