The Tax Policy Blog

April 11, 2008

Earlier this week, two economic policy research organizations that tend to favor a larger role for government, the Economic Policy Institute and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, released a joint report detailing how income inequality has grown over the past few decades within individual states. The report is available here. From the report, there are two key issues that need to be addressed further: declining...

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April 11, 2008

On most fiscal policy issues that come up in Washington, there is disagreement among reserach organizations regarding what is good or bad tax policy. But on the recent housing bill that passed the U.S. Senate and gave billions in more tax breaks for housing, the tax policy research community is in unanimous agreement.

Researchers from the following organizations have stated that this bill is bad tax policy: Heritage...

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April 11, 2008

States seeking a neutral, transparent sales tax system should exempt all business-to-business transactions and impose sales tax only on final retail sales of goods and services. Because many states continue to impose sales tax on business-to-business inputs, examining the tax treatment of a variety of such transactions can provide insight into the neutrality and transparency of a state's overall tax system.

While income tax exemptions for nonprofit hospitals may not be...

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April 10, 2008

While the Senate is busy finalizing what amounts to terrible tax policy, the House Ways and Means Committee has said "Don't forget about us! We can make bad tax policy too."

You cannot make this stuff up, folks. It is maddening. The House Ways & Means Committee has voted to make the IRS the new Freddie Mac. The committee passed yesterday an $11 billion Housing Assistance Tax Act. As today's Daily Tax Report explains, it would create a "refundable tax credit of up to $7,...

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April 09, 2008

The Maryland legislature has passed a provision that would require all tax preparers to become licensed, thereby paying a registration fee and passing an examination. Economists have a term for this. It's called occupational licensing, and while it can have the benefit of greater knowledge for the consumer, it typically has one major long-term side effect: higher prices.

...

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April 09, 2008

Today Maryland Governor O'Malley signed into law the final piece of the state's major tax overhaul, an eighth tax rate and bracket on personal income. A new Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact, "Maryland Flouts Regional Tax Competition with Historic Tax Hike," by Bill Ahern provides a quick analysis of the tax hike and points out that middle-income taxpayers in Maryland were and still are paying higher income taxes than in any border state.

In only five U.S. states—...

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April 08, 2008

In the last moments of Maryland's legislative session, the problematic computer services tax was repealed. It had been scheduled to take effect on July 1. In its place, however, the Legislature is "temporarily" imposing a new top individual income tax rate of 6.25 percent on the 6,000 Marylanders who had incomes over $1 million, for...

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April 07, 2008

A joint World Bank-PricewaterhouseCoopers study "Paying Taxes 2008: The Global Picture" compares the world's countries on the ease of paying taxes. The United States ranks 76th out of 178 countries, weighed down by the hours needed to comply with tax laws (122nd in the world) and total tax rate (102nd in the world).

The 12 countries where it's easiest to pay taxes are: Maldives (1), Singapore (2), Hong Kong (3...

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April 05, 2008

Steve Pearlstein of the Washington Post had a rather amusing yet at the same time somewhat scary look at the current debacle that is taking place in the U.S. Senate with regards to housing and the tax code. It's scary because what he says is true, and it says a lot for the state of tax policy in America.

Hold on to your wallets, Mr. and Mrs...

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April 04, 2008

Yesterday, Tonya recapped our trip to Mississippi, where we had the opportunity to testify before the State Tax Study Commission, which was established by Governor Haley Barbour to prepare a comprehensive study of the state's tax system and recommend improvements by this coming summer.

We took the opportunity to present a new paper outlining recommendations for the Commission to consider, and I must...

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April 04, 2008

It's pretty ironic that there appears to be such widespread support in the United States Senate for expanding tax preferences for housing (see most recent Cardin press release which will be voted on today), yet such widespread opposition in almost every policy research organization in Washington, whether conservative or liberal.

The Heritage Foundation...

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April 04, 2008

Rarely do we see such a blatant example of demagoguery as this from the Illinois state legislature.

SPRINGFIELD -- A state lawmaker wants voters to decide if people making more than $250,000 a year should have their Illinois income tax doubled, with the billions of new dollars paying for education, roads and tax breaks for everyone else.
     If successful in Springfield, the question would be put to voters in November. If voters endorse...

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April 04, 2008

A few weeks ago we pointed out that the IRS will be spending $200 million publicizing and processing stimulus rebate checks, which we noted is more than was spent airing all the ads at the last Super Bowl.

Drawing on this, the Tax Girl blog has launched a Tax Rebate Super Bowl Commercial contest: design an ad that will advertise the stimulus payments going out...

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April 04, 2008

Hillary Clinton has released her tax returns. You can download them from the links below:

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 |...

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April 04, 2008

"Optimist: Someone who sets aside two hours to do his income tax return."
                         —Author Unknown

"The present tax code is about 10 times longer than the Bible, a lot more complicated, and, unlike the Bible, contains no good news."
                          —Don Nickles, former U.S. senator,

"Taxation without representation is tyranny. "
                           —A slogan of the Revolutionary War and the years before,...

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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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