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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Andrew Harnik / AP

Gary Cohn has privately said he's warming to the idea of eliminating the local and state tax deduction to pay for tax cuts and simplify the code, according to sources familiar with the thinking of president's top economic advisor. Cohn's private comments must be considered with a caveat: no final decisions have been made, and the administration's tax reform plans are still a long way from prime time.

What it means: The White House needs a ton of money to pay for corporate, individual and small business tax cuts (not to mention the "Ivanka credit" for childcare.) Getting rid of these state and local deductions is a dream Republicans have long held and would raise an estimated $1 trillion over 10 years.

Who loves the idea: House Republican leadership, which included it in its tax plan; and Grover Norquist, the anti-tax warrior who views the deductions as the federal government subsidizing higher taxes at the state and local level. Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur wrote an excellent piece on the politics behind it.

Who hates the idea: Governors and Democrats, particularly those from high-tax Democratic states like California, New York and New Jersey. Eliminating the deductions also impacts some important states that don't have an income tax but have high state and local taxes as an offset, such as Texas. Those are big chunks of votes, so getting rid of it creates a problem if they are going partisan and need to get all of the Republicans.

White House response:

"We haven't reached the stage of talking about which deductions would stay or go because we are still in listening mode, hearing from key stakeholders before developing a comprehensive plan. To the extent state and local deductions have been discussed, they've been among a laundry list of options that could be explored — no more those than any others."

One last thought: You can't do real tax reform without making somebody mad, and you certainly can't raise $1 trillion without making lots of people mad. Ryan's proposal to raise $1 trillion by hiking taxes on imports — the so-called "border adjustment tax" — is now a carcass collecting flies. So they've got to find some other way to raise the money. This idea is as plausible as anything else we've heard.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

Treasury begins dispersing $350 billion in COVID relief funding to states and localities

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. Treasury on Monday began giving state and local governments access to $350 billion in emergency funding from the American Rescue Plan, the department announced Monday.

Why it matters: Though the money is aimed at helping state, local, territorial and tribal governments recover from the pandemic's economic fallout, the administration will generally give them wide latitude on how they can use the funds.

Game developers break silence around salaries

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Developers are sharing their salaries on Twitter under the hashtag #GameDevPaidMe to encourage pay transparency in their industry.

The big picture: The hashtag started circulating last year, but has returned periodically as developers fight for better working conditions. Salary sharing is a way to equalize the field. By removing the secrecy, as well as the stigma, around discussing pay, workers have more power to advocate for themselves when negotiating salaries and raises.

2 hours ago - World

Jerusalem crisis: Hamas fires rockets, Israel begins military campaign

Palestinian protesters and an Israeli police officer near the Damascus Gate. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Days of tension in Jerusalem escalated into an exchange of fire on Monday, as Hamas fired dozens of rockets toward Israel and the Israeli military responded with strikes of its own and said it was preparing for a military operation that could last several days.

Why it matters: This is the first time Hamas has fired rockets at Jerusalem since 2014, and it's the most serious escalation between the Israelis and Palestinians in many months. It comes during the most sensitive days on the calendar — the last days of Ramadan and the Jerusalem Day commemoration on Monday — and as political crises roil both the Israeli and Palestinian governments.

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