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Trump’s Tax Cuts for the Rich Impose a Hidden Tax on Faith-Based Orgs – the Religious Right Is Furious

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The Republicans thought they could hand out huge permanent tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy and cover them up with smaller tax cuts that expire for middle and lower-income Americans.

It didn’t work.

Public perception of Trump’s tax cuts for the rich has been dropping steadily. Just one in three Americans (34%) support the new law.

And now opposition is coming from Trump’s strongest defenders: the religious right.

As it turns out, there’s a hidden, hefty tax on religious organizations, something they’ve never seen before.

And they’re furious.

Churches, synagogues, mosques, and other faith-based nonprofits will have to pay a 21 percent tax on the benefits they offer employees, like gym memberships, parking, and even meals.

Politico reports “many organizations are still unaware of the tax,” and “more than 600 churches and other groups have already signed a petition demanding it be repealed.”

Mike Batts, chairman of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, calls the Republican tax “absurd.”

And the vice president of government relations at the National Association of Evangelicals, a group of evangelical Christian organizations, says, “we don’t need this kind of hassle.”

“There’s going to be huge headaches,” Galen Carey told Politico. “The cost of compliance, especially for churches that have small staffs or maybe volunteer accountants and bookkeepers — we don’t need this kind of hassle.”

At least one Republican lawmaker is trying to repeal the tax. If the bill is signed into law, it will cost American taxpayers $40 billion over the next decade.

 

Photo: December 21, 2017 – President Donald J. Trump celebrates the passage of the Tax Cuts Act.
Image via Flickr

 

 

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NRA Head Wayne LaPierre Ridiculed for Demanding More Security: ‘Now He Knows What It Feels Like’

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On Friday, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post brutally mocked National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre in a column for demanding extra security for himself in a charged political atmosphere.

“After two horrific mass shootings, we come together as a nation to confront an urgent question: How are we going to keep Wayne LaPierre safe?” wrote Milbank. “The longtime head of the National Rifle Association, it turns out, is worried sick about his personal safety in this gun culture.”

Milbank noted the recent reports that the NRA considered buying a $6 million mansion in Dallas for LaPierre, who considered his Virginia home too easy for potential attackers to find.

“Some will see hypocrisy in LaPierre trying to get the NRA to buy him a mansion in a gated community when the NRA, at the time of the attempted acquisition, issued a statement decrying the anti-gun ‘elites’ who ‘live in gated communities,’” wrote Milbank. “Many will see it as ironic that LaPierre feels unsafe because of the very gun culture his policies have created. But it’s good to know he apparently feels some of what most Americans feel: that gun violence is out of control.”

“My 15-year-old daughter was caught up in one such panic in June. At the Capital Pride Parade in Dupont Circle, a man with a BB gun set off a stampede of hundreds of people, and falling metal barriers may have convinced others that shots had been fired. Several were injured. My daughter, separated from her group, sheltered in a hotel basement until police gave the all-clear,” noted Milbank. “She has been skittish about being in crowds since then, and understandably so. Since El Paso and Dayton, and Gilroy and Virginia Beach and Pittsburgh, millions don’t feel safe shopping, attending festivals, going to school or houses of worship, walking the streets or going out at night.”

“This is directly because of the madness LaPierre’s NRA has inflicted on America,” concluded Milbank. “Now he knows what it feels like.”

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As Trump Fundraiser Becomes Massive Headache for Billionaire SoulCycle Owner His Company Blocks List of Businesses

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Trump Fundraiser Tickets Cost up to $250,000

Billionaire Stephen Ross, the chairman and owner of the parent company that owns SoulCycle, Equinox Fitness, and many other companies, is hosting a multi-million dollar Hamptons fundraiser for President Donald Trump this weekend, and many across the country are furious. The backlash includes calls for members to cancel their memberships and boycott.

Ross, like many billionaires (except the beneficiary of the upcoming fundraiser) is not in the public eye much. His businesses, while for many are household names (or even, the owner of their households) are not frequently tied to his name, unlike other billionaire families: The Trump Organization, Walmart’s Walton family, the Koch Brothers’ Koch Industries.

As NCRM reported Wednesday, among the companies that Ross owns is The Related Companies, a multi-billion dollar real estate development and management firm.

After massive backlash, including from numerous celebrities furious that Ross is effectively helping to fund the anti-immigrant and white supremacist hate Trump and his campaign are spewing, The Related Companies pulled the plug on the page that lists its holdings – the companies it owns.

New York Magazine writer Matthew Schneier noticed the block:

Of course, the page has been archived by the famous Wayback Machine, one of the internet’s best resources, so you can see all the companies Ross owns here. (Appears to not work with Safari.)

Among the companies Ross owns, in addition to The Related Companies, are the Miami Dolphins, Hard Rock Stadium, and RSE Ventures, a sports, entertainment, media, and marketing firm.

The Related Companies owns Equinox Fitness health clubs, along with SoulCycle, PURE Yoga, Blink Fitness, and The Yorkville Club. The Related Companies is one of two developers in charge of the redevelopment of 28 acres in and around Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, known as the Hudson Yards project.

There’s more at the archived page.

Lastly, on Wednesday SoulCycle and Equinox both issued similar statements claiming Ross is merely a “passive investor.” He is the chairman and majority owner of their parent company, The Related Companies.

“Stephen M. Ross is the Chairman and Founder of Related Companies,” the company’s website proudly states. “Mr. Ross formed Related in 1972 and today the company includes over 3,500 professionals. Related is one of the largest owners of affordable housing, and has over $50 billion in real estate assets owned or under development, including mixed-use, residential, retail and office properties in premier high-barrier-to-entry markets. Mr. Ross is also the owner of the Miami Dolphins.”

 

Image by Phillip Pessar via Flickr and a CC license

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Trump ‘Terrified’ That Humiliated Ex-Officials Will ‘Seek Revenge’ by Airing Dirty Laundry in 2020: Report

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President Donald Trump has burned through White House officials at a record pace— and he’s often gone out of his way to publicly humiliate them on their way out the door.

A new report from The Daily Beast claims that the president is now worried that all of the former officials whom he regularly bashed both publicly and behind the scenes will come back to haunt him as he tries to mount a campaign for reelection in 2020.

In fact, the report claims that Trump is “terrified” that these former officials will try “seeking revenge” on him by spilling dirt on him in a series of tell-all books timed to be released during the height of the 2020 election campaign.

“Those who have worked with Trump say he understands the dangers of having so many disgruntled ex-employees — including former corporate titans and revered military figures — speaking out during the re-election,” the report claims. “And yet, they also recognize that the president is largely unwilling, or incapable, of doing the main thing to prevent such a situation from happening: not humiliate members of his team before (or in some cases after) their banishment.”

White House aides, however, have developed a counter-strategy that has so far worked well for the president — namely, to lie to his supporters and insist that none of the stories about him are true, even if they’re being told by multiple former Trump administration officials.

Read the whole report here.

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