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National Govt & Politics
With late changes, House Republicans ready to unveil tax reform bill
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With late changes, House Republicans ready to unveil tax reform bill

With late changes, House Republicans ready to unveil tax reform bill
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

With late changes, House Republicans ready to unveil tax reform bill

Under pressure from President Donald Trump to get moving on major tax reform legislation, Republicans in the U.S. House prepared to finally reveal the details of the bill on Thursday, as they pushed reluctant GOP lawmakers to sign off on the plan, struggling with the size and cost of the measure, and going back and forth on whether to make a centerpiece reduction in corporate taxes into a temporary - not a permanent - tax cut.

The big flash point through the day on Wednesday continued to be a GOP plan to limit the ability of taxpayers to deduct state and local taxes, as well as property taxes on their federal returns, as it faced strong opposition from Republicans who represent more urban districts.

"It's a geographical redistribution of wealth that picks winners and losers," argued Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who with other members from New York and New Jersey were in talks with key Republicans and Trump Administration officials, in search of a last minute deal.

"It's important that whatever gets proposed is not on the back of my home state," Zeldin told reporters.

There was also a last minute push involving health care, echoing the failed effort by the GOP to overhaul major parts of the Obama health law - as Republicans were talking about maybe adding a provision related to the individual mandate.

Because of the rules of budget reconciliation - which allow the GOP to avoid a filibuster in the Senate - you can't really repeal the individual mandate, but you could reduce the penalty for not buying health insurance to zero as a way to get around the Obama health law.

"We should repeal individual mandate - unfair IRS fines on 6 million people - and fund big, bold tax cuts," said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Twitter, noting an earlier tweet from the President suggesting the same type of late add to the tax bill.

Here are some of the other details to look for on Thursday.

+ How many of the provisions are permanent, and how many are temporary? Dealing with complicated rules under the budget reconciliation process - just like with health care - it was always assumed that some of the GOP tax reform plan would be temporary, just like the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts were under President George W. Bush, as those were phased out after ten years. The same thing was being considered with one of the biggest pieces of the plan, a cut in corporate taxes. Back in June, House Speaker Paul Ryan scoffed at the idea of temporary tax cuts, saying those don't spur economic growth. "Every expert agrees that temporary reforms will only have a negligible impact on wages and economic growth," the Speaker said in a speech to the National Association of Manufacturers. But, that may be where the GOP is heading with this tax reform bill.  It will be interesting to see what's permanent, and what is not.

+ What will be the exact changes on tax brackets? For most Americans, this will be the most important detail to come out of the GOP plan on Thursday. What tax bracket would I be in? How much different than the current system? Under current law, there are tax brackets of 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35% and 39.6% - originally, the GOP wanted only three income tax brackets, but there may be a fourth for the highest income earners. No matter whether you have three or four tax brackets, the income level for those remains very important. At this point, most lawmakers are in the dark on those type of details - in fact, most every Republican in the House hasn't seen the entire bill, which should be hundreds of pages long.

+ Already there are signs of opposition. Yes, most business groups are on board, but there were unsettling signs for the GOP in recent days from both the National Association of Home Builders, and the National Association of Realtors. The Home Builders vowed to oppose the bill, because of how it would deal with the ability of individual taxpayers to write off mortgage interest, as well as state and local taxes. "This tax blueprint will harm home values, act as a tax on existing home owners and force many younger, aspiring home buyers out of the market," said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. The group said it work against the plan, and issued this tweet in opposition, even before the fine print was made public.

+ Other warnings from lawmakers in Congress. When it comes to what will cause Republicans to turn against the details of this tax plan, at the top of the list would be what happens on the deduction for state and local taxes. Congress tried to get rid of that in 1986, but failed. And a number of GOP lawmakers from the East Coast - plus in Texas - don't like what they hear. For others, it's individual items like the size of the child tax credit, the details of the estate tax and more. "I cannot imagine a single person here voting for a tax reform package that does nothing on the child tax credit," said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who warned that such a plan would raise taxes on many middle class families.

Check back in the afternoon for more of the details.

