The Tax Policy Blog

July 03, 2008

One of the Tax Foundation's principles of sound tax policy is neutrality, which states that since taxes pay for general public services enjoyed by everyone, they should be levied broadly rather than on a group of people who happen to purchase a particular product or service. The fundamental purpose of taxes is to raise necessary revenue for programs, not to micromanage a complex market economy with subsidies and penalties. High taxes on certain...

Continue Reading...
July 02, 2008

Residents of Chicago are likely to notice that goods and services cost a bit more starting yesterday. On that day, Chicago assumed the highest metropolitan sales tax rate in the nation. The new 10.25 percent rate in Cook County, approved earlier this year, was accelerated to close a budget deficit.

Additionally, dining within...

Continue Reading...
July 02, 2008

Earlier this week, the Census Bureau released its Quarterly Summary of State and Local Government Revenue for the first quarter 2008. The Rockefeller Institute of Government has parsed through the data and put together a report of findings. Some facts:

  • State tax revenue is up 1.7 percent in the first quarter of 2008, as compared to the...
Continue Reading...
July 01, 2008

[Homer finds out about the new tax to pay for fixing the town's bear problem]

Homer: Woo-hoo! A perfect day. Zero bears and one big fat hairy paycheck. [opens it up] Hey! How come my pay is so low? ... Bear patrol tax! This is an outrage! It's the biggest tax increase in history!

Lisa: Actually, Dad, it's the smallest tax increase in history.

Homer: Let the bears pay the bear tax. I pay the Homer tax.

... Continue Reading...
June 30, 2008

In November, Oregon voters will vote on Initiative 3, which would allow taxpayers full deduction of federal income taxes on Oregon state income tax returns. Currently, the deduction is limited to about $5,500. Petitioners gathered some 82,000 signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot.

Before 1974, Oregon taxpayers could fully deduct federal income taxes...

Continue Reading...
June 30, 2008

Seattle's proposed "fee" on each plastic bag (actually an excise tax, since 15 of the 20 cents is to be used for general government spending) is catching some heat for different reasons. On one hand, retailers argue that it is not neutral, since the fee only applies to grocery bags and not to other retailers who give plastic bags to customers:

"If you're going to try to change...

Continue Reading...
June 30, 2008

We're always on the lookout for strange tax policies, and South Carolina has recently supplied two. The South Carolina Legislature assembled on June 25 to reconsider several bills that had been vetoed by Gov. Mark Sanford. Here is the information from South Carolina's revenue website on two of the more interesting vetoes that were overridden by the Legislature:

The $50 Venison Income Tax Credit:

"Section 12‑6‑3750.

(A) Beginning with the...

Continue Reading...
June 30, 2008

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal–Europe discusses the impact that Obama's proposed tax changes would have on Americans living abroad:

Celebrity chef Alain Ducasse insists that his change of citizenship this week from high-tax France to no-income-tax Monaco wasn't a financial decision but an "affair of the heart." Right. But even if he's being sincere, plenty of other Frenchmen have...

Continue Reading...
June 29, 2008
  • Dubious BATSA Scoring from the NGA: As the Council on State Taxation pointed out back in 2005, the NGA study uses an imprecise methodology and is biased to overstate the BATSA revenue loss.
  • Thoughts on the BATSA Hearing: Yesterday, several Tax Foundation staffers and interns attended a hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Commercial and...
Continue Reading...
June 27, 2008

We've written a few times recently (here and here) about Canadian Liberal Party leader Stephane Dion's plan for a carbon tax, and the lackluster reception it is receiving. Dion has been trying to emphasize that the carbon tax will include redistributing tax cuts on other things, to little avail.

Over at Filibuster Cartoons, Canadian cartoonist J.J....

Continue Reading...
June 26, 2008

This Donald Duck cartoon from 1943 ("The Spirit of '43") has a message: work hard for the war effort, and use your money for income taxes and not for personal consumption. Takeaway line: "[E]very American should pay his or her income tax, gladly and proudly. This year, thanks to Hitler and Hirohito, taxes are higher than ever before."

...

Continue Reading...
June 26, 2008

[Lisa Simpson, as President of the United States]

Lisa:
If I'm going to bail the country out, I'll have to raise taxes, but in my speech I'd like to avoid calling it a, "painful emergency tax."

Milhouse:
What about, "colossal salary-grab."

Lisa:
See, that has the same problem. We need to soften the blow.

Milhouse:
Well, if you just want to out-and-out lie ... [Lisa doesn't object] Okay, we could call it a, "temporary refund adjustment."...

Continue Reading...
June 26, 2008

Senator Obama's tax plan is a dramatic redistribution of the nation's tax burden, according to a new Tax Foundation analysis.

In Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact, No. 132, Tax Foundation president Scott Hodge uses revenue estimates from the Tax Policy Center to show that Obama's plan would greatly accelerate the decades-long trend toward a federal government that depends for tax revenue almost exclusively on a few high-income people. This contrasts starkly with the McCain plan,...

Continue Reading...
June 25, 2008

A growing number of conservative economists are becoming enamored with carbon taxes as a means of using market forces to address global climate change. One of the leaders of this movement is Harvard economist Greg Mankiw who has started a "Pigou Club" named after economist Arthur Pigou who developed the idea of using taxes to reduce negative externalities resulting from market activities. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigovian_tax

... Continue Reading...

Pages

Follow Us

About the Tax Policy Blog

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.

Monthly Archive