The Tax Policy Blog

March 07, 2008

We have recently posted new data on property taxes, sales tax, gas taxes and other subjects. We update the data section of our site frequently, and we will be adding more new data at the end of the month when we announce Tax Freedom Day for 2008.

New datasets:

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March 06, 2008

Congress is currently considering bills (H.R. 1108 and S. 625) authorizing the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the tobacco industry. Largely unnoticed is the fact that this legislation would perpetuate injustice in the tax system.

Benefit Principle
Governments produce two types of services. The first type has broad benefits which aid all in society. National defense and police protection are obvious examples, and there is a general consensus that everyone...

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March 06, 2008

When Florida Governor Charlie Crist delivered his State of the State address earlier this week, many listeners were eager to hear his take on property taxes. As we have written before (here, here, and here), property taxes have long been a contentious issue in Florida. From the Miami Herald:

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March 05, 2008

In January the Tax Foundation testified before the Vermont Legislature's Ways and Means Committee on a proposal to lease the state lottery. We stated, as we have before, that a state-run lottery is a regressive, non-neutral, hidden tax, and any plan that gets the state entirely out of the lottery business is a good one.

However, a lease would not remove the state from the lottery business entirely,...

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March 05, 2008

Urban-goers seeking access to a car but not requiring its use all the time are increasingly turning to car sharing services, such as Zipcar (which merged with rival Flexcar in November). Members reserve cars online for as little as 30 minutes use, and the cost of maintaining the cars is spread over many users.

Not so with the taxes, however. Local governments have often targeted rental cars for punitive taxation, as a way of exporting tax...

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March 04, 2008

We've written that sales tax holidays are poor tax policy:

First, sales tax holidays are distortionary because they are non-neutral across products. This means that consumers have an incentive to buy products which fall under the sales tax holiday as opposed to goods that are not covered in the holiday.

Second, sales tax holidays are non-neutral over time, which means that they...

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March 04, 2008

From the IRS website:

The Internal Revenue Service announced that e-file is off to a fast start in 2008 with more than 38 million tax returns filed electronically so far.

The 2008 e-file level is up 5 percent from the 36 million returns filed for the same period last year, with double digit growth coming from taxpayers filing from their home computers.  

"E-filing continues to be the...

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March 02, 2008

Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), has a Washington Times op-ed explaining the need to cut the U.S. corporate income tax to stay internationally competitive:

Currently, the American corporate capital-gains tax rate is 35 percent, which happens to be the highest rate in its history, with the exception of 1940-41 owing to World War II. Some of our global competitors like Belgium, Hong...

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March 02, 2008

Early Saturday, the Cook County Board voted 9-8 to raise their sales tax by a percentage point, to 10.25 percent, making it the highest in the country. The tax increase, which is estimated to raise an additional $426 million per year and will close a budget deficit and fund 1,100 new (patronage?) government...

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February 29, 2008

While America's political establishment has been self-absorbed on the Democrat and Republican primaries, the U.S. has again fallen behind in the global race for better business climates. Over the past six weeks, at least a half-dozen of our major economic competitors have taken steps to cut their corporate tax rates in order to boost their economies and save jobs.

Here's a headline we would not see in the United States: ...

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February 29, 2008

This morning, the Virginia Supreme Court unanimously held that the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) is unconstitutional in Marshall v. NVTA.

The court found that the NVTA, created in 2002 and given the power to tax in 2007, exceeded its powers when it levied 7 taxes on residents of Northern Virginia. The taxes will have to be refunded in their entirety. They are:

    ...
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February 28, 2008

Nevada voters might get to weigh in on property tax changes this November if former state legislators Sharron Angle and Don Gustavson collect enough signatures to qualify an amendmet for the ballot. From Tax Analysts' State Tax Today (subscription required):

In her fourth attempt to put a Proposition 13-style constitutional amendment on...

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February 27, 2008

The Minnesota state legislature has overridden a veto by Gov. Tim Pawlenty that will raise the gas tax per gallon by a nickel. Pawlenty argued that it wasn't right to raise taxes on Minnesota families. While that question is certainly worth debating, where was this Gov. Tim Pawlenty two years ago when he signed into law a bill passed by the state legislature that raised sales taxes on families in Hennepin County (...

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February 27, 2008

Today's Wall street Journal contains an article titled "Piercing Some Common Tax Myths" that may be helpful to confused taxpayers trying to decipher the labyrinthine tax code between now and April 15:

Just when you think you've finally figured out your taxes, count on Congress to tweak the rules.

Keeping up with rapidly changing tax laws, phase-ins, phase-outs, regulations,...

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February 26, 2008

A commentary on the Cato Institute website and in the Wall Street Journal Europe today responds to the controversy over the stolen data that Germany purchased from a Liechtenstein bank. The author, Daniel J. Mitchell, argues that tax havens such as Liechtenstein play an important role.

Wealthy tax evaders may not be sympathetic figures, especially...

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