BIG Forms Partnership With Global Real Estate Investment Platform, Reitium

BIG Blockchain Intelligence Group Inc. , a leading developer of Blockchain technology search, risk-scoring and data analytics solutions, announced today the Company has formed a partnership with Reitium Blockchain Technologies Ltd. . Under the terms of the partnership, BIG’s cryptocurrency transaction risk-scoring BitRank VerifiedTM service will be integrated into Reitium’s platform.

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What Is the John Mcafee Redemption Unit? Crypto Advocate Touts Physical Currency, 2020 Presidential Bid

If not, I will create my own party. I believe this will best serve the crypto [currency] community by providing the ultimate campaign platform for us.” Previously, he told CNNMoney that he had created a new political entity called the Cyber Party.

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H&E Equipment Services (HEES) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

According to Zacks, “H&E Equipment Services, Inc. is one of the largest integrated equipment services companies in the United States with full-service facilities throughout the Intermountain, Southwest, Gulf Coast & Southeast regions of the United States. The Company is focused on heavy construction & industrial equipment and rents, sells & provides parts & service support for four core categories of specialized equipment they are hi-lift or aerial platform equipment, cranes, earthmoving equipment & industrial lift trucks.

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Yes, there really is a tax break for upper-income graduate students and Congress won’t let it expire – AEI – American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

In an earlier Evidence Speaks post this year, Susan Dynarski and Judith Scott-Clayton summarized important research showing that federal tax benefits for college tuition have had no measurable impact on increasing college-going behavior.[1] Moreover, they note that the benefits are numerous, overlapping and complicated. Yet for all their flaws, these tax breaks enjoy such strong support from lawmakers that even the oddest one, which quietly expires each year, is always revived in a last-minute bill just in time for the tax filing season. The tuition and fees deduction (“the deduction”) was recently extended for a seventh time in an omnibus budget bill in February.[2] Out of all the tuition tax benefits the government offers, this one should be relatively easy to let go because of whom it unintentionally targets.

@brybree via Twenty20

Here is how the deduction works. Tax filers can deduct up to $4,000 of tuition and fees paid for higher education in the tax year. It is an “above-the-line” deduction, meaning filers can claim it without having to itemize deductions. As a deduction, filers earn a benefit equal to their marginal tax rate. The maximum benefit any filer could extract from the deduction is $880, the top marginal tax rate of those who are eligible (22 percent) times $4,000. There is no limit to the number of times a filer can claim the deduction, so long as he has incurred tuition expenses, and it does not matter what type of credential he pursues. There is, however, an income limit. Taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes above $80,000 ($160,000 for joint filers) cannot claim it.

There is nothing odd about those terms per se, but they interact with other tax benefits the government offers for tuition such that only upper-income graduate students benefit from the deduction. First, undergraduates, while eligible for the deduction, don’t claim it because a different tax credit only for undergraduates is more beneficial: the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which is worth up to $2,500 in tax relief for filers earning up to $90,000 ($180,000 for joint filers).[3] Tax filers can claim only one tuition tax benefit although they usually qualify for more than one. Second, graduate students with lower and middle incomes are also eligible for the deduction, but they can claim the $2,000 Lifetime Learning Credit, which almost always delivers a bigger tax break than the tuition and fees deduction.[4] But the Lifetime Learning credit has a lower income cut-off than the deduction. Those earning over $66,000 ($132,000 for joint filers) in 2017 cannot claim it.[5]

That’s how the deduction ends up targeting upper-income graduate students. While graduate students would always obtain a larger benefit from the Lifetime Learning Credit, they cannot claim it if they earn more than $66,000 ($132,000 for joint filers). They can, however, claim the deduction until their earnings exceed $80,000 ($160,000 for joint filers). Thus a narrow band of graduate students, those earning between the income limits for the two benefits, are the only students who would claim the deduction. At those levels, their incomes are higher than the incomes of about 80 percent of U.S. households.[6] Of course, tax filers can unintentionally claim a less generous benefit if they are eligible for more than one, such as an undergraduate claiming the deduction when she was eligible for the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which does happen.[7]

What the data say about eligible students

Using a representative sample of graduate students in 2011-12, Kim Dancy of New America and I estimated that just 8 percent of graduate students would benefit from the deduction. Meanwhile, 64 percent of graduate students would benefit most from the Lifetime Learning Credit. The rest of graduate students (28 percent) were ineligible for any tax benefit because they have no taxable income, their tuition was fully covered by grants and scholarships, or their earnings were too high.[8] The analysis assumes that tax filers claim the benefit that provides them with the largest tax reduction if they qualify for more than one. These numbers have likely shifted in recent years, with even fewer students benefiting from the deduction, because Congress has increased the earnings cap for the Lifetime Learning Credit to account for inflation but left the limits for the deduction unchanged.

