The Tax Policy Blog

June 27, 2007

Forbes.com has a great piece today from AEI scholar Alan Viard regarding the central planning that goes on on Capitol Hill by some members of Congress. In summary, they use the tax code to give favorable treatment to those they like and in return impose higher taxes on those they don't like. Sounds more like the old Soviet Union than the United States. From Viard's piece entitled "...

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June 22, 2007

It doesn't always take an economist to point out the perils of bad tax policy. In response to the 49-cent per-pack cigarette tax increase included in Connecticut's proposed 2007-08 budget—about a 33% increase—the New Haven Register interviewed local smokers, who accurately described the problems caused by imposing such high taxes on cigarettes—problems that...

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June 20, 2007

Today, the Senate Finance Committee passed a measure that would provide more tax incentives for renewable energy while at the same time imposing heavy taxes on petroleum-based products. From Delaware Online (via AP):

A proposal to hit oil companies with $29 billion in new taxes advanced in the Senate on Tuesday, targeting the money to energy conservation,...

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June 19, 2007

fThe Tax Foundation has posted a new table to the website comparing how different states receive revenue from gas taxes versus the money collected from toll roads. Four states—New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Alaska—receive more revenue from toll collections than from gas tax receipts. The Empire State collects over four times more from tolls than gas taxes. Some states have no toll revenue.

Why do some states rely so heavily on tolls...

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June 18, 2007

We often get questions about how property taxes work, and a Supreme Court case this past week answered some interesting questions about tax liens and diplomatic immunity.

New York City is home for many foreign diplomatic missions, including India's mission to the United Nations. Because the 26-story building is owned by a foreign government, and foreign governments are immune from taxation, New York cannot collect property taxes on it.

However, a few years ago, New York City...

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June 18, 2007

There are many stories in the news about property taxes lately. To raise this important source of local revenue, counties and states have varying ways of assessing land and improvements for tax purposes.

Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, uses a "base year" (2002) for calculating taxes, so changes in value from 2002 to 2007 are not considered. With the recent fall-off in housing prices, this has created disparities within the county. For example, in Edgewood borough, prices...

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June 18, 2007

Property tax reform in Florida is set to face the voters next January. The legislature recently passed a two-part measure that first includes immediate relief and then puts on the ballot a significant tax reform measure for next January. From Florida Today:

Now that the politicians have spoken, Florida's property tax debate is headed for a seven-month public...

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June 15, 2007

Massachusetts is the most recent in a long line of states to consider increasing gambling revenue (casino taxes and implicit lottery taxes) to fill state coffers.

From an Associated Press article titled "State Auditor says casino gambling in Mass. may be inevitable":

The state's auditor is the latest high-ranking official to get behind the idea of expanded gambling in...

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June 13, 2007

We have recently updated some of the datasets on our website and added a few new ones. All of these charts can be found in the Data section of our site, and the Research Areas page lists all data and studies by topic. 

Here are the most recent additions:

State and Local Government General Revenue by Source, 2005

State Government General Revenue by...

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June 07, 2007

Tennessee is the latest state to raise the cigarette tax as a general revenue source, largely because it is easy politically to pass tax hikes on a political minority. But they don't want to stop at 42 cents. They need another 3 cents out of smokers to give money to veterans. From the Knoxville News Sentinel:

House Democrats, in a surprise move, acted Wednesday to give...

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June 06, 2007

Remember the Cuno case? That was the case where the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Ohio's investment tax credit--available to any company that made a physical investment in Ohio--as discrimination against interstate commerce. In striking down Ohio's credit, the Sixth Circuit adopted an "economic effect" test suggested by the plaintiffs:

"(T)he economic effect of the Ohio...

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June 04, 2007

It is the 11th hour in the debate over replacing the Michigan Single Business Tax. Both the House (controlled by Democrats) and the Senate (controlled by Republicans) have conceded that the replacement should be revenue-neutral and feature a tax on business profits. The major remaining point of contention is whether the replacement plan should also contain a tax on net worth (House) or gross receipts (Senate).

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June 04, 2007

Debates about tax policy often include assertions that a tax is progressive (rates rise on higher incomes, therefore high earners pay a larger proportion of their income in taxes) or regressive (usually flat rates, therefore low earners pay a larger proportion of their income in taxes). The federal income tax is often described as progressive, and state sales taxes are often called regressive.

We don't often hear about a tax with degressive rates...

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June 04, 2007

We've released a new report today exploring the distribution of federal, state and local tax burdens and government expenditures by age group in 2004. It’s a spin-off project from the larger fiscal incidence model we built back in March, and provides many new insights into the priorities of lawmakers and the impact of the nation's fiscal system over the course of a lifetime. Here are some key findings:

• As...
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June 01, 2007

The Tax Foundation has released a new study that takes aim at the political rhetoric that is taking place on the issue of the Alternative Minimum Tax. Many politicians on Capitol Hill want it both ways. They say the Bush tax cuts primarily benefited the wealthy and did little for the middle class, while they also say that AMT is now a significant burden on the middle class. This Fiscal Fact shows that the additional AMT hit that many taxpayers are...

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Subscribe to Tax Foundation - Tax Foundation's Tax Policy Blog The Tax Policy Blog is the official weblog of the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization that has monitored tax policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937. Our economists welcome your feedback. If you would like to send an e-mail to the author of a blog post, please click on that person's name to locate his or her e-mail address or visit our staff page here.

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