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Federal Relations: Medical Device Tax Gets Reprieve, Solar Energy Price Increase, WOTUS Confusion

2018-01-26T14:19:48+00:00 January 26th, 2018|

– On Monday, Congress passed an amended version of H.R. 195, the Extension of Continuing Appropriations Act. The bill, signed by President Trump later that day, extends government funding through February 8, 2018, as well as suspends the medical device tax for two years and renews the Children’s Health Insurance Program funding for six years.

The medical device tax has an especially detrimental impact on Indiana given the high number of jobs in Indiana directly associated with companies that produce medical devices subject to the tax. The tax also represents a particularly offensive and counterproductive form of taxation in that it is tied to the volume of production and not the profitability or income related to that production. This tax is a tax on medical innovation. It also drives up the cost of medical care and adversely impacts individuals, often senior citizens, with physical infirmities.

The Indiana Chamber will continue to push for a permanent repeal of this job-killing tax.

 The cost of solar panels in Indiana and across the nation will likely increase. On January 23, President Trump approved findings and recommendations made by the U.S. International Trade Commission that increased foreign imports of solar cells and modules are a substantial cause of serious injury to domestic manufacturers. The recommendations include a tariff of 30% in the first year, 25% in the second year, 20% in the third year and 15% in the fourth year. Additionally, the first 2.5 gigawatts of imported solar cells will be exempt from the safeguard tariff in each of those four years.

– Confusion over the Clean Water Act and Waters of the United States (WOTUS) may continue. On January 22, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “Congress has made clear that rules like the WOTUS Rule must be reviewed first in federal district courts,” (Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s language). This may allow for differing decisions and standards across the nation from the district courts.

Resource: Caryl Auslander at (317) 264-6880 or email: causlander@indianachamber.com