The Tax Policy Blog

April 22, 2009

It's Earth Day today, and Congress began hearings on a carbon cap-and-trade bill. It's still unclear how the Obama administration came to their revenue estimates from auctions of carbon allowances, and it's unclear what the revenue will be used for.

One thing is clear: any policy that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, whether it's a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax, will have real burdens on American households. We won't get into the arguments as to whether or not there...

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April 22, 2009

Missouri lawmakers are considering a drastic change to their tax system. A bill recently passed by the state’s House of Representatives would allow residents to vote on a Constitutional amendment that would eliminate corporate and individual income taxes in the state and replace them with a broad based sales tax. The plan is essentially a state version of the national...

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April 20, 2009

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia currently run lotteries, with a forty-third to start soon  in Arkansas. Now it looks like the number might rise to forty-four within the next few years.

From Lottery Post:

The Nevada Assembly voted Wednesday for a lottery in the nation's No. 1 gambling state, despite arguments that it would compete with slot machines and other games...

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April 18, 2009

I'm just now getting caught up on e-mail, after a very busy month of tax law and state tax policy. Here are some interesting articles that all deserve their own blog post if only there was more time:

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April 17, 2009

In Colorado cigarettes have been exempt from the state’s 2.9% general sales tax since the middle of the 20th century. Now the Denver Post reports that Democrats in the state’s legislature are pushing a plan to eliminate that sales tax exemption, which they say will raise $38...

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April 17, 2009

The District of Columbia has retracted its statement that non-residents would receive lower emergency unemployment benefits than DC residents. We had blogged about the disparity here, but that passage has been removed from the web site of the DC Department of Employment Services, and an official there has confirmed by phone to an applicant that the offending passage resulted from a misinterpretation of unemployment insurance laws.

April 16, 2009

One of the Obama tax cuts for 2009 is to forgive income taxes on the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits. At the same time as that was enacted, Congress offered states a 100% federally funded extension of unemployment benefits: 13 weeks for states with unemployment rates above 6.5% and 20 weeks for states with unemployment rates over 8%. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics will update them tomorrow here, but for today,...

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April 16, 2009

The filing deadline for federal income taxes, as well as the Tax Day Tea Party protests, brought a new wave of media coverage for us. I appeared on CNN last night to talk about federal, state and local tax burdens; staff economist Josh Barro did a live segment yesterday morning on Fox Business News to compare tax situations in different states. While we don't yet have the video...

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April 16, 2009

Here's a great 4 minute video from the Cato Institute on the costs of increasing complexity in the tax code, featuring Director of Tax Policy Studies Chris Edwards, Senior Fellow Dan Mitchell and Director of Information Policy Studies Jim Harper.

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April 16, 2009

A little over a week ago, we featured a pretty awesone interactive infographic on Tax Freedom Day from Alex Lundry, Research Director at TargetPoint (a microtargeting/public opinion/market research firm based in Alexandria, VA).

Now Alex created two other interactive infographics...

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April 15, 2009

Whew, we've been getting quite a few website visits, e-mails, phone calls, and media inquiries this week. We're struggling to keep up with it all, but we're happy to do it!

If you're looking for some nifty handouts or signs using our Tax Freedom Day® materials, check this link out. Here's more about Tax Freedom Day (the national date this year is April 13; click the link for each...

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April 15, 2009

Tax Facts

  • In 2005, the estimated time and money cost of complying with the federal Internal Revenue Code was 6 billion man-hours worth $265 billion.
  • The code that year stood at 7 million words in 736 code sections, up from 718,000 words in 103 code sections in 1955. By contrast, the King James Bible has 788,280 words in 66 books, the Harry Potter series has just over 1 million words in 7 books, and the English translation of...
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April 15, 2009

Congress is currently in recess, but issues of taxes, government spending and economic growth continue to be on the minds of Americans. Monday, April 13 was Tax Freedom Day, the date on which Americans will have worked long enough to have earned enough money to pay this year's tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels. The Tax Foundation also recently released a poll showing that 56% of Americans believe that...

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April 15, 2009

10 Myths in Tax Policy

1. You aren't legally required to pay the federal income tax (for whatever reason, such as 16th Amendment was never ratified)

Researchers and activists sometimes make claims like this, but it should be treated as an academic argument and not advice for taxpayers. The federal income tax is here and it is collected; not paying it means fines, penalties, and often jail time. We at the Tax Foundation work for a...

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April 15, 2009

Recession chic is in, and on Monday Consumerist posted a list of 112 reader-submitted tips for saving money in these lean times.  The tips range from the obvious (don't buy things you won't use) to the bizarre (run your Ziploc bags through the washing machine and reuse them) to the gross ("sew your own reusable ladies' sanitary items.")

Unfortunately, a couple of the tips advise Consumerist readers to avoid sales tax...

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Subscribe to Tax Foundation - Tax Foundation's Tax Policy Blog The Tax Policy Blog is the official blog 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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