Friday Roundup: Tax climate, Three-year BA, Washington gets a C+ in small business friendliness, and more

There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

The Lens: Tax Climate at Ports: Changes Needed?

Experts say Washington’s ports will have to continue to keep pace not only with U.S. West Coast counterparts, but also those north and south of U.S. borders, in British Columbia, and Panama. Concerns ports have about competitive disadvantages baked into the U.S. Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) are a big piece of the puzzle, and an attempted fix is afoot in Congress.

The American Interest: A Three-Year BA?

Over at the Progressive Policy Institute, Paul Weinstein kicks around an intriguing idea for bringing down costs: What if colleges shaved a year of the BA, and made it possible for students to graduate in three years?

Three-year colleges are the norm in many European countries, and a few enterprising universities here have begun to follow suit. This proposal would require any U.S. college or university with students who receive any type of federal student aid to offer the option of earning a bachelor’s degree in three years, and to hold annual increases in the price of tuition and fees to just over inflation.

Isabel V. Sawhill, Brookings Institution: Money for Nothing: Why a universal basic income is a step too far

A humane and wealthy society should provide the disadvantaged with adequate services and support. But there is nothing wrong with making assistance conditional on individuals fulfilling some obligation whether it is work, training, getting treatment, or living in a supportive but supervised environment.

In the end, the biggest problem with a universal basic income may not be its costs or its distributive implications, but the flawed assumption that money cures all ills.  

Thumbtack: United States Small Business Friendliness

The survey gives Washington a C+ for overall friendliness. Highest mark is a B+ for ease of starting a small business. Lowest marks were for zoning (D+) and training & networking (F).

National Association of Manufacturers: Tax and Regulatory Burdens Still Top of Manufacturers’ Minds

Earlier today, the National Association of Manufacturers released the results of its second quarter 2016 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, showing an uptick in overall sentiment. In this survey, 61.7 percent of manufacturers expressed positivity about their own company’s outlook, up from 56.6 percent who said the same thing in March…

Ranking at the top of manufacturers’ concerns were the overall regulatory burden and the continued need for comprehensive tax reform…What continues to be clear in survey after survey is that its past time for policymakers to move towards comprehensive business tax reform and undo the harmful damage wrought by over broad and costly regulation.