WEX: Democrats vilify the Trump tax cuts for generating smaller refunds

I spoke to Colin Wilhelm of the Washington Examiner about early IRS data indicating a dip in the average tax refund, and the political implications for TCJA:

It remains to be seen whether the tax season confusion shifts public opinion. Recent polling on the law from late January and early February, by CNN and the Economist/YouGov respectively, places approval for the law a bit above disapproval or about the same as dispproval.

“That’s basically Trump approval right there,” said Liam Donovan, a former staffer for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and tax policy principal at the law and lobbying firm Bracewell, referring to the Economist/YouGov poll showing the tax law at a 41 percent approval rating among registered voters.

“I think Democrats have oversold the narrative that this is just a handout for big banks and [stock] buybacks and Wall Street,” Donovan said, adding that small business owners might move opinion of the law into positive territory when they start seeing the benefits of the new tax breaks the overhaul created for them.

But Donovan wasn’t so sure opinion would change too much in the near future, arguing that most Americans had made up their mind.

“To some extent it was polarized from the get-go because it was a partisan exercise,” said Donovan. “I think people are pretty politically motivated in how they view it.”

Read the full piece here.

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AP: Democrats mute calls for Va. resignations with power at risk

I spoke to Nick Riccardi from the Associated Press about the political fallout in Virginia as the commonwealth’s top three constitutional officers face increasing pressure amidst a crescendo of scandals:

The subdued response from national Democrats shows how their zero-tolerance approach has put them in a bind. The party has prided itself on policing its own and hoped to contrast that record with the GOP’s tolerance of misbehavior by President Donald Trump. Now the party will have to decide whether to stick with its principles or retain its political power.

“The party’s put in an odd position,” said Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist who, like much of the political world, watched Virginia’s developments with astonishment Wednesday. “Let’s say they live by their standards and clean house. The stakes are very real now because the line of succession goes through the other side.”

Read the full piece in the Charlotte Observer here.

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WSJ: From Beer to Casinos, Businesses Turn to Solar, Wind Power

I spoke to Tim Puko of the Wall Street Journal about the factors driving record corporate investment in renewable energy:

Congress is cool toward more tax-credit extensions and legislation more broadly, lobbyists and bankers added.

“In 2015 industry came in and said this is what we need to reach maturity with our technology,” said Liam Donovan, at the law and lobbying firm Bracewell LLP. “You can only go back with that argument so many times.”

Read the full piece here.

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