The Tax Policy Blog

April 23, 2008

The New York Times and Washington Post had two articles today discussing McCain's economic policies and his economic staff. First, David Leonhardt wrote a column in the New York Times that focused mostly on McCain's advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, who is widely respected in tax policy circles in Washington.

Another McCain article...

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April 23, 2008

One of the ten principles of sound tax policy is transparency: tax decisions should be made openly, and it should be clear who and what is being taxed. This is to ensure that the benefits and costs of our tax system are understood by those who have the power to change it.

Currently, many taxes are not transparent; instead some are embedded in prices. For example, many state sales taxes are applied not only to final...

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April 23, 2008

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial discussed the rise of heavy cell phone taxes:

A recent analysis by economist Scott Mackey in the journal State Tax Notes shows that the average monthly tax burden on wireless customers is more than 15% – double the average sales tax burden. In some states, such as New York (big surprise), the total tax bite is more than 20%.

The topic...

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April 23, 2008

Happy Tax Freedom Day!

Today is Tax Freedom Day, and our experts have been busy all day giving radio, TV, and print interviews. Every year Tax Freedom Day receives extensive media coverage, both at the national level and in the states. Following are just a few of the recent articles and interviews that have addressed Tax Freedom Day.

Audio (MP3): Tax Foundation Senior Economist Gerald Prante...

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April 22, 2008

Environmental issues have become even more front and center in recent years, and tax policy is in the middle of it all. Any introductory economics student will learn about a concept called externalities, whereby a market transaction between two parties (buyer and sellers) has some spillover effect on a third party that the buyer and seller are not concerned with. Externalities can be either positive or negative. The classic example of a negative externality is pollution. The buyer of steel...

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April 22, 2008

With the 2008 election in full swing, a number of key domestic policy issues have come to the fore. Whether it is addressing health care reform, economic issues, climate change, or reforming the tax code, a lively debate is unfolding amongst the three remaining candidates. However, given the nature of the primary process, it is difficult to take an in-depth, side by side look at the various policies and plans of Senators Clinton, Obama and McCain.

Please join us for lively discussion...

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April 22, 2008

Most people have heard of Tax Freedom Day by now. For the few who haven't, Tax Freedom Day is the day on which Americans have earned enough money to pay all their federal, state and local taxes for the year. On Tax Freedom Day, we have earned enough to pay the government and we can finally start keeping our paychecks for ourselves and our families. It's a great way to illustrate how much the nation as a whole pays in taxes. We also calculate a Tax Freedom Day for each state.

In 2008...

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April 17, 2008

In last night's Democratic presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, moderator Charlie Gibson and Obama had the following exchange (courtesy of ABC News). Video is available here courtesy of the Say Anything blog.

GIBSON: All...

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April 16, 2008

Yesterday, John McCain released a set of economic policies that he would push if elected president. Some are good. Some are not so good. One of the not so good policies is the increase in the personal exemption for dependents. The Tax Foundation estimates that such a provision, if it were in place in tax year 2008 (along with an AMT patch), would cost approximately $24 billion in revenue relative to the baseline of current law with AMT patch. Relative to other years' baselines, the cost may...

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April 16, 2008

Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry has signed into law a 130-page omnibus bill that, among many other things, creates a $10,000 one-time income tax deduction for unreimbursed costs associated with donating all or part of a liver, pancreas, kidney, intestine, lung, or bone marrow (Section 37, pages 89-90). The bill directs the Oklahoma Tax Commission to write rules outlining what would be a deductible...

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April 16, 2008

Let's be straight. When you are going to let the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors® tell you what is good tax policy, you might as well throw out everything you ever learned in ECON 101 or basic public finance. They aren't trying to tell you what is good tax policy for the nation. They are trying to tell you what is good tax policy for themselves. And despite what you may hear, policies that are good for housing are not necessarily good for the...

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April 16, 2008

The Tax Foundation, in a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the South Dakota Supreme Court, urges that state to stop its discriminatory insurance tax system that taxes out-of-state companies at twice the rate of in-state companies. The case, Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Kinsman, is currently before the court on a petition for rehearing.

Since explicit discrimination in rates was struck down as violating the Equal Protection...

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April 16, 2008

Some observations on how taxes were discussed in tonight's high profile Democratic debate: 

Best comment of the night on tax policy: Obama refuting Hillary Clinton regarding the payroll tax cap. Clinton used rhetoric that it would hit firefighters and educators. Obama essentially asked how many firefighters and teachers make over $102,000 ($97,500 in 2007)? He also pointed out to Clinton that the Social Security reform done in the 1980s actually raised the retirement age and raised...

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April 15, 2008

The Tax History Project recently added Franklin Delano Roosevelt's tax returns to its collection of presidential tax returns.

Also on the site are returns for George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon.  In addition, Richard Cheney, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain are included.

The first thing we noticed on...

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April 15, 2008

April 15 probably conjures up images of tedium and drudgery for most people (even in the nation's capital), but the history of Tax Day is actually fascinating—at least we here at the Tax Foundation think so. If you're looking for reading material to help you pass the time while waiting in line to mail your tax return (or...

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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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