The Tax Policy Blog

January 15, 2008

With California running out of borrowing options to cover huge budget deficits stretching back nearly a decade, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger got everyone's attention with proposed budget cuts last week:

Schwarzenegger's proposed budget-cutting mechanisms include:

  • A 10 percent decrease in education funding, including $4.4 billion in cuts from K-12 education and $1.13...
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January 15, 2008

If anybody ever wonders why tax reform is so difficult to accomplish, one need look no further than the website of the National Association of Realtors®, which is featuring on the front page a podcast where its president, Dick Gaylord, talks about how "politics is our business." You would think real estate is their business, but then again, the NAR's primary mission...

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January 14, 2008

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and legislative leaders are opposing the repeal of the 6 percent computer services tax which will take effect July 1. We've previously written about the tax, covering how it was added at the last minute in a back room, the problem of singling out for tax one industry that could very easily leave the state, and how confusing...

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January 14, 2008

Sales tax holidays are not good tax policies for various reasons. They create distortions in consumption over time, huge compliance cost issues for businesses which can disproportionately affect small businesses, and they often create uncertainty regarding which items are exempt and when. In reality, they are just political gimicks where politicians try to buy people's votes with a small tax cut so that they can say "we cut taxes."

But one legislator in Nebraska is taking...

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January 14, 2008

Over the weekend, Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge sat down with National Public Radio's Tess Vigeland to discuss the impact of taxes on the fabled American "middle class." The piece was part of a special edition of NPR's Marketplace program dedicated to discussing what exactly the middle class is and where these individuals and families stand today.

From the...

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January 14, 2008

The Office of the National Taxpayer Advocate has released its 2007 report to Congress, outlining several recommendations, including:

  • Create a process to update Congress on the impact of last-minute tax changes (referring in part to the late-year AMT patch, which has delayed the production of AMT deduction forms until February)
  • Enact a taxpayer "bill of rights" outlining rights and obligations of U.S...
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January 12, 2008
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January 11, 2008

Investor's Business Daily cartoonist Michael Ramirez draws a pretty funny picture, contrasting the presidential campaign's "change" rhetoric with the feelings of many U.S. taxpayers. Enjoy!

Change

credit: IBD/Michael Ramirez 

January 11, 2008

Carroll County Circuit Judge Thomas Stansfield yesterday dismissed a lawsuit challenging Maryland's recent tax increases.  The suit alleged that during the special session called to enact the tax increases, the Senate violated a constitutional requirement to obtain consent of the House before adjourning for more than three days.  The case turned on what the state constitution means by "consent...

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January 11, 2008

The Tax Foundation is often asked which states exempt certain items from their general sales taxes, especially as they relate to food. The following is a list of the states that do tax groceries, and if applicable, which ones apply a special rate on grocery items. All other states do not tax groceries.

States that tax groceries (rate if not fully taxed): Alabama, Arkansas (3%), Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois (1%), Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri (1.225%), Oklahoma, South Dakota,...

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January 11, 2008

Hillary Clinton unveiled her economic stimulus package today as Congress and the Administration continue to discuss quick fixes for the economy.

The Tax Foundation weighed in on the issue with a proposal to focus on long-term solutions instead, such as lowering the corporate tax rate, currently the second highest in the...

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January 10, 2008

Yesterday, former New York City mayor and GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani unveiled his plan for tax reform and relief. It's built largely on the ideals that Giuliani has espoused throughout the campaign but never fleshed out in any detail.

The highlights of the plan:

    ...
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January 10, 2008

Last year a handful of states considered selling or leasing their lotteries, but so far no state has taken the plunge. As we have said before, an outright lottery sale, not a lease, would be good news as it would get the state out of the lottery business entirely.

Vermont is the most recent state to catch the lottery "privatization" bug, and is even hoping to beat the other states to the punch. A...

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January 10, 2008

The Tax Foundation is pleased to announce that Dr. Robert Carroll had joined its staff as Vice President for Economic Policy.  Dr. Carroll will oversee the Tax Foundation's tax research program, with a special focus on business taxation and the need for corporate tax reform.

"As someone who has often used and always respected the Tax Foundation's work, I'm excited to now take part in that work," said Dr. Carroll.  "This position is a great fit for me, as I will be able to...

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January 10, 2008

A bizarre story out of New York City where two men attempted to use a man's corpse to cash his Social Security check, courtesy of the Associated Press:

Detective Travis Rapp has seen his share of corpses, but this was new: two men wheeling a rigid, pale body down a Manhattan street in a red office chair, drawing a crowd of suspicious onlookers.

Looking out the window of...

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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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