The Tax Policy Blog

December 04, 2008

A story from MSNBC about the EPA possibly implementing a per unit Pigouvian tax on cows to offset the greenhouse gas emissions that cows are responsible for. 

The farmer featured in the story complained about how such a tax would hurt him financially. While that may be true, it should be irrelevant. If there is truly an externality...

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December 04, 2008

This morning, the Indiana Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on whether Indiana's Constitution provides a right to a quality education, to be enforced by judicial orders to increase spending or raise taxes. I'm in Indianapolis for the hearing in the case, Bonner v. Daniels, and will report on the blog how it goes.

The Tax Foundation filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, arguing that such a ruling would violate the text and original meaning of the...

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December 03, 2008

Last night the Allegheny County council voted to reduce the county’s 10 percent tax on poured drinks. the Pittsburgh Business Times reports:

After substantial discussion over how much to reduce the tax, [the Allegheny] county council voted 13-0 with two abstentions to reduce the tax from 10 percent to seven percent. The measure was passed as part of council’s approval of...

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December 03, 2008

Toronto has enacted a citywide charge of 5 cents per plastic bag, calling it a fee, as reported in The Star. (hat tip: Jacob McCay)

A similar measure failed in New York City because it was deemed a tax, which the city's administration cannot enact without legislative approval. Here's how Tax Foundation economist Josh Barro described New York Mayor Bloomberg's proposal in a ...

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December 03, 2008

A lot of tax talk in today's news:

The Wall Street Journal's Tax Report goes through its "Year-End Strategies to Trim Your Taxes." Among the recommendations is "stayin' alive" ...

"Buried in the tax law is a powerful incentive for many wealthy people who care about their heirs to stay alive at least until the dawn of 2009. The basic federal estate-tax exclusion, now $...

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December 02, 2008

The Tax Foundation's mission is to educate taxpayers about sound tax policy and the size of the tax burden borne by Americans at all levels of government. And it's nice to see that bloggers are paying attention to the Tax Foundation's work at all levels of government.

On federal tax issues ...

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December 02, 2008

Kelly Erb, a tax lawyer and editor of the "Tax Girl" blog, is launching a series of primers on taxes in all 50 states. As mentioned in my previous post, Kelly started off with Arizona and cites our...

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December 02, 2008

Florida Rep. Jim Waldman (D-Coconut Creek) is seeking to raise the state's cigarette tax by $1 per pack, to $1.339. Tax Foundation Chief Economist Patrick Fleenor explains why such a tax is probably...

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December 02, 2008

The cost of the twelve days of Christmas (that is, the price of a partridge in a pear tree, two turtle doves, three french hens, etc.) is $21,080, according to calculations by PNC Wealth Management. That's up 8.1 percent from 2007. Buying the goods online would cost $31,957, mainly due to shipping costs. (Buying everything in all the verses—12 partridges and pear trees, 22 turtle doves, 30 french hens, etc.—...

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December 01, 2008

RedState has the scoop about the proposal:

Gohmert’s tax holiday plan is elegant in its simplicity: every American taxpayer would pay no federal income or FICA taxes for the first two months of 2009. For the typical American family -- earning about $50,000 a year -- that would mean they would keep about $2000 that would otherwise be paid to the government....

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December 01, 2008

My colleague Joe notes below a proposal by Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert to suspend personal income and payroll tax collections for two months in 2009, as an alternative "use" for approximately $350 billion in bailout funds that are as yet unallocated.  Let's set aside the merits of temporary tax suspensions in general.  I'll note that they violate one of the...

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November 26, 2008

Sales tax holidays are a way for politicians to look like they are cutting taxes without really cutting them. In addition, if only certain items are exempt, it can confuse consumers while giving politicians the power to pick winners and losers (e.g., what products "deserve" favorable tax treatment). From the Augusta Chronicle:

For two days after Thanksgiving, shoppers in...

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November 26, 2008

In a friend-of-the-court brief filed last week with the California Court of Appeal, the Tax Foundation argues that class actions for tax refunds should be allowed.

Estuardo Ardon, who argues that the Telephone User's Tax (TUT) imposed by the City of Los Angeles is unconstitutional for failing to be approved by two-thirds of voters as required by California's Proposition 218, paid the tax, demanded a refund, exhausted administrative appeals, and filed a lawsuit "on behalf of himself...

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November 26, 2008

All year long we complain about taxes, and there's no shortage of tax-related issues to complain about. In light of Thanksgiving, however, we decided to list some tax-related things we're grateful for.

But first, some tax-related items that we think others may be grateful for this Thanksgiving (these do not all represent sound tax policy, but we suspect that each one has made some individuals or industries thankful anyway):

  • Iowans who include pumpkins in their...
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November 25, 2008

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