We also estimated the average benefit graduate students would claim through the deduction for the 2011-12 academic year. At $621, it was smaller than the $859 average benefit that filers eligible for the Lifetime Learning Credit could claim.[9] Due to small sample sizes, however, we were unable to reliably assess important characteristics of filers eligible for the deduction, such as field of study.

The deduction didn’t start out as a graduate school tax break

As is often the case in public policy, lawmakers did not set out explicitly to provide a tax break to upper-income graduate students. In fact, graduate students were never the target group for the tuition tax breaks; undergraduates were always the focus. Although graduate students have been eligible for the tax benefits since their inception, changes to the policies over the years have left the deduction benefiting upper-income graduate students alone.

Prior to mid-1990s, the federal government did not offer widely-available tax breaks for college tuition. The idea first gained prominence when President Clinton proposed a $10,000 deduction for college tuition as part of his “Middle-Class Bill of Rights” reelection platform.[10] After critics noted that a deduction would provide more help to families in higher tax brackets, Clinton added a separate tax credit for the first two years of college to his proposal to provide more even benefits.[11] Congress adopted the president’s idea for the credit in 1997, naming it the Hope Tax Credit, but rejected the additional proposal for a $10,000 deduction. They instead replaced that proposal with a separate credit for “lifelong learning” (i.e., the Lifetime Learning Credit) that families could claim for education after the first two years of college, including graduate school.[12]

Thus, President Clinton’s original idea for a deduction and a credit was replaced with two credits, the Hope Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. In keeping with their original purpose to provide middle-class tax relief, Congress capped income eligibility for both benefits at $55,000 ($100,000 for joint filers) in 1997.[13]

With these two tax credits on the books, the idea of a deduction for tuition would be unnecessary and redundant, yet Congress later decided to add one anyway. Seemingly out of nowhere, lawmakers included a $4,000 deduction for tuition and fees in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the sweeping bill that included President Bush’s campaign proposal to cut marginal tax rates.[14]

The deduction differed from the two initial tax credits in a key way, which partially explains why lawmakers added it. Families earning up to $80,000 ($160,000 for joint filers) would be eligible as of 2004. That was significantly higher than the income cutoff for the Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits at the time and would therefore offer tax benefits to families with incomes arguably well above middle class. But why not just raise the income limits on the existing credits then? Because creating the new deduction was a way to restrict costs relative to expanding the existing Lifetime Learning Credit in terms of forgone revenue to the government. Recall that the value of the deduction is worth the amount deducted times the marginal tax rate, which at the time it was created would have been $1,120 at the most.[15] That is about half the maximum value of the Lifetime Learning credit.[16]

In other words, the deduction was a way to let upper-income families into the college tax benefit club on the cheap. It also ensured their benefits would be smaller than those of the middle-class families, who were eligible for the credits.

At the time it was created, the deduction was as much an undergraduate benefit as a graduate one. Upper-income families would claim it for tuition paid in pursuit of either degree. According to my analysis referenced earlier, about the same share of graduate students as undergraduates qualified for it prior to 2009.[17] But in 2009, Congress would make it pointless for almost any undergraduate to claim the deduction. That year, lawmakers replaced the Hope Credit with the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provided larger benefits than the deduction with an income cutoff even higher than the deduction. With upper-income undergraduates now qualifying for American Opportunity Tax Credit, graduate students became the only group left who could benefit from the original tuition and fees deduction.

Conclusion

While Congress never decided to directly create a special tax break for upper-income graduate students alone, opting to extend the deduction year after year is effectively the same thing. The latest one-year extension, which made the deduction available for the 2017 tax year, cost the government over $200 million in forgone revenue.[18]

At a time when an undergraduate education feels financially out of reach for so many families, it’s fair to ask why Congress continues to spend these resources on students who have already earned an undergraduate degree. Moreover, these students earn a median household income of $102,000, according to my analysis.[19] There does not appear to be a good answer to that question other than inertia. Lawmakers have always extended the benefit so they continue to extend it. They may not realize, however, that it no longer benefits undergraduate students.

All of the tax benefits may be a policy failure for not increasing enrollment or being overly complex, but at least those for undergraduates put more money in the pockets of low- and middle-income families working toward their first degree. Today, the deduction does neither. It helps those who already have an undergraduate degree and earn high incomes to boot. While its cost in terms of forgone revenue are relatively modest, those resources would be better spent on aid that encourages students to enroll in and complete an undergraduate degree.

