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Climate experts say the increase is an essential part of climate strategy, but opponents say it is just an extra burden, will not change behaviour, and is unfair on those forced to drive long distances, including many commuters and people living in rural Ireland. There is also a debate about how the money is used — the indications are the Government will put some of it towards poorer households and the rest towards supporting environmental policies and investments, including retro-fitting homes.

However an alternative strategy — supported by the Greens — is to give the money back to households via a so-called tax and dividend approach. Will he commit Fine Gael to this course? We are told that there will be no general tax cuts or welfare measures in the budget, with limited relief given instead in both areas.

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And the Government will use the risk of Brexit as the reason for this — and the need to save money to leave resources available to deal with it. But having few goodies to distribute at a time when the exchequer coffers are full of cash is nonetheless politically difficult.

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This may well lead to complaints from those who were left out that they deserved more than the few who will benefit from the limited budget measures. In terms of welfare and supports to families for childcare, there will be close examination of who got what — and who got nothing. The same will apply in taxation. For example, if the self-employed tax credit — the so-called earned income credit — is increased while other credits remain unchanged, the PAYE sector may look on enviously.

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Add in expected tax relief for entrepreneurs and the Government could be accused of giving to business and the self-employed and ignoring the rest. Given the pressures on some sectors — for example people renting — any specific reliefs are going to be controversial. There is a wider point, too. Many taxpayers are getting wage increases — likely to average over 3 per cent next year — and tax credits and bands need to be adjusted if tax is not to take a slightly higher proportion of higher income.

Meanwhile, the general rate of inflation could be 1 to 1. There will be close attention to exactly what money is set aside for Brexit contingencies; what are new measures, what leeway there is, and where the money will come from. The Government has indicated that the budget will be allowed to drift into the red in the event of a no-deal, and this is the basis on the which the figures are drawn up. The exchequer finances would move from an expected surplus next year into a deficit of between 0. Some of this would be due to the impact of a no-deal on tax and spending next year — the rest would be due to specific Brexit contingency measures to help affected businesses, employees and communities, the latter mainly in rural Ireland.

Supports must be put in place quickly, Ibec says, as others jobs will be lost permanently. A key message from the Minister will therefore be not only what supports will be put in place, but the speed at which this can happen in the event of a no-deal crash-out.

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Given the often lengthy negotiating process for these things in Brussels, this could be a tricky area. And the unpredictability of a no-deal scenario also leaves the Government in an awkward situation trying to lay down its plans. Cliff Taylor: The three Budget decisions over which sparks will fly With an election due nobody will be holding back — so what will cause the biggest political rows?

Cliff Taylor. Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe will have to contend with some key budget battlegrounds. The carbon tax Having held off on increasing carbon tax in the last budget, the Government looks likely to go ahead this year, though the increase will be modest. Sponsored Free workshops at your Local Enterprise Office will prepare your business for customs.

Ireland must prepare for international tax turbulence. Employers are recognising the importance of supporting employees' mental health. Commenting on The Irish Times has changed.

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To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber. The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Members in the group of researchers drawn together by Missouri-based Shuls and Associates have written or testified in support of school-choice policies, such as for vouchers and charter schools, that have split members of both parties in the Arkansas General Assembly in recent years. But the head of the company and several legislative leaders said last week that those views shouldn't affect Shuls and Associates' ability to study Arkansas' education financing system in an objective manner.

Some members of the House and Senate education committees, though, said that both the timing of the company's creation and its team's education policy views were concerning. Denver-based Augenblick, Palaich and Associates also submitted a proposal for the contract to study the state's education funding procedures. Representatives from both companies will appear before the committees on Tuesday before lawmakers decide which group to select.

Reginald Murdock, D-Marianna, who is vice chairman of the House Education Committee, questioned at a meeting last week how Shuls and Associates came to apply for the state contract. Murdock's questions came after Bureau of Legislative Research attorney Jillian Thayer said that Shuls and Associates was one of the groups that she was asked by lawmakers to contact about bidding for the contract.

It becomes political and somewhat biased. We should have no affiliation at all with whoever does this. The education committees examine Arkansas' school funding formula every two years, typically making slight tweaks and inflation adjustments, but lawmakers over the past four years have increasingly called for a deeper, outside study.

In August, the committees issued a request for proposals from companies to examine and recommend potential changes to the process the committee uses every two years to determine proper education funding levels. Public education accounts for the largest single category of state spending in Arkansas. The education committees' biennial education adequacy report recommends to the governor and General Assembly how to distribute those dollars.

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The recommendations are determined using a matrix that allocates money to school districts on a per-student basis. Huckabee decision that found the state's education funding system was inadequate and unconstitutional. The formula was developed by a pair of college professors who were retained as consultants after the landmark decision, and it has remained largely unchanged.

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James Shuls, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, formed Shuls and Associates on Aug. The education committees voted Aug. Shuls said he formed the company for the sole purpose of executing the contract with the state. In a recent interview, he said he registered Shuls and Associates before the authorization of the request for proposals because he heard through education policy circles that Arkansas would soon be issuing the bid request. Shuls' company would partner with the University of Arkansas' Office for Education Policy and a handful of individuals to study Arkansas' education funding methods. Although Shuls has done consulting work in an individual capacity, he said that a project of this size and scope would require a larger team and federal tax ID number.

Shuls said he hadn't spoken with any Arkansas lawmakers about bidding for the contract. Murdock asked committee members at last week's meeting who recommended Shuls to the Bureau of Legislative Research, but no member spoke up.

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Murdock and several other Democrats on the committee said in interviews that they had concerns about Shuls' group because it lacked experience doing this type of work and because some of its members have been vocal proponents of private-school vouchers and other school-choice policies. Shuls, for instance, has written and testified in support of tax-credit voucher programs and charter-school expansion; he is also on the editorial board of the Journal of School Choice.

He was formerly the director of education policy at the Show-Me Institute, a Missouri think tank "dedicated to promoting free markets and individual liberty," where he remains a distinguished fellow of education policy.