 

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Local News

  • The man who hid the body of South Georgia beauty queen Tara Grinstead will spend the next 25 years in prison.  A jury convicted Bo Dukes on four counts, including two counts of making a false statement, hindering the apprehension of a criminal and concealing the death of another.   A judge sentenced Dukes to the maximum amount asked by the prosecution. [READ: Who is Tara Grinstead?] Dukes spoke to the court before he was sentenced.  “I'm truly sorry your long suffering has been unimaginable. My actions were cowardly, callous and cruel,” Dukes said. We're talking to the Tara Grinstead's family about the sentencing, on Channel 2 Action News starting at 4 p.m. Grinstead's stepmother spoke for the family. “He knew she was never coming back, he could have at least told us back,” Connie Grinstead said. And Dukes’ mother told her son she loved him after turning to the Grinstead family. “I just want you to know that your queen will never be forgotten,” said Dixie Hudson. The judge told Dukes his time to come forward and long passed.  “I just can't quite wrap my head around what was done,” the judge said. Bo Dukes mother tells Grinstead family during sentencing “ I want you to know your Queen will never be forgotten.”then to Bo “ momma loves you ,baby” @wsbtv #taragrinstead pic.twitter.com/dFmQN7jGot — Tony Thomas (@TonyThomasWSB) March 22, 2019 It took the jury less than an hour to come back with the verdict. Dukes initially claimed he didn't know anything about the 2005 disappearance and death of Grinstead, a 30-year-old high school history teacher. Months later, Dukes confessed. He hadn't killed Grinstead, he told the GBI, but he had helped burn her body for two days on his family's pecan farm.  [READ MORE:  Bo Dukes, charged in Tara Grinstead case, in custody after 5-day manhunt, police say ] Dukes' friend, Ryan Duke, is charged with Grinstead's murder. His trial is set for April 1. RELATED STORIES: Leaked confession reveals motive behind Tara Grinstead's murder, GBI says Judge considers removing gag order in Tara Grinstead case Man accused of murdering former beauty queen talks about alleged 'confession'
  • The 2019 Alumni Weekend is underway at UGA: activities that began Thursday continue today and tomorrow at the University of Georgia. From the University of Georgia master calendar… The UGA Alumni Association wants to welcome alumni back to Athens and make them feel like students again. Come back to campus, relive the glory days with friends and loved ones, and experience what it's like to be a student in Athens today.Registration covers: * Thursday: Orientation Dinner with President Jere W. Morehead * Friday: Classes, meals, reception at Wall & Broad and TEDxUGA * Saturday: Commencement Brunch The University of Georgia’s curriculum committee meets today: it’s a 3:30 session at New College on Herty Drive in Athens. 
  • Georgia track and field’s Elija Godwin has been named the Southeastern Conference Men’s Freshman of the Week following his performance at the Yellow Jacket Invitational, according to a league announcement.   Godwin, a native of Covington, Ga., and graduate of Newton High School, is the Bulldogs’ first outdoor weekly award winner following the first collegiate outdoor meet of his career.   Godwin clocked a career best 10.47 into -0.4 wind to be the top 100-meter dash finisher in the 33-man field. This finish ranks No. 13 nationally (No. 8 nationally for wind-legal times under 2.0 meters/second), makes him the No. 4 freshman nationally and the No. 3 SEC performer in 2019. He returned to win the 200m with a 20.90, which is his fastest time of 2019 and second best of his career, to move to No. 3 nationally (No. 2 for wind-legal times) as the country’s top freshman and No. 2 competitor from the SEC.   Georgia trains through the coming weekend before splitting squads to the Florida Relays (March 28-30) and Raleigh Relays (March 29-30).
  • Barrow County Commissioners meet in a special session today: they’re scheduled to vote on a proposal that would place an ambulance station at Northeast Georgia Medical Center Barrow in Winder. It’s a plan to end a dispute between the Barrow County government and the city of Winder over who provides ambulance service inside the Winder city limits. This morning’s Commission meeting is set for 8:15 in Winder.  The Franklin County School Board is sending to the Georgia School Superintendent’s Association the list of 32 candidates who have applied to be the next school superintendent in Carnesville. The Board is looking to replace Wayne Randall, who will retire at the end of the current school year. Randall was told by the Board that his contract would not be renewed.  The Hall County city of Oakwood is getting a new top cop: Tim Hatch is now the police chief in St. Mary’s; he’ll take over in Oakwood, replacing former Chief Randall Moon, who retired last month. Hatch’s resume’ includes time on the force with the University of Georgia campus police department and the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. 
