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Debates, energy, credits and prep

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(Read caption) Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, stand together before the start of the NBC, YouTube Democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, S.C. (Jan. 17, 2016). There will be another debate in New Hampshire on Thursday, February 4th.

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There’s a Democratic debate tonight. It will now feature only two candidates. Brush up on Hillary Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’ tax plans here. Clinton and Sanders have agreed to four more debates. The next one will be in Flint, Michigan, a city currently in a state-manufactured water crisis.

Senate Finance Committee Democrats would like an energy tax policy hearing. They’ve asked Chairman Orrin Hatch that the panel be proactive in shaping policy given changes in the regulatory environment and the need to combat climate change.” Top committee Democrat Ron Wyden has introduced an amendment to the energy bill pending in the Senate to consolidate dozens of energy tax incentives into three credits: for clean power, clean transportation fuels, and energy efficiency for homes and buildings. Meanwhile, the entire energy bill is caught up in one of those Senate knots over… aid to Flint.

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Speaking of energy and tax policy: Could taxing less healthy food help save the planet? A new paper by United Kingdom researchers suggests that taxing food whose production increases greenhouse gas emissions—like red meat—would  combat global climate change and improve human health. The researchers also suggest a tax on sugar and sugary drinks. The Davis (CA) City Council rejected a soda tax proposal on Tuesday. Guess the members didn’t read the paper.

Can Obama and Ryan deal on expanding the EITC? Can Hatch? The Wall Street Journal reports (paywall) that the president and speaker agree on expanding the refundable credit to childless workers. But Finance boss Hatch is no fan.

Meanwhile, Colorado brought back its EITC for the first time this millennium. The state’s Earned Income Tax Credit program could provide over $70 million refunds to an estimated 380,000 eligible families. It was last on the books in 1999.

Twenty-six Liberty Tax Service franchises won’t be filing returns in Maryland. State Comptroller Peter Franchot has barred the stores from preparing returns following a high number of “questionable” filings from the outfit. There are more than 100 Liberty franchises in the state. The Consumer Federation of American conducted a recent survey which found broad public support for reforming the tax prep industry.

This article first appeared at TaxVox.