The Tax Policy Blog

September 13, 2007

The tables of property taxes on owner-occupied housing released yesterday by the Tax Foundation (courtesy of Census Bureau data) have once again been dismissed by local lawmakers in Western New York. From the Niagara Gazette:

Legislature Chairman Clyde Burmaster, R-Ransomville, dismissed the report and said he believed the county's...

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September 12, 2007

I am an avid fan of the automatic toll-paying service EZ Pass because I cannot stand waiting in line. If everyone had EZ Pass, tolls lines would move much quicker, so naturally I want more people to get EZ Pass tags.

West Virginia lawmakers obviously share my zeal for less congestion and shorter lines. Unfortunately, we disagree on how to entice more people to sign up for the time-saving program.

From...

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September 12, 2007

This morning, the Tax Foundated updated the popular property taxes on owner-occupied housing tables by state and county for 2006. Here is a glimpse of the top 10 counties by two measures: (1) median real estate taxes paid (dollar value) and (2) median real estate taxes as a percentage of median home value. Once again, New Jersey and New York dominate the lists.

Top 10 Counties in Median Real Estate...

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September 12, 2007

Attorneys in Elizabethtown, Kentucky argued yesterday that the town's proposed restaurant tax violates the state constitution. Legally, restaurants would be responsible for paying the tax, but because all taxes are eventually paid by individuals, the tax will be just a way to tax consumers while hiding the burden. Further, the money will be used to "encourage tourism," as if raising restaurant...

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September 11, 2007

This Thursday, September 13, Tax Foundation Chief Economist Patrick Fleenor will be part of a panel discussing the proposal to raise cigarette taxes as part of the renewal of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The panel, hosted by the Cato Institute, will be in B-339 Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill at noon. For more information and to RSVP, visit Cato's events page...

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September 11, 2007

This November, voters in Washington state will vote on Initiative 960, which would require a two-thirds legislative and voter approval threshold for tax or fee increases. The amendment was cleared for the ballot last week, after the state supreme court rejected a challenge to the initiative in ...

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September 11, 2007

We all know that farmers don't get enough money from Washington through traditional spending means (i.e. direct appropriations). So Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) feels it is necessary to further increase spending to farmers indirectly through the tax code. From the Associated Press:

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is proposing a series of agricultural tax credits, bonds and a trust...

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September 11, 2007

Michigan lawmakers just ended months of intense debate about how to replace revenue from the much reviled Single Business Tax (SBT) in July, but they are now once again embroiled in a bitter debate- this time over the entire budget.

From ...

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September 10, 2007

The September-October issue of Tax Watch is now available on our website. Tax Watch is our bimonthly tax policy newsletter, which presents our economic research and analysis in a simple, non-technical format—ideal for the non-economist looking for a clear explanation of current tax issues.

Highlights from the September-October 2007 issue include:

  • Paying for Public Schools: What's the Cost of Judicial Mandates?
  • U.S. Corporate Taxes...
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September 07, 2007

Tax Foundation Chief Economist Patrick Fleenor appears in a Wall Street Journal editorial today that analyzes the cigarette smuggling becoming more common with federal and state hikes in cigarette taxes:

Something similar is going on all over the U.S., where cigarette taxes have on average tripled in the last decade, but treasuries aren't getting the revenue boost. For consumers, tax-free online cigarettes are only a mouse click away, and these purchases now...

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September 07, 2007

Tennessee is one of twenty states that impose a tax on illicit drugs, at a rate of $3.50 per gram of marijuana, $50 per gram of cocaine, and $200 per gram of other controlled substances. We've previously noted that these "drug stamp taxes" or "crack taxes" became popular in the 1980's as an easy way for states to raise revenue from dealers and users who had plead guilty to drug offenses, since few pay the tax before they are arrested; convictions...

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September 07, 2007

The global tax news today once again highlights how out of step U.S. lawmakers are with the trends taking place worldwide. As American newspapers recount yesterday's hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee on how the "carried interest" hedge fund managers receive as compensation should be taxed, the headlines in Malaysia were that the government will continue to cut their corporate tax rate while...

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September 07, 2007

The battle over Florida's property tax referendum is heating up given the news that the state is also facing an estimated $1 billion deficit. The news now is that one of the early supporters of the measure is backpedaling. From State Tax Notes:

Florida Republicans who voted to put what they called the largest tax cut in history on the January 29 ballot are...

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September 07, 2007

The FairTax has recently garnered the support of many candidates for president, the most ardent candidate being former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. But did the FairTax movement orginate among the Scientology community? Columnist Bruce Bartlett takes a look at the issue in the latest issue of the New Republic.

The basic theological tenets of the Church of Scientology are well known: a fanatical hatred for...

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September 07, 2007

There's one type of tax competition that every state and local lawmaker seems to relish: Who can enact taxes that collect the most from non-residents? After all, non-residents don't vote.

Rental car taxes are among the favorites in this category, especially locations near the airport. Locals are told not to worry: people from out of state will pay the lion's share of these rental car taxes, and we'll get the government services.

But once the tax is enacted, all that...

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