The Tax Policy Blog

December 27, 2008

North Dakota's government has been running consistent surpluses, as we documented in our report on Measure 2, a proposal to cut income taxes that did not pass in November. The current biennial budget will end with a $392 million surplus, even after a $111 million transfer to the state's already $600 million rainy day fund. Gov. John Hoeven (R) recently proposed spending the surplus on capital projects, and...

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December 27, 2008

Tax Foundation Director of State Projects Joseph Henchman will be appearing on C-SPAN's Washington Journal tomorrow morning (Sunday, December 28) from 9:00 AM to 9:40 AM Eastern time to discuss state budget situations and possible tax increases. The format will be ten minutes of interview followed by thirty minutes of viewer calls.

December 26, 2008

Halfway through the $170 billion 2008-09 biennial budget, Texas officials are now estimating a $2 billion surplus (down from earlier estimates of as much as $11 billion), plus $9 billion in a rainy day fund and $3 billion set aside for property tax relief. The new and problematic gross receipts margins tax is collecting...

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December 26, 2008

Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) is now estimating a budget shortfall of between $884 million and $1.02 billion (out of a $27 billion budget). The estimate has accelerated, with Bredesen in August warning departments to cut spending by 3%, revised to 10% in November, then 15%, and now 20%. The state may extend...

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December 26, 2008

Wyoming banked a $500 million surplus from the first half of 2008, thanks in part to high energy prices, which adds to an accumulated surplus from past years. Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) has proposed an additional $500 million in spending on top of the...

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December 26, 2008

Gov. Jim Doyle (D), in urging Congress to approve a bailout for state governments, reported that the state faces a $5.4 billion budget shortfall over the next two years in a $28 billion budget. (This number has been criticized since it assumes $4 billion in new spending increases.) Hardest hit...

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December 26, 2008

West Virginia has a budget surplus, and Gov. Joe Manchin (D) will unveil an update in February. Revenues are running so ahead of projections that they are expected to cover any future budget shortfall next year. However, sales, corporate, and severance tax collections are down. The government recently announced an expansion of state Medicare...

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December 26, 2008

Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) is probably using the Washington Monument ploy to increase pressure for a federal bailout of the states when she dramatically announced $3 billion in reductions from the $33.5 billion biennial budget, including a suspension on government worker pay raises (already the subject of a...

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December 26, 2008

Vermont lawmakers are discussing possible increases to income and gasoline taxes, over Gov. Jim Douglas (R)'s opposition, to address a budget shortfall estimated to be $66 million this year and $200 million next year out of a $4.3 billion budget. Douglas has proposed $20 million in...

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December 26, 2008

Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. (R) has pushed a $1 billion reduction in spending from the $10.6 billion state budget. Huntsman set a 7 percent budget reduction goal, to be met with layoffs, a 3-4 percent cut in education spending, cutting $4.7 million from a $12...

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December 24, 2008

We've already written about the tax challenges faced by the Easter Bunny, and now an amusing YouTube video from IRSMind.com portrays Santa learning about the complexities of the tax code as he gets audited.

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December 24, 2008

Even Jolly Old St. Nicholas gets in on the political commentary sometimes. Enjoy!

Taxing Santa in 1921: A cartoon featured in Harper's Weekly.

Obama Claus in 2008: A cartoon featured in the Economist.

December 23, 2008

Tax Watch is the Tax Foundation's quarterly tax policy newsletter, presenting our economic research and analysis in a simple, non-technical format—ideal for the non-economist looking for a clear explanation of current tax issues.

Highlights from the Winter 2009 issue include:

  • Recession Blues:...
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