Footnotes

[1] Sue Dynarski and Judith Scott-Clayton, “The Tax Benefits for Education Don’t Increase Education,” Brookings Institution, April 2018, https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-tax-benefits-for-education-dont-increase-education/.
[2] Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, Public Law 115–123, § 40203 (2018).
[3] Internal Revenue Service, “Instructions for Form 8863, Education Credits (American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits) (2017),” https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i8863.pdf.
[4] There are some circumstances when the deduction might produce a larger benefit than the Lifetime Learning Credit if a filer paid tuition and fees below $4,000 and he is in the highest tax bracket of those eligible for the deduction. For example, a filer in the 22% tax bracket who deducts $3,000 in expenses receives a $660 tax reduction; under the Lifetime Learning credit his benefit would be $600.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Author’s calculation using the American Community Survey, 2016.
[7] Government Accountability Office, “Improved Tax Information Could Help Families Pay for College,” May 2012, https://www.gao.gov/assets/600/590970.pdf
[8] Jason Delisle and Kim Dancy, “Graduate Students and Tuition Tax Benefits,” New America, December 2015, 6–7, https://na-production.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/graduate-students-and-tuition-tax-benefits.pdf.
[9] Author’s calculation using the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study 2011–12. See also Jason Delisle and Kim Dancy, “Graduate Students and Tuition Tax Benefits,” New America, December 2015.
[10] William J. Clinton, “Address to the Nation on the Middle Class Bill of Rights,” December 15, 1997, www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=49591.
[11] Douglas Lederman, “The Politicking and Policy Making Behind a $40-Billion Windfall: How Clinton, Congress, and Colleges Battled to Shape Hope Scholarships,” Chronicle of Higher Education, November 28, 1997.
[12] Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, Public Law 105–34 § 201 (1997).
[13] Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, Public Law 105–34 § 101 (1997).
[14] Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, Public Law 107–16 § 431 (2001).
[15] The top marginal tax rate for filers eligible for the deduction was 28 percent in the mid 2000s.
[16] See endnote 4. for an explanation of how sometimes when tuition and fees are below $4,000, tax filers can qualify for a larger tax reduction through the deduction than if the Lifetime Learning Credit.
[17] Jason Delisle and Kim Dancy, “A New Look at Tuition Tax Benefits,” New America, November 2015, https://static.newamerica.org/attachments/10416-a-new-look-at-tuition-tax-benefits/TaxCredits11.2.277d3f7daa014d5a8632090f97641cee.pdf; and Jason Delisle and Kim Dancy, “Graduate Students and Tuition Tax Benefits,” New America, December 2015, 6–7, https://na-production.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/graduate-students-and-tuition-tax-benefits.pdf.
[18] Joint Committee on Taxation, “Federal Tax Provisions Expired in 2017” (JCX-5-18), March 9, 2018.
[19] Author’s calculation using the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study 2011–12. See also Jason Delisle and Kim Dancy, “Graduate Students and Tuition Tax Benefits,” New America, December 2015.

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Alt-Right Platform Gab’s Management Is Now Blaming a Leftist Conspiracy for Their Nazi Problem

Update 5:15pm ET: In a separate statement emailed to Gizmodo, Torba claimed to have been targeted by users “LARPing as Nazis” as well as ones “openly proclaiming that they are Democrats, Antifa members, or leftists,” as well as waves of spam and …

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California: Sneaky Legislature Offers New Gut & Amend Aimed at Gun Shows

Cow Palace Daly City CA
Cow Palace Daly City CA

Fairfax, VA – -(Ammoland.com)- Late last week, Senate Bill 221, until recently dealt with “Criminal Fines: HIV Prevention and Education,” was gutted and amended to prohibit the sale of firearms and ammunition at the Cow Palace starting January 1, 2020.  Despite being a full time legislature that consistently pushes legislation to limit the rights of gun owners across the Golden State, the legislature continues to make procedural moves to sneak in additional restrictions. This has already happened several times this year and most notably in 2016 with the “Gunmaggedon” package of bills. SB 221 has already passed the Senate and has now been assigned to the Assembly Public Safety Committee where it awaits a hearing date.

Additionally last week, the Assembly Appropriations committee sent anti-gun bill, AB 2382, to the suspense file to be heard at a later date.

