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Biden Administration Details Tax Proposals to Fund Infrastructure Package

  • April 9, 2021

The White House - roses

The Biden administration this week released additional details on its proposals to raise corporate taxes to pay for its massive $2.3 trillion economic growth and infrastructure proposal.

Infrastructure & Taxes

  • President Biden, anticipating Congress’ return next week to begin deliberations on his proposal, stated, “Debate is welcome. Compromise is inevitable. Changes are certain. Inaction simply is not an option.” (White House remarks, April 7)

  • The administration aims to raise $2.5 trillion to pay for its sprawling “American Jobs Plan” by increasing the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent, imposing a strict new minimum tax on global profits, and eliminating incentives to shift profits overseas. (New York Times, April 7)

  • The proposed taxes to fund the infrastructure investments were detailed this week in a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen – “A Better Corporate Tax for America” – and in Treasury’s report, “The Made in American Tax Plan.”

  • According to an April 8 Wall Street Journal report, the infrastructure proposal includes at least $5 billion for an affordable-housing grant program that would encourage local jurisdictions to relax zoning rules and restrictions on new construction.  The new competitive grants for cities and localities would seek to eliminate exclusionary zoning policies such as minimum lot sizes, mandatory parking requirements and density restrictions.

  • The Journal article quotes a recent Urban Institute brief: “There are so many decisions made at the local level that can impede the development of affordable housing that federal policy makers should push communities to reorganize their approach to development from the ground up.”

  • The Roundtable has long encouraged federal agencies to leverage economic development and infrastructure funds to discourage exclusionary zoning tactics. Bills such as the Yes in My Backyard Act  and the Build More Housing Near Mass Transit Act would require state and local governments to plan for and encourage high-density and multifamily development when they seek grants from US-HUD and US-DOT. (Roundtable Weekly, March 6, 2020 and February 28, 2020)

What’s Next:

U.S. Capitol with flag

  • Democrats are weighing whether to advance the Biden infrastructure plan under the same “reconciliation” budget process that was used to pass the March $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package by a simple majority vote – thereby bypassing the 60-vote requirement typically needed to advance most legislation in the 50-50 Senate.

  • Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough this week issued an opinion that may allow Democrats to pass additional, large-scale bills with no Republican support before the midterm elections. The sparse April 5 ruling, according to a Democratic spokesperson, has “some parameters [that] still need to be worked out.” The ruling does not specify the types of reconciliation bills that could be considered or how many times the maneuver would be allowed. (Politico, April 7 and CQ News, April 8)

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) yesterday said, “If [Democrats] have to go to reconciliation, that’s a lever, but I hope it’s not something that we need to do.” (Roll Call, April 8)

  • Pelosi added that the House could pass the infrastructure package by the July 4 recess, followed by the Senate before the August recess. (Bloomberg, April 8)

Pelosi also said she expects the White House in the coming months to introduce a separate, multi-trillion “American Families Plan” focused on expanded family support benefits, including child care and health measures. That plan could be pared with significant changes to individual taxes, including capital gains.

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