Another Shutdown Countdown

Looking to keep the federal government running into January. With the government due to shut down at midnight Friday absent congressional action, House Democrats are drafting a bill to keep the doors open until January. The plan would give lawmakers some space to deal with the looming debt limit and the fate of Build Back Better. But it may also signal the Democrats fear the BBB debate may carry over into 2022. 

About the debt limit. There’s no agreement between Senate Democrats and Republicans on how to increase the debt limit before the deadline, which is likely to come sometime after Dec. 15. Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell has talked with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer about an off-ramp. But some Senate Republicans say the deadline isn’t set in stone. Could Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen take even more “extraordinary measures” to keep the government funded into next year? 

Illinois tax revenues up thanks to sales and use tax receipts. Comparing last January through September to the same period in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, those receipts have climbed 17 percent. The gain may be due in large part to the growth in online purchases and the state’s requirement that online retailers collect sales tax. 

Shoppers in Roanoke, Virginia, gear up for a New Year plastic bag tax. Voters approved a 5-cent plastic bag tax earlier this year that goes into effect on January 1. The tax applies to disposable plastic bags provided by 130 local grocery stores, convenience stores, and drug stores. Roanoke officials expect the retailers to pass the cost onto customers. Participating  stores will have to remit 3 cents for each bag to the Virginia Department of Taxation but can keep the rest to offset collection costs. 

Will Iceland make itself an even cooler place to produce movies? Currently the nation provides a 25 percent tax rebate on qualifying expenses associated with film production. It has promised to raise the subsidy to 30 or 35 percent. 

Russia levies a new tax on crude steel production. Seeking higher revenues, the government will impose an excise tax of 2.7 percent on the monthly average export price of crude steel that exceeds $300 per metric ton. Some companies in the machinery industry will be exempt from the tax. 

For the latest tax news, subscribe to the Tax Policy Center’s Daily Deduction. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox weekdays at 8:00 am (Mondays only when Congress is in recess). We welcome tips on new research or other news. Email Renu Zaretsky at [email protected].