Will Obama's SOTU Lead to Tax Change? Tax Attorney Rob Wood Is Doubtful

President Obama has delivered his State of the Union address for 2015. The question always arises, after a speech by the President, whether any new legislation will result from presidential suggestions. Tax attorney Rob Wood offers his opinion in this report based on his Forbes article “State Of The Taxing Union? Platitudes So General They Could Be Pitching Flat Tax.”

Rob Wood

Rob Wood

Wood says that there were some interesting suggestions but that they are more relevant to the next two years than to the immediate future. Given that Republicans control both the Senate and the House of Representatives, an increase on the capital gains tax rate to 28% “is not likely.” Some of the other matters discussed by the President were not new, including a bank tax proposal. But “most of it is just posturing for a presidential election,” in Wood’s opinion. It’s unlikely that there will be a major tax bill “in the next year or so.

Both political parties seem to be interested in reducing the corporate tax rate to 28%, and that might be are area where there could be agreement. America’s tax rate of 35% is high compared to tax rates in other countries. However, Wood suggests that many companies, large and small, are not actually paying the 35% rate. “They are finding a way with transfer pricing or other . . .  international strategies” to avoid the full tax rate. And that sort of revision takes time.

Wood believes that the IRS might actually collect more corporate taxes by having a lower corporate tax rate. The question is, how would such a reduction be implemented? Wood feels that it is unlikely that such a change could be brought about by a one-line change to the tax code; more likely, it would involve comprehensive revision of the code.

Wood hopes that the onset of campaigning for the presidential election in 2016 will bring about renewed interest in a flat tax. Wood supports the idea of the simplicity of a flat tax. However, he doubts that such a plan has a chance because it is viewed as regressive.

For more information on the subject, please refer to Mr. Wood’s article in Forbes. Robert Wood is a tax attorney with Wood, LLP in San Francisco, California and spoke with The Tax Law Channel, an affiliate of The Legal Broadcast Network.  The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.

Wrestlers File Concussion Lawsuit Against WWE: An Interview With Konstantine Kyros

Two former professional wrestlers, Vito LoGrasso, 50, and Evan Singleton, 22, have filed a potential class-action lawsuit in federal court in Philadelphia. The lawsuit resembles thousands of suits pending against the NFL in the same courthouse. The NFL litigation could yield a $1 billion settlement if a judge approves a proposed deal. The wrestling lawsuit accuses the WWE of ignoring concussions and having WWE wrestlers do dangerous stunts that caused serious brain injuries. Plaintiffs’ lawyer Konstantine Kyros explains the lawsuit in this report.

Konstantine Kyros

Konstantine Kyros

Kyros explains that the litigation came about in large part because of the NFL concussion litigation. Kyros realized that that wrestlers might be suffering from the same kinds of permanent injuries that have plagued so many professional football players. As a result, he did some investigation and outreach. One of the wrestlers he came in contact with was Billy Jack Haynes, a star of the original Wrestlemania. The result of that meeting was a lawsuit filed for Haynes in October 2014 in Oregon federal court.

The Haynes case led to the present case for LoGrasso and Singleton. Kyros says there are some clear similarities between the injuries sustained by wrestlers and those sustained by NFL players. The wrestlers have more of the repetitive head trauma than NFL players, wrestling perhaps five times per week. They have many more concussions. And, Kyros points out, the effects of the injuries get worse as people age.

Kyros says that the WWE has a concussion policy and has had various concussion policies since about 2008. However, based on the research and study Kyros has performed in preparing for and the evidence gathered for the litigation, “those policies . . .  have been completely and totally inadequate.” When these wrestlers were injured, they were just cleared to continue to wrestle.

Kyros says that the lawsuit will seek compensatory damages but will also seek medical monitoring for these men, who don’t have many other options.

Konstantine William Kyros is the managing partner of Kyros Law Group LLC. He is a pioneer in online legal services, having conducted an Internet and technology law practice since 1997. In the past 11 years, he has partnered with some of the most prominent law firms in the country, handling pharmaceutical, patent, tax, aviation, insurance, medical device, real estate, finance, SEC actions, securities, criminal defense, and asbestos litigation matters. These programs have been enormously successful for his clients, having generated millions of dollars in settlements for them and their families. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.

America Can Reduce Its Prison Population and Get Better Results, Says Brian Moran

America’s criminal justice system needs some reform, says Connecticut lawyer Brian Moran. It costs taxpayers too much, it fails to rehabilitate prisoners, and it exacts a lifelong toll on offenders with no offsetting benefit. He explains his views in his book “The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked The American Dream.”

Brian Moran

Brian Moran

Moran explains that America’s prison population has grown from 300,000 in 1980 to about 2,000,000 at present. Today, about 2% of America’s working-age men are behind bars, most for non-violent offenses, giving the country the highest incarceration rate of any nation in the world. Unfortunately, taking this tough stance on crime has come at quite a societal cost. Much of this growth is related to the War on Drugs. Moran doesn’t fault the early efforts of this initiative, but after the drugs were largely under control, the sentencing grew more draconian, and as drug use decreased, the punishment of offenders boomed. Things like California’s three strikes law and other mandatory minimum sentencing plan have all been part of the problem, including heavy punishments for non-violent crimes.

Another problem is the disparity between the incarceration of Caucasians and of blacks, Hispanics, or other minorities. Moran notes that, in Connecticut, blacks and Hispanics make up about 66% of the prison population but only 24% of the state’s population. Moran points out that there are also disparities between the numbers for cities and for suburbs. The premise of “The Justice Imperative” is that society would be better served, in the case of offenders with no history of violence, by trying to treat these people rather than imprisoning them.

Moran also cites the problem of treating juveniles as adults. He notes that Connecticut has improved its handling of juveniles by increasing the age at which they can be prosecuted as adults. In many states, however, this is not the case.

Moran suggest that Texas is a state whose efforts to reform its prisons are worth study by other states. Texas has emphasized rehabilitation. One of the results has been a decrease in its prison population, once the largest in the country. Texas either had to build three new prisons or improve their probation system.

More information on The Justice Imperative is available through a website, through justice imperative blogs, and through social media postings on Facebook and Twitter.

Brian E. Moran is a partner in the law firm of Robinson + Cole LLP. He is a civil litigator specializing in antitrust, intellectual property, licensing and other commercial disputes. He has co-written two business books, “The Executive’s Antitrust Guide To Pricing: Understanding Implications of Typical Marketing, Distribution and Pricing Practices” (2013), published by Thomson Reuters, and “E-Counsel: The Executive’s Legal Guide to Electronic Commerce” (2000). He is the founder of The Success Foundation, a non-profit that has run summer study programs on college campuses for low-income ninth graders with college potential. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.