Lunch Links: Sen. Wyden Pushes to Cap Roth IRAs Among Retirement Restrictions; States Underfund Retiree Health Care by Billions; Billionaire Adelson Wants Vegas to Fund Stadium to Help Lure NFL

September 09, 2016

Today is September 9, the 100th anniversary of the federal estate tax taking effect. Currently 40 percent for estates above a threshold of $5.45 million, the tax’s rates and exemption levels have changed almost continuously since it was first enacted. It produces relatively little revenue compared to the costs of complying with it (or in most cases, ensuring estates avoid it) and ties up a lot of economic resources in tax planning. Nevertheless, today it turns 100 years old.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

Senator Calls for Higher Corporate Taxes: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) argues that businesses paid more corporate tax decades ago compared to now. This is why: the tax is still getting paid, just under the individual code. (Twitter / Tax Foundation)

Senator May Push Restrictions on Retirement: The draft from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) would cap Roth IRAs at $5 million, require cash-out of inherited IRAs within five years, and provide a tax credit match for low-income individuals’ savings of up to $1,000. (The Wall Street Journal)

Adelson Lobbies for Hotel Tax to Fund Las Vegas Stadium: Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson wants Las Vegas to have a $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat stadium, perhaps to lure the Oakland Raiders to town. He wants $750 million in public money from the county, funded by a new 0.88 percent hotel tax. County officials wonder whether benefits exceed the costs and how much supporting infrastructure will cost. Meanwhile, the Brookings Institution has a new study noting that stadiums achieve few of their economic boost promises and the federal tax code should stop subsidizing them. (Yahoo! Finance / Brookings Institution)

States Underfunding Retiree Health Care by Billions: In 2013, states had only put aside money to cover 6 percent of the $627 billion in retiree health care and other post-employment benefit promises. By 2015, the liabilities had grown another $59 billion, although 17 states managed to reduce their gap. (Route Fifty)

Bankrate Reviews Internet Sales Tax Proposal: Kay Bell explains the Goodlatte proposal with a colorful example: “Let's say, for example, a Texan wants to buy a bottle of barbecue sauce from a seller of that spicy condiment in Missouri. Grocery items generally aren't taxed in Texas, but they are in Missouri. So my Lone Star State neighbor would owe sales tax on his purchase, which serves him right since there are plenty of great BBQ sauces here! And what would that rate be? Texas officials would decide, even though they typically don't tax grocery-sold food.” (Bankrate)

Does Your State Tax Business Inventory? Our new map looks at this arbitrary tax on businesses that happen to have inventory. Most states don’t do it. (Tax Foundation)

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