Budget & Appropriations/Tax Policy – House Committee Begins Mark Up of Tax Bill

The Ways and Means Committee begins its markup of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act today.  The Arc opposes this bill as it does not meet our shared principles for tax reform.  The Arc is also concerned that Congress may add repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that people purchase health insurance when the bill is considered by the committee.

Budget & Appropriations/Tax Policy – House Releases Harmful Tax Bill

On November 3, the House Ways and Means Committee released its tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1).  While the bill does not include cuts to Medicaid or other federal programs, The Arc opposes this bill due to the $1.5 trillion over 10 years that the bill would add to the deficit, thereby increasing pressure to cut Medicaid and other programs in the future.  In addition, The Arc opposes the measure’s disproportionate benefit to wealthy individuals and corporations and it’s repeal of expenditures that benefit people with disabilities – the medical and dental expense deduction, the work opportunity tax credit, and the disabled access tax credit.  The bill also modifies Section 529 education savings accounts to cover elementary and high school expenses of up to $10,000 per year and removes income limits. Such a change would allow for wealthy individuals to receive a tax benefit for sending their child to private schools, which are not required to accept or provide a free and appropriate education to student with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (read more here).  Click here for a section-by-section summary of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and click here to read the statement from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) on the bill.

Budget & Appropriations/Tax Policy – House Committee Expected to Release Tax Bill

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) announced that the Committee would release a draft of its tax bill on November 1. Markup of the legislation is scheduled to begin on November 6. Despite the announcement, there reportedly continues to be disagreement among Members of Congress on tax expenditures (credits, deductions, exclusions, and deferrals) that should be eliminated or reduced in order to offset the cost of cutting tax rates. The Arc will review the legislation to ensure that it is consistent with our shared principles for tax reform which include not cutting essential federal programs to help pay for tax cuts that primarily benefit wealthy individuals and corporations. See The Arc’s blog for more information.

Tax Policy – Colorado, Indiana, New York Open Qualified ABLE Programs

Recently, Colorado, Indiana, and New York opened qualified ABLE programs, bringing the total number of jurisdictions with ABLE programs to 29.

Colorado and Indiana’s ABLE programs are open to all eligible individuals nation-wide. They have six investment options and a checking option with a debit card. The accounts have a quarterly fee of $15, which is reduced by $3.75 for individuals who elected to receive their statements electronically. Additionally, they have asset-based fees ranging from 0.34% to 0.38% depending on the investment options chosen.

New York‘s ABLE Program is currently only open to state residents. It has four investment options and a checking account with a debit card. Accounts have a quarterly fee of $11.25 for account-holders who receive electronic statements and $13.75 for account-holders who receive paper statements. Additionally, there is a 0.4% asset-based fee on investment options.

More information about state implementation of the ABLE Act can be found here. General information about ABLE programs can be found in the National Policy Matters: ABLE Accounts for People with Disabilities here.

Tax Policy – ABLE National Resource Center Hosting Webinar Series

The ABLE National Resource Center (ANRC) has declared August as #ABLEtoSave month. During this month, the center will be raising awareness and providing resources relating to ABLE programs. Additionally, they are hosting a series of webinars:

  • Week 1 (July 30 – August 5): Basic Overview of ABLE
  • Week 2 (August 6 -12): Eligibility
    • Wednesday August 9, from 2:00 – 3:00 EDT
  • Week 3 (August 13 – 19): Qualified Disability Expenses
  • Week 4 (August 20 – 26): Financial Literacy
  • Week 5 (August 27 – September 2): Enrollment

To learn more about the #ABLEtoSave campaign and ABLE accounts, visit the ANRC website and be sure to “like” the ANRC on Facebook and Twitter (@theABLENRC).

Tax – Montana and the District of Columbia Open Qualified ABLE Programs

Recently, Montana and the District of Columbia opened qualified ABLE programs, bringing the total number of jurisdictions with ABLE programs to 26. Both plans are open to all eligible individuals nationwide. They have six investment options and a checking account with a debit card. There is a $40 annual account maintenance fee, an annual $15 fee for printing and delivery of statements, and asset-based fees that range from 0.34% to 0.38% for investment options. The minimum initial deposit is $25. More information about state implementation of the ABLE Act can be found here. General information about ABLE programs can be found in the National Policy Matters: ABLE Accounts for People with Disabilities here.

Tax Policy – Louisiana Opens Qualified ABLE Program

On June 29, Louisiana became the 23rd state to launch a qualified ABLE Program. This program is currently only open to Louisiana residents. The program has seven investment options. There are no fees associated with the account. The minimum initial deposit is $10. More information about state implementation of the ABLE Act can be found here. General information about ABLE programs can be found in the National Policy Matters: ABLE Accounts for People with Disabilities here

Tax Policy – Georgia Opens Qualified ABLE Program

On June 13, Georgia became the 22nd state to launch a qualified ABLE Program. This program is currently only open to Georgia residents. The program has five investment options. There is a quarterly fee of $3.50 and asset-based fees that range from 0.19% to 0.34% for investment options. The minimum initial deposit is $50. More information about state implementation of the ABLE Act can be found here. General information about ABLE programs can be found in the National Policy Matters: ABLE Accounts for People with Disabilities here.

Tax Policy – Massachusetts and Missouri Launch ABLE Programs

Massachusetts and Missouri have launched qualified ABLE programs, bringing the total number of states with ABLE programs to 21. Massachusetts’s program (The Attainable Savings Plan) is open to all eligible individuals nationwide, has eight different investment options, has a minimum initial deposit requirement of $50, and charges an annual fee of $30 as well as asset-based fees ranging from 0.57% to 0.94%.

Missouri’s program (MO ABLE) is currently only open to state residents, has five different investment options, a minimum initial contribution requirement of $50, a monthly fee of $3.50, and asset-based fees ranging from 0.19% to 0.34%. More information about state implementation of the ABLE Act can be found here. General information about ABLE programs can be found in the National Policy Matters: ABLE Accounts for People with Disabilities here.

Tax – President Trump Releases Outline of Tax Reform Plan

On April 26, President Trump released a one page outline of his tax reform plan that is billed as “The biggest individual and business tax cut in American History.” Individual reform includes reducing the number of tax brackets, doubling the standard deduction, and providing tax relief for families with child and dependent care expenses. The proposals for corporate tax reform are to lower the top rate to 15%, institute a territorial tax system, provide for a one-time tax on corporate profits held overseas, and to eliminate tax breaks for special interests. The plan also notes that the Trump administration will hold listening sessions with stakeholders throughout the month of May to receive their input and will continue working with the House and Senate to develop the details of a plan. The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that the plan will add $3 to $7 trillion to the nation’s deficits and debt over 10 years. Read The Arc’s blog post for more information.