The Tax Policy Blog

November 17, 2007

Today, President Bush used his weekly radio address to call on Congress to pass an AMT patch immediately so as to limit any possible problems for the 2008 tax filing season. Here's text from the President's address:

To deal with this problem, Congress has in recent years passed temporary legislation that prevented most middle-class taxpayers from having to pay the AMT. But this year, Congress has yet to pass this legislation. A failure to do so would mean that 25 million...

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November 16, 2007

The new case that NY tax authorities are bringing against Yankee star Derek Jeter may sound like another case of the "jock tax," but it's quite different.

New York tax authorities already collect state income tax on Derek Jeter's Yankee salary as part of the so-called jock tax, officially called the athletes and entertainers tax or just the non-resident income tax. Like other employees of sports franchises, it doesn't matter where Jeter...

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November 16, 2007

According to the Associated Press, a bipartisan reform commission has recommended junking a series of special-interest sales tax exemptions:

McKay's plan is aimed at repealing exclusions for services ranging from landscaping to lawyering as well as commodity exemptions for such things as ostrich feed and skybox leases at professional sports stadiums.

The committee plans...

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November 15, 2007

Tonight's Democratic debate in Las Vegas will undoubtedly bring up the issue of the war in Iraq, but tax policy issues, especially what to do about the Bush tax cuts, have come up in previous debates as well. Here are some questions on fiscal policy that we would like to see asked of the candidates.

(1) Most of you favor making the tax system more progressive and your first instinct to accomplishing this is to raise marginal tax rates. And most of you, especially Senator Obama, have...

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November 14, 2007

The Chicago City Council passed Mayor Daley's budget yesterday, which included a five-cent tax per unit of bottled water sold in the city, in addition to a fairly large property tax hike. From the Chicago Tribune:

Brushing off a rare show of opposition, Mayor Richard Daley won easy City Council approval Tuesday of a spending and tax plan that will tap into the...

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November 14, 2007

In recent years there has been much talk of increasing cigarette taxes to raise revenue, to stop people from smoking, and to fund health-care spending. These proposals have ignited debates over "sin taxes," tax-induced crime, the use of narrowly targeted taxes, and the appropriateness of...

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November 14, 2007

In the new BusinessWeek, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel seems to greatly expand the "third rail" of American politics.

That famous metaphor has always referred to Social Security: any politician who dared propose cutting Social Security benefits or taxes would be said to have stepped on the third rail, electrocuting his career.

Chairman Rangel told Maria Bartiromo that there are...

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November 13, 2007

Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning (R), who is also a member of the Senate Finance Committee, has called for a repeal of the alternative minimum tax (AMT), arguing that it hurts too many "ordinary Americans." From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning said Tuesday he has introduced legislation to repeal a tax originally targeted at the wealthy but that now affects millions of middle-income people.

...

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November 13, 2007

Rates on Wages, Corporate Income and General Sales to Rise at Once, with Tobacco, Cars and Hotels Thrown in for Good Measure

The Preakness may be in danger, but Maryland has a new type of triple crown. We can't find any record of any state government's having raised every one of its major taxes at the same time. Maryland is about to do just that, and its legislators haven't sugar-coated the tax pill (or bill) they're sending their constituents.

Every...

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November 12, 2007

New Jersey, especially Gov. Corzine, has taken a lot of criticism from this blog, but on Sunday, sound tax policy prevailed at the governor's mansion. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

New Jersey Gov. Corzine conditionally vetoed a proposed tax break yesterday sought by major media companies and those looking to lure high-tech firms to the state, but the bill's sponsor said he would look...

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November 12, 2007

♦ "The taxpayer—that's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination."
                      ~Ronald Reagan

♦ "The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has.  Even when you make a tax form out on the level, you don't know when it's through if you are a crook or a martyr."
                       ~Will Rogers

♦ "There may be liberty and justice for all, but there are tax breaks only...

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November 09, 2007

Yesterday, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that Initiative 747, which limits property tax increases to 1 percent per year, is unconstitutional. The court split 5-4 in the case, Washington Citizens Action v. State, with the majority holding that I-747 was ambiguous as to its effects on property taxes.

The majority held that because I-747 was an amendment to a law that had already been declared...

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November 09, 2007

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November 08, 2007

The Maryland Senate's tax committee has so far rejected O'Malley's wise suggestion to expand the sales tax to health club memberships, tanning salons and massage therapists, instead choosing to tax computer service companies and landscaping companies. The Baltimore Sun has correctly excoriated the senators for political cowardice (the health club industry whined) but has not...

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November 08, 2007

Anyone who relocates for a job knows what a hassle it can be: finding a new house, packing everything up, shipping furniture, and transporting pets. It can also be expensive. But these costs, for people who meet certain criteria, are tax-deductible. The details are spelled out in IRS Publication 521:

Household goods and personal effects.
You can deduct the cost of packing,...

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