  • The Georgia football team held its second practice of spring drills on Thursday on the Woodruff Practice Fields.   The Bulldogs practiced for approximately two hours in helmets, shoulder pads, and shorts. The practice was No. 2 of what is expected to be 15 during the spring, which will culminate with the annual G-Day Game on Saturday, April 20. The Bulldogs will return to the practice fields on Saturday.   Senior Charlie Woerner was asked how the transition is going for the tight ends with him as the elder statesman following the departures of Isaac Nauta and Jackson Harris and with the addition of new tight ends coach Todd Hartley.   “Things have started well,” Woerner said. “Day 2 is done, and we’re looking as good as we can two days in. I think we’re pretty far ahead on our installs. It’s a lot different (in the tight ends room), but it’s fine. We have a really good group, a lot of good guys in the room. It feels like it’s my time and I’m ready to have a big year, but I don’t feel any pressure. All I can do is my best for this team.”   Junior Jeremiah Holloman also finds himself in a potential leadership role on and off the field among the receivers since the Bulldogs said goodbye to the likes of Terry Godwin, Riley Ridley, Mecole Hardman, and Ahkil Crumpton.   “I feel like our whole room can step in and contribute,” Holloman said. “We have guys just waiting for a chance. I stepped in last year and made an impact (with 24 catches for 418 yards and five touchdowns), and we have plenty of guys like that. We have a load of guys capable of going out there and competing and making plays.”   On Wednesday, all 32 NFL teams were in attendance as the Bulldogs eligible for next month’s draft participated in Pro Day drills.   The G-Day Game is slated for Saturday, April 20, at 2 p.m. at Sanford Stadium. The game will be televised by the SEC Network.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — Georgia football practice No. 2 is in the books, the Bulldogs still working to establish a new identity and new leaders. There weren’t many clues in the open portion of practice on Thursday, but Kirby Smart will talk on Saturday and provide more insight into how he sees the Bulldogs developing. The early sentiment is this UGA team could throw the ball more, but it won’t come at the expense of being able to run the football. DawgNation reporters give their early takes on how Georgia is evolving in what will be Smart’s fourth season at the helm. Mike Griffith & Chip Towers   Georgia football practice headlines Kirby Smart sheds light on James Coley’s ‘balanced’ philosophy J.R. Reed puts NFL dreams on hold for title run Georgia football injury updates, Zamir White status James Coley ‘likes to throw more’ than Jim Chaney Offensive line, Brian Herrien look the part Complete Georgia early enrollee roster numbers   The post WATCH: DawgNation observations from Georgia football spring practice No. 2 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — The qualifier remains that “Georgia is going to be Georgia,” but it’s starting to sound more and like the Bulldogs are going to throw the football more in 2019. The Georgia players are all excited about James Coley taking over the offense from Jim Chaney. The consensus is that more of the playbook will be used, and more balls will fly through the air. The Bulldogs had the heaviest run ratio of any non-option team in 2017, and last season Georgia lead the SEC in rushing. But Coley could be a game-changer calling plays. “His first instinct would be to throw,” Bulldogs senior tight end Charlie Woerner said Thursday. “Just knowing him, every G-Day game (Coley) is the offensive coordinator on one team, and Chaney is the other, and you look at the stats and it’s a lot more pass-heavy on Coach Coley’s team than Chaney’s. “Chaney is just a little more old-school running the ball, which I didn’t mind that either, but (Coley) likes to throw more than Chaney.” Junior receiver J.J. Holloman agreed following Thursday’s practice. “I’m confident that he will throw the ball a lot more, and we’ll have more explosive plays to look forward to,” said Holloman, UGA’s leading returning receiver. Junior tailback D’Andre Swift is a returning 1,000-yard rusher and the Georgia offensive line is a powerful group capable or road-grading most any opponent. But Swift is also adept at catching the football out of the backfield, and that offensive line is talented in pass protection. Perhaps most importantly, Jake Fromm is a third-year starting quarterback, and Holloman said that factors in as much as Coley. “It’s a mix of both, (Fromm) having all the experience he has,’ Holloman said, “and Coley opening the playbook and making a lot of things happen.” Mecole Hardman is headed to the NFL, but the speedy junior receiver said he, too, expects more passing in the UGA offense. RELATED: NFL WR steal could be Georgia’s biggest loss “Probably a little more passing, I think Coley will bring a title bit more of that,” Hardman said after his pro day workout on Wednesday. “But they definitely are going to run the ball. “You got Swift back, Zamir (White) coming back from injury , (James) Cook here, and they just signed another running back, so it’s going to be a similar offense, we’ll play our brand of football, but probably a little bit more finesse, a little bit more passing there was well. I’m excited for Coley, I know he’s gong to do big things.” