The Tax Policy Blog

February 07, 2009

Throughout the eight years of the Bush administration, a phrase often mentioned by some in the administration and more frequently by conservative commentators was that the tax cuts Congress passed and Pres. Bush signed would stimulate the economy enough to pay for themselves. The reality is that some of the static cost of the tax cuts (some of which were supply-side, some of which were merely windfalls) were recovered by greater economic output, but it was far from recovering their full...

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February 06, 2009

As you fill out your federal tax return (and you are filling them out, right?) you may encounter line 39a, which asks you to check a box if you or your spouse is blind. Back in 2005, Slate's Daniel Engber researched why the blind enjoy this tax break:

The...

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February 06, 2009

(This blog post can be viewed and downloaded in PDF as a Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact here.)

The table below (Table 1) shows the tax savings for prototypical taxpayers under the major tax provisions included in the fiscal stimulus bills as approved by the House (H.R.598) and currently (as of this writing) under consideration by the Senate (...

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February 06, 2009

In a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the California Court of Appeal yesterday, the Tax Foundation argued that a processing "fee," charged by the City of San Diego for collection of a tax on landlords who rent their property, should be seen as a tax, and therefore should be ruled unconstitutional because the tax was imposed without voter approval.

In arguing against a lower court's decision in Weisblat v. City of San Diego, Tax Foundation Tax Counsel Joseph...

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February 06, 2009

The Christian Science Monitor looks at public perception of paying taxes in light of the tax troubles of some of President Obama's appointees:

In a 2008 survey sponsored by the IRS Oversight Board, 72 percent of citizens said they “completely agree” that it is every American’s civic duty to pay their fair share of...

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February 06, 2009

As subscribers to our weekly e-mail updates know, we have added a page of one-question tax quizzes to our website.

Anyone who read Joseph Henchman's recent blog post on the Sixteenth Amendment will probably be able to answer this week's quiz (below), but if you haven't read the blog post yet or don't remember the answer, don't cheat! (So far, about half of respondents are getting this one correct.)...

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February 05, 2009

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an article today about the proposed amendment to the stimulus bill made by its home state senator Johnny Isakson (a former Realtor®, I should note).

The article of course only gives one side of the story, as if there is unanimity on the issue. But in the article, there are these nuggets of wisdom from a home builder association member...

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February 05, 2009

Much of the debate on fiscal stimulus has focused on whether it should emphasize taxes or spending.  The rationale of stimulus is simply that, with the economy faltering, government action is needed to boost consumer demand, which, in turn, will help strengthen the economy.  The main reason that some have argued that taxes are superior to spending is that advocates of tax cuts claim that they will get money into the economy faster.  Thus, tax cuts will be more effective at helping to boost...

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February 05, 2009

President Obama yesterday signed into law H.R. 2, a 4-1/2 year reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (formerly State Children's Health Insurance Program). The bill is estimated to fund health insurance for the existing 7 million beneficiaries, and expand it to a net further 4 million...

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February 05, 2009

Tax Guru has lots of political cartoons about the Geithner-Daschle-etc. tax problems. Here's two; click on the link for more.

February 04, 2009

Many states are going through budget shortfalls this year due to the economic downturn. Different states have reacted in a variety of ways to balance their budgets, including lobbying for federal bailouts, proposing tax increases, and calling for hiring freezes. In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Tax Foundation Tax Counsel and Director of State Projects Joseph Henchman discusses the opportunity for tax reform in many states amidst these...

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February 04, 2009

(NOTE: this blog post has been updated to reflect changes to the Senate bill regarding the First-Time Homebuyer Credit)

The House passed the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009” last week, and the Senate is currently working out the details for its own version of the stimulus. As far as income taxes are concerned, the two bills contain several similar provisions, though they differ somewhat in the details of some of those...

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February 04, 2009

So the United States Senate has added to the massive stimulus bill a $15,000 tax credit for home purchases and for car buyers, two breaks: a deduction for the sales tax on car purchases and a deduction for car interest paid.

Of course all of these are tied up in a stimulus bill where principles are basically thrown out the window. (Politicians will justify just about any spending or tax break under the guise of "stimulating the economy.")

But what happens when the economy...

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February 03, 2009

Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge appeared with Republican strategist Karen Hanretty on Fox News's Your World with Neil Cavuto last night (Monday, February 2, 2009) to talk about recent news involving Health and Human Services Secretary-Designate Tom Daschle's failure to report consulting income and non-monetary benefits he received from his former business partner. Scott takes the...

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February 03, 2009

Yes, 96 years ago, the 36th state (New Mexico) ratified the Sixteenth Amendment and it became part of the U.S. Constitution. Later that month, February 1913, U.S. Secretary of State Philander C. Knox (pictured right) proclaimed that the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution had been ratified. In the fall, Congress passed the first income...

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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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