The Benefits of Closing the Tax Gap

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Congressmen Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) and Ray Lahood (R-IL) have put forward a bipartisan proposal to use revenues collected through better enforcement of capital gains taxes to double the funding of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) over the next 5 years to $60 billion. Ten billion dollars of this increase would go to children not currently covered by SCHIP. Families whose income is between 200% and 350% of the federal poverty level ($20,000 for a family of 4) would receive an advanceable and refundable tax credit to purchase health insurance for children.

The proposal to improve capital gains enforcement has already been presented as a bill by Representative Emanuel (H.R. 878) that would require securities brokers to report a customer's basis (generally the purchase price) in securities transactions to prevent understating the capital gains on such transactions. This step was one the suggestions offered by Citizens for Tax Justice to the Senate Budget Committee in January. The President included a similar proposal in his budget for fiscal year 2008. As reported in last week's Tax Justice Digest, another proposal to expand SCHIP would use revenue from an increased federal cigarette tax. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a new report that outlines various ways of paying for an SCHIP expansion.

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