Oppose: Assembly Bill 2382,, sponsored by Assembly Member Mike Gipson (D-64), would require precursor firearms parts to be sold/transferred through a licensed precursor parts dealer in a similar process to the new laws regarding ammunition purchases. It would further create a new crime for transfer of precursor parts without the involvement of a licensed precursor parts dealer to anyone under 21 years of age or prohibited from owning firearms. Precursor parts include items such as barrels, ammunition feedings devices and upper receivers.

On Tuesday, May 22, Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to hear anti-hunting bill SB 1487.  Please use our TAKE ACTION button below to contact the Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and urge them to OPPOSE SB 14. Further this Friday May 25 is the deadline for fiscal committees to report bills to the floor in the house of origin. Both the Senate and Assembly Appropriations committees will be considering items that have previously placed on the suspense file.

OPPOSE; Senate Bill 1487, sponsored by Senator Henry Stern (D-27), would prohibit the possession of certain African species of wildlife.  The true goal of the bill is to ensure that a lawful U.S. hunter is not allowed to bring home a hunting trophy—even though the animal was legally taken and the hunter has the approval of the U.S. Federal Government.

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Bills on Suspense:

Senate:

APPROVE: Senate Bill 1311, sponsored by Senator Tom Berryhill (R-8), would create the annual sportsman’s license that affords the holder of the license the same privileges as the annual hunting and fishing licenses as a single license. SB 1311 would help generate participation and encourage the next generation of sportsman conservationists by providing a convenient and economical way to secure the necessary licensing for hunting and fishing activities in the Golden State.   

OPPOSE: Senate Bill 1100, sponsored by Senator Anthony Portantino (D-25), would place further restrictions on law abiding citizens by expanding the current one gun a month restriction for handguns to include all guns and raises the purchase age for long guns to 21.

OPPOSE: Senate Joint Resolution 24, sponsored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-19), would urge the Congress of the United States to reauthorize and strengthen the federal “assault weapons” ban and would urge Congress to pass, and the President to sign, the federal Assault Weapons Ban of 2018. It would additionally call on the California Public Employee’ Retirement System (CalPERS) to engage with companies that produce or sell firearms and determine a method for those companies to withdraw from the sale or production of firearms, or produce a plan for CalPERS to divest its holdings from those companies. The reauthorization of an “assault weapons” ban would burden the self-defense rights of law-abiding Americans without meaningfully addressing the problems it’s purportedly designed to address, it would not impact overall gun death rates, and there is no evidence it would prevent mass shootings.

 

Assembly:

OPPOSE: Assembly Bill 1927, sponsored by Assembly Member Rob Bonta (D-18), would direct California’s Department of Justice (DOJ) to “develop and launch a secure Internet-based platform to allow a person who resides in California to voluntarily add his or her own name to the California Do Not Sell List.”  For more information on this issue, please read our article, Waivers of Gun Rights: A New Shot at Gun Repression.

OPPOSE: Assembly Bill 2382,, sponsored by Assembly Member Mike Gipson (D-64), would require precursor firearms parts to be sold/transferred through a licensed precursor parts dealer in a similar process to the new laws regarding ammunition purchases. It would further create a new crime for transfer of precursor parts without the involvement of a licensed precursor parts dealer to anyone under 21 years of age or prohibited from owning firearms. Precursor parts include items such as barrels, ammunition feedings devices and upper receivers.

APPROVE: Assembly Bill 2670, sponsored by Assembly Member Kevin Kiley (R-6), would require, rather than authorize, the director to establish 2 free hunting days per year one in the fall and one in the spring, no later than July 1, 2019.

 

Today, Monday, May 21, the Assembly passed AB 2888.

OPPOSE: Assembly Bill 2888, sponsored by Assembly Member Phillip Ting (D-19), would expand the list of those eligible to file gun violence restraining orders (GVRO) beyond the currently authorized reporters which include immediate family and law enforcement.  The new list is expanded to employers, coworkers and employees of a secondary or postsecondary school that the person has attended in the last 6 months. GVRO’s can remove a person’s right without due process and not because of a criminal conviction or mental adjudication, but based on third party allegations.

Continue to check your inbox and the California Stand and Fight web page for updates on issues impacting your Second Amendment rights and hunting heritage in California.

National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)

About:
Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit: www.nra.org

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Iran slams US sanctions push, Syria rejects idea of Iranian withdrawal

The chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces dismissed on Wednesday U.S. demands for Tehran to curb its influence in the region, and said it would not seek permission from any country to develop defence capabilities. FILE PHOTO: A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Persian Gulf, Iran, July 25, 2005.

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