VOLUME 3; NUMBER 10
(SOUTHERN PINES)……First from Washington. As we hear daily, it’s “trick or treat” time on Capitol Hill. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady will release the proposed tax reform bill, which has been under wraps for months, as soon as this week.
This bill reflects the mark-up of the legislation whose template was part of the secretive “Big Six” talks with congressional leaders and top administration aides. Schedule for introduction this Wednesday, the plan taking shape will curb some cherished tax breaks, such as the state and local tax deduction, the mortgage interest deduction and the medical expense deduction for individuals. It remains to be seen whether a much lower corporate tax rate, fewer individual tax brackets and simpler tax filing (eliminating the personal exemptions, doubling the standard deduction), plus repealing the federal estate tax, will be enough to attract sufficient votes to garner House & Senate approvals. The House version of the budget bill barely passed (216-212), and it took the Vice-President casting a tie breaking vote (51-50) to move the Senate bill.
The devil is in the details and in just a few more days, we shall see who has been “tricked” or “treated” in this legislative process. While the White House wants a bill on the President’s desk by Christmas, final passage may occur in late January at the earliest. Considering the close chamber votes, the potential loss of 4 more votes in the House and 2 in the Senate leaves the Administration little room for error.
Your Association continues to monitor these developments daily, and remains in direct contact with the key Legislative Tax Directors for Senator Burr and Congressman Holding who sit on the Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees respectively. These staff sources have previously indicated that the Section 831(b) election is not at risk in either version of the tax bill. However, stay tuned as we endeavor to re- confirm just what is in each version of the tax bill.
In Raleigh, Earlier this year, the NC General Assembly, based on Conference Committee action, failed to approve changes to the Premium Tax Calculation rules which were proposed by NCDOI and supported by the Association. The Conferees were not in agreement as to the premium tax dollar caps that were included in the statutory changes included in Senate Bill 628. The Adjournment Resolutions are quite restrictive as to what matters might be reconsidered.
Whether this issue will resurface at either of the coming legislative sessions is doubtful. The General Assembly is scheduled to return for a special session on January 10, 2018 and its regular short session on May 16,. There have been several unanticipated special sessions already this calendar year; it would require action by the Rules Committees and a suspension of the Senate and House Rules for a department or agency bill to be reconsidered, unless the changes sought were considered technical corrections to the budget bills previously passed.
Looking ahead, your Association will continue its work with Commissioner Causey and his staff as we redraft the SB 628 provisions and make them more acceptable to lawmakers. Remember that the crowd on Jones Street in Raleigh like their counterparts on Capitol Hill can turn a bill on a dime and short notice if they so desire! As the legislative calendars for January 10 are formulated, we will keep members posted.
Annual Dues Statements will be mailed to the membership in mid-November.
There is no change in the dues amount for 2018. Industry Partner Dues remain at $850 and Captive Dues at $500. Dues are payable in full by December 31st, 2017 and are considered in arrears after that time. In addition to representing the industry in Washington and Raleigh you can expect a revamped website and new social media activity in the year ahead.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Directors will be held January 12th 2018. If you have items or issues for Board consideration please contact the association’s office at the address below.