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said Tuesday the updated definition of “balance” has less to do with run-pass ratio and more to do with the ability to do both effectively. “People think balance means 50/50 — balance is not 50/50,” Smart said. “Balance is being able to run the ball when you have to run the ball and being able to throw the ball when you have to throw the ball. “So can you do both? Yes, you can be successful at both. That might be 70-30 one game and then 30-70 the other way the next game.” Georgia TE Charlie Woerner   The post Georgia TE Charlie Woerner: James Coley ‘likes to throw more than (Jim) Chaney’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia has updated its roster to include all of the early enrollees football numbers with the Bulldogs this spring. The numbers are as follows: 2 QB D’Wan Mathis 4 LB Nolan Smith 7 DB Tyrique Stevenson 11 LB Jermaine Johnson 12 LB Rian Davis 13 QB Stetson Bennett 14 DB DJ Daniel 15 LB Trezmen Marshall 16 DB Lewis Cine 17 LB Nakobe Dean 60 OL Clay Webb 70 OL Warren McClendon 88 TE Ryland Goede 90 DL Tramel Walthour To recap, there were also number changes since last season: RB James Cook: No. 4, previously No. 6 WR Matt Landers: No. 5, previously No. 15 S Otis Reese: No. 6, previously No. 17 CB Divaad Wilson: No. 8, previously No. 16 OLB Azeez Ojulari: No. 13, previously No. 38 OLB Adam Anderson: No. 19. previously was No. 56 The post Complete Georgia football early enrollee roster numbers appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia redshirt junior Ben Cleveland was back running with the first team at right guard during Thursday’s limited media window of observation. The Bulldogs’ offensive linemen looked to have noticeably better body builds than their counterparts on defense, more than one of which appeared to have a weighty issue. Indeed, there’s a reason why some believe Georgia has the best O-Line in the country. As expected, the players working first team were: LT Andrew Thomas, LG Solomon Kindley, C Trey Hill, RG Cleveland, RT Isaiah Wilson. If there was a surprise in the depth chart, it was seeing Jamaree Salyer working as the backup right tackle with Cade Mays tucked inside at right guard. Offensive line coach is likely doing that to build depth at tackle, as Mays would surely be the first man in at either of the offensive tackle positions should a starter go down. Clay Webb appeared to be the No. 2 center, while Justin Shaffer was No. 2 at left guard and D’Marcus Hayes was No. 2 at left tackle for the purposes of drills. RB observations The most impressive physical transformation appeared to be Brian Herrien, who looked every bit the part of the power back Georgia will need him to be. Herrien, the most impressive UGA back in the Sugar Bowl, is listed at 6-foot, 210 pounds but looked bigger. D’Andre Swift was running at the front of all the drills, while James Cook was No. 3 behind Herrien. DB observations New Georgia secondary coach Charlton Warren very loud and frenetic, chastising cornerbacks for “wasting too much time” when the next ups weren’t ready to go in drills. “We’ve got 8 minutes to get better, men!” he yelled. “Eight minutes. Now quit wasting time!” Junior Ameer Speed continues to work with cornerbacks. He had a cast on his left hand but it did not seem limit him at all. Former UGA QB in attendance Former Georgia QB Faton Bauta, now an assistant at Monmouth, was among coaches observing Thursday’s practice. The post Georgia offensive line looks the part, Brian Herrien built for power game appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart has said before he doesn’t think there are many secrets in college football. That’s probably why Smart opened up Tuesday practice to the Oregon coaching staff, according to OregonLive.com. The Ducks’ staff, led by former Alabama assistant Mario Cristobal, was in Tuscaloosa on Monday and Athens, Ga., on Tuesday to watch practice and visit with staff members. Smart was at Alabama as Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator for three seasons while Cristobal was there serving as the line coach. Georgia places heavy restrictions on the media presence at practice, even while opening up practice for the well-trained eyes of staff members they might ultimately face in the College Football Playoff or in a bowl game. That’s what happened in the Sugar Bowl, as Smart allowed Texas coach Tom Herman and his staff to attend the Bulldogs’ spring practices last year. “We took a trip out there this spring just to pick brains and talk shop a little bit,” Herman said leading up to the Longhorns’ 28-21 victory. Herman said when the Sugar Bowl matchup was announced that he didn’t see the Georgia run game as “anything too formidable.” The confident Texas coach proved correct against what was the SEC’s top rushing offense. The Bulldogs rushed for just   72 yards on 30 attempts after averaging 259.8 yards per game. Smart said his new offensive coordinator, James Coley, has been working to improve the offense and talked with other coaches. Chances are, Coley spoke with Cristobal about what the Ducks do on offense in addition to visiting other programs that Smart chose not to name. “We’ve been working on us and saying, okay, what can we do better, and I think James brings a lot of that to the table,” Smart said on Tuesday. “They’ve gone and visited with a lot of people to get new ideas.” The post One year after opening practice to Texas, Georgia allows Oregon to observe appeared first on DawgNation.