The Tax Policy Blog

January 29, 2009

This is the time of year when governors present to their constituents their visions for the coming year, sometimes full of detailed plans and other times mostly empty rhetoric.  Tax policy, of course, is one of the main topics covered.

For anyone who missed his or her governor's address or wants to know what other states' governors have proposed, Stateline.org is a useful resource. This page contains...

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January 29, 2009

A new IRS report (PDF) analyzing the 400 individual tax returns with the highest AGIs in each year between 1992 and 2006 clearly shows that wealthy Americans are not a static elite club that no one can penetrate. Indeed, the report indicates a great deal of churning among the top 400 over the 15-year period analyzed. As the text below summarizes, some 40 percent of the richest 400 are new to the club each year and only about 27...

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January 29, 2009

In the blog posting below, "IRS Report Shows the "Rich" Are Not Monolithic," Scott Hodge describes new data from the IRS on the top 400 taxpayers that shows that income dynamics are alive and well in the United States.  These data reflect the findings from a more detailed and comprehensive study on income dynamics released by the Treasury Department in November 2007, Income Mobility in the U.S...

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January 29, 2009

With the economy now in recession since December 2007 and shedding nearly two million jobs during this time, the new Administration is quite sensibly focused on how to best get the economy moving again. It has put forward an economic stimulus package of more than $800 billion composed primarily of higher spending, but also with tax cuts.

It should be noted that this stimulus package is the third round of stimulus in less than twelve months. The first round, the Economic Stimulus Act...

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January 28, 2009

With a new Congress and a new administration focused on a short term stimulus proposal to get America out of the current economic downturn, others are focused on long term plans involving taxes to spur investment, create jobs and increase our standard of living. In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge discusses corporate tax reform proposals and global tax competition with...

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January 28, 2009

The Cato Institute has a full-page letter in the New York Times today signed by 200 economists, regarding assertions by President Obama and Vice-President Biden that "all economists" support the spending stimulus proposals put forth by the Administration...

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January 28, 2009

While the Florida and Maryland legislatures have declined to repeat their former sales tax holidays for 2008 and 2009, one legislator wants to establish a new sales tax holiday in Maine.  State Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess (R-Cumberland) notes that "Maine's retail sector needs help," and thinks...

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January 28, 2009

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) has introduced a bill to exempt residents of Washington D.C. from paying federal taxes.  Those who complain about "taxation without representation" in the District generally promote voting rights as a solution; however, Gohmert (also a proponent of D.C. voting rights) has shown there is another way to skin this cat.

Let me just say, as a resident of the District of...

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January 28, 2009

Senator Jim Webb makes some excellent points in his proposed amendment to the bill that reauthorizes and expands a public health insurance program (CHIP, formerly called S-CHIP). Webb prefers not to rely exclusively on tobacco taxes.

He makes some of the same arguments that the Tax Foundation has made, that because tobacco is mainly a vice of the poor, the cigarette tax is...

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January 27, 2009

Even state officials who pronounce their opposition to tax increases seem willing to hit up smokers in 2009. For whatever reason, imposing punitive taxes on an unpopular political minority is seen as an easy way to raise revenue for programs benefitting all society (not just smokers, but also users of hotel rooms, rental cars, liquor, fatty foods, and gambling).

Dozens of states are expected to put cigarette tax hikes on the table in 2009, and we've had many requests for a...

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January 27, 2009

Staff Economist Josh Barro, author of the 2009 State Business Tax Climate Index, appeared on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight last Friday, January 23, to talk about rising property tax burden around the country.

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January 27, 2009

The Congressional Budget Office has released an official cost estimate of the House-passed "economic stimulus" plan, H.R. 1 The American Economy and Reinvestment Act of 2009. http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/99xx/doc9968/hr1.pdf  The report confirms suspicions that the plan has turned into a vehicle for Congressional largess with almost no coherent strategy for improving the economy.

According to CBO, the plan includes $604...

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January 26, 2009

After mentioning that he considered appointing Oprah Winfrey to the U.S. Senate, embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) had this to say:

"The fix is in," Blagojevich told "GMA." "They want me out of the way" so the Illinois Legislature can enact a large tax increase, he said.

Lest we forget, it was Blagojevich himself in 2007 who pushed...

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January 26, 2009

From the Christian Science Monitor:

The economic stimulus plan now moving through Congress would shower billions of federal dollars on state and local governments desperate for cash.

The House stimulus bill includes an extra $87 billion in federal aid to state Medicaid programs, for instance. It allots some $120 billion to boost state and city...

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January 26, 2009

Last week was a good one for the Tax Foundation appearing in newspaper editorial pages. Here's a sampling:

David Lazarus, columnist for the Los Angeles Times, uses Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner's tax mistakes to make a larger point about the tax code's complexity:

Add yet another thing to President-elect Barack Obama's to-do list: Tax reform.

...

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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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