The Tax Policy Blog

December 15, 2008

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, undoubtedly on his way out of office this week either by resignation or impeachment, continues to head into work and denies that he will be stepping down. Today, he plans to sign into law a bill expanding Illinois's film tax credit. The new expanded credit will be...

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December 15, 2008

From here:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders today announced the appointments to the Commission on the 21st Century Economy. The Governor has appointed Gerald Parsky as Chair and Ruben Barrales, Michael Boskin, John Cogan, Becky Morgan and Curt Pringle. The legislature has appointed Christopher Edley Jr., George Halvorson, Jennifer Ito, Fred Keeley, Monica Lozano...

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December 15, 2008

New York Gov. Paterson is looking for new revenue sources, some of which would move the state in the direction of better tax policy. But as is usual with politicians, he is looking at selective sources to raise revenues, including a tax on non-diet soft drinks.

Let's walk through the logic of such a tax. Just because a tax raises revenue is not a defensible reason to impose it. I could use that same logic by suggesting a tax on diet soda only or a tax based upon the number...

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December 15, 2008

Tax Counsel Joseph Henchman's maps have been receiving much attention. In addition to the Combined State-Local Sales Tax Map and the Beer Tax Map, Joe's Property Tax Map is being posted on plenty of sites, including Club for Growth, Roth...

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December 15, 2008

Borough officials in State College, PA, home of Penn State University and the PSU Nittany Lions, are considering adopting a tax on alcoholic drinks purchased at bars and restaurants. The borough is struggling to balance its $17 million 2009 budget, and the leading proposal is to implement an...

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December 12, 2008

A reader writes in with a research question:

I am trying to remember who said something in the original debates about federal income tax that it could never rise above a nominal percentage rate because the American people wouldn't have it... any idea?

Some background: The U.S. income tax first appeared as a wartime measure during the Civil War, and was levied at 3% of income over $800 from 1861 to 1872. It reappeared in 1894 at 2%...

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December 12, 2008

More love for the Tax Foundation from editorial, economic and state-based bloggers:

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December 12, 2008

From the same data used for our latest Fiscal Fact, "New Census Data on Property Taxes on Homeowners," which ranks more than 1,800 counties by real estate taxes paid, and real estate taxes paid as a percent of median income, we produce this map. The state data are available here.

Because it is a highly visible tax, people often complain about property taxes. This map shows which states have...

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December 11, 2008

With many states facing multi-million (and even multi-billion) dollar budget shortfalls, legislators and governors are looking to smokers to generate revenue. Florida Rep. Richard Krisemen is proposing a $1 increase in cigarette taxes to add $1.1 billion in revenue to cover part of an approximate $2 billion shortfall in the Sunshine State.

In today's Orlando Sentinel, Tax Foundation Chief Economist Patrick Fleenor pens...

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December 11, 2008

Back in the fall, we reported on the outrageous overreach of Oklahoma tax officials:

Advertisements often have puffery: statements like "longest lasting" or "best tasting" or the like. Indeed, many advertisements feature the improbable, from cars racing (safely) through obstacles or scantily clad women suddenly dancing when a soda bottle is opened. Most of us take these claims with a healthy amount of skepticism...

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December 11, 2008

Actress Fran Drescher, formerly star of "The Nanny," has issued a press release asking that she be considered for New York's soon-to-be-vacant seat in the U.S. Senate. She of the gravelly voice touts her work increasing awareness of women's health issues.

We did a bit of...

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December 10, 2008

While we enjoy seeing our material cited by reporters, we equally enjoy coverage of our research by columnists and editorial writers in the opinion pages of newspapers, large and small.

Last week, syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock rails against the federal bailout package and talk about a shift President-Elect Barack Obama makes about the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts:

"...

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December 10, 2008

Biotech companies, notorious for being risky investments that take many years to turn a profit (assuming they don’t go under first), are having trouble raising money in the current economic climate. So they are turning to… You guessed it: Congress. The New York Times reports on the “Little Biotech” bailout proposal, which contains an interesting tax policy twist:

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December 10, 2008

Last week, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that sex shows are theater, and therefore were eligible for a reduced tax rate for cultural performances.  The AP reports:

The judges