The Tax Policy Blog

April 06, 2009

On April 1, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Polar Tankers, Inc. v. City of Valdez, No. 08-310. The case involves Valdez's property tax on large oil tankers who service the port, which is at the southern end of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline (see map right). We went over the...

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April 04, 2009

Interesting article on out-migration from Michigan:

People are leaving Michigan at a staggering rate. About 109,000 more people left Michigan last year than moved in. It is one of the worst rates in the nation, quadruple the loss of just eight years ago. The state loses a family every 12 minutes, and...

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April 03, 2009

From the BBC:

Costa Rica, Malaysia, the Philippines and Uruguay are the countries listed as not having agreed to tax standards.

The list is part of efforts agreed at the G20 summit to clamp down on havens.

There is also a list of 38 places that have agreed to improve standards but not yet done so, such as Gibraltar,...

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April 02, 2009

Yesterday night, Tax Foundation staff economist Josh Barro appeared on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight to discuss rising local property taxes across the country, noting that many municipalities, which overspent in boom times, find themselves in situations where they need to raise taxes in order to catch up with increased spending over the years.

Embedded video from <a href="http://www.cnn.com/video"...

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April 02, 2009

As you figure out how much you owe in federal income tax (two weeks to go!), it might be interesting to see what it would have been in 1913, the first year of the income tax. This website has a handy calculator allowing you to do just that!

It'll probably be lower; the top income tax rate that year was just 7 percent.

You can check out the ...

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April 01, 2009

The Tax Foundation recently did an analysis of a tax proposal from Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) that would raise the personal income tax rate from 3 percent to 4.5 percent and the corporate income tax rate from 7.3 percent to 9.7 percent. Staff Economist Josh Barro, author of the 2009 State Business Tax Climate Index (a study that measures how well a state's...

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April 01, 2009

The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed this morning by economist Brad Shiller on the new federal tobacco tax hike. Shiller claims that with this tax hike, a 62-cent hike per pack that took effect today, Obama broke his campaign promise not to raise taxes on low-income people.

It's true that most smokers earn little. In fact, no popular consumer product has such a low-income customer base as tobacco.

The...

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April 01, 2009

Exhausted by lobbying for old and new homeowner subsidies for the past 16 months, and citing the downward spiral in home prices, the National Association of Realtors® on Tuesday announced that its members want the right to vote in U.S. elections restricted to property owners, "as our Founding Fathers had envisioned."

Realtors® Spokesperson Dewey Cheatem said that homeownership is so vital to the American dream that it makes sense to allow only those who are truly living the American...

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April 01, 2009

According to a new report using crystal balls, wild spending assumptions, and guessing, cumulative state budget gaps between now and 2084 will total an astonishing $350 trillion.

"Because states should provide all nice things to everyone, projected state tax revenue is inadequate," said study author Mina Crandon of the Center for Big Budget Priorities (CBBP). "Federal assistance and state tax increases are obviously needed."

Crandon said everyone...

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April 01, 2009

Seeking new sources of revenue, Barack Obama's tax reform panel has solved the tax gap problem in just a matter of days following its creation. Each member appointed to the panel by Obama was audited for previous tax years by the Treasury Department, and the audits uncovered hundreds of billions of dollars in unpaid taxes.

Combined with back taxes from other Obama nominees who have had tax troubles, the soon-to-be-paid taxes uncovered by the audits of the panel members mean that...

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April 01, 2009

We have continually stressed the tax policy problems caused by state-run lotteries, so it is with disappointment that we have watched recent attempts to increase the size and scope of lotteries across the country.  Arkansas lawmakers passed legislation last month to start a lottery after voters approved a referendum last year.  Some states are contemplating video lottery terminals or casinos to bring revenue to cash-starved...

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March 31, 2009

Tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments in the case of Polar Tankers, Inc. v. Valdez, Alaska, No. 08-310. The case asks whether Valdez's property tax on large oil tanker vessels violates the Tonnage Clause of the Constitution, Art. I, § 10, Cl. 3. That Clause prohibits states or municipalities from "laying a duty of tonnage," which is defined as a charge imposed "upon a vessel, according to its tonnage, as an instrument of commerce, for entering or leaving a...

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March 31, 2009

Tax attorney Anne McKinney provides a "musical salute" in her Ballad of Timothy Geithner. It has received over half a million views on YouTube.

...

March 31, 2009

D.C. City Council member and former Mayor Marion Barry announced last Friday that he would pay $4,250 in back taxes by yesterday. No word yet on whether he did.

Federal prosecutors estimate that Barry still owes $277,688.05 in back federal taxes, penalties, and interest, and an undisclosed sum of D.C. taxes. A...

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March 31, 2009

The local government in Fairfax County, Virginia, has been caught red-handed by TV reporters in the performance of a classic "Washington Monument" stunt. That's the name given to a public relations strategy employed by government officials to avoid budget cuts.

Here's how it works: when revenues are falling, and some taxpayer advocates call for a spending reduction that local officials want to avoid, they announce that the most vital, sympathetic program on their books will...

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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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