The Tax Policy Blog

November 18, 2008

Wow! The map I posted of state and local combined sales tax rates got over 900 hits yesterday (not counting people just viewing it as they look at the blog) and lots of links. Here are some shout outs:

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November 18, 2008

My recent Fiscal Fact on New York City's budget shortfall erroneously claimed that the Mayor had the authority to cancel a scheduled $400 property tax rebate without any legislative approval.  In fact, the cancellation would require approval from the City Council, which does not appear likely to grant its assent.  I regret the error.

My source from this error was a document issued by, er, the office of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg...

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November 18, 2008

San Jose, California's Measure B went before voters earlier this month, proposing a 1/8-cent sales tax increase to fund operations of a proposed extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system. On the day after the election, though, it looked like Measure B would fall just short with only 66.3% of the vote.

Counting of absentee and provisional ballots has continued, and that percentage has slowly inched up. It looks like many of these ballots split 70-30 for the tax,...

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November 17, 2008

While it's always nice to see Tax Foundation material cited in the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, we are just as excited when we see our studies in student publications at colleges and universities.

Allysia Finley writes an op-ed in The Stanford Daily, an independent publication, on fiscal responsibility in government:

"Under Obama’s tax plan, 48 percent...

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November 14, 2008

The National Association of Realtors, our favorite lobby here at the Tax Foundation, is pressuring its members to urge Congress to steal on its behalf more from taxpayers. Here's the organization's four-point plan:

NAR has urged Congress to include the following provisions in any future legislation:

  • Make the $7500 tax credit available to all purchasers and eliminate the...
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November 13, 2008

Washington D.C.'s Metro transit agency continues its second day of negotiations with Belgian bank KBC Group, although they reportedly have stalled. The parties will appear again before Judge Rosemary M. Collyer tomorrow.

Bond Buyer wrote up an excellent piece on the transit agency/SILO situation...

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November 13, 2008

Polk County TNPhoto credit Dan Lehr

Earlier this week, the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled that Polk County, Tennessee's tax on whitewater rafting (a key...

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November 13, 2008

So the auto industry is in trouble, as it has been for about the last decade for a variety of reasons. So what's the solution? Loans, of course, from the taxpayers, and as always when a politician is seeking ways to subsidize an industry in a way that doesn't look like spending, handouts via the tax code. Daily Tax Report reports that Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is proposing two new tax breaks for the auto industry relating to the consumption side (so it won't look like a handout...

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November 12, 2008

Attorneys for DC's transit agency appeared before a federal judge today seeking an injunction preventing a Belgian bank from obtaining $43 million in termination fees:

The hearing, before U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer, is being watched by transit agencies and other public entities across the country. Many of them entered into similar deals years...

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November 11, 2008

Business owners and activists in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which includes the Pittsburgh metro area, have been fighting the county’s controversial drink tax for months. The 10% tax on drinks served in the county, along with a $2 per day car rental tax, was authorized last year with the purpose of providing $32 million annually in matching funds to Port Authority Transit, the company that provides mass transportation for the county. Groups like Friends Against...

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November 11, 2008

A USA Today story gives readers a good idea why state governments are falling short of revenue -- they're spending even faster now than they were a year ago when the economy was doing much better. From reporter Dennis Cauchon's story:

Even as the economy slides into recession, many state and local governments continue to spend freely and expand their workforces.

...
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November 10, 2008

While Californians are mulling Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R)'s proposed sales tax increase into double-digit territory (see here and here), on Thursday he also came out with a proposal to hike taxes employers pay into the unemployment insurance fund:

Businesses currently are taxed on the first $7,000 a year that an...

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November 10, 2008

From today's Washington Post:

President-elect Barack Obama plans to push ahead with a middle-class tax cut soon after taking office, his choice for White House chief of staff said yesterday.

Rahm Emanuel also hinted that Obama would not postpone a tax increase for families earning more than $250,000 a year despite the deepening economic gloom...

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November 07, 2008

Yesterday we discussed California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R)'s proposal to raise the state's sales tax by 1.5 percentage points. His office's statement described the current tax rate as "5 percent" and the increased rate as "6.5 percent."

This is misleading because the lowest sales tax rate in California is 7.25 percent, with many areas paying a half-point or full point more, and at least one area (South Gate, CA) hitting 9.25...

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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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