Nov 15, 2017

Senate spares startups in revised tax plan

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) at a panel to overhaul the nation's tax code. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Ding dong, the dumb deal is dead.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, released markups to the Senate tax plan, and gone was the bit about taxing stock options and restricted stock units at the time of vesting. Moreover, it largely mirrored a House plan to allow startup employees to defer taxes on exercised options until there is a liquid market for the underlying securities.

Other big changes:

  • Individual tax cuts would expire in 2025, but the corporate cut to 20% would be permanent. Certain new pass-through entity rules also would be temporary.
  • Obamacare's individual mandate would be revoked, thus decreasing the likelihood of tax legislation actually getting passed in 2017 (which the stock markets have clearly noticed).

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America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.

Top NSC official may be moved after "Anonymous" rumor fallout

President Trump at the Daytona 500. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Top Trump administration officials are in discussions to reassign deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates to the Department of Energy from the National Security Council, per two sources familiar with the planning.

Why it matters: Coates' working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as "Anonymous" — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues.

Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion for climate change research

Bezos at Amazon Smbhav in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the launch of his "Earth Fund" on Monday via Instagram to fund climate change research and awareness.

What he's saying: Bezos says he's initially committing $10 billion to fund "scientists, activists, and NGOS" that are working on environmental preservation and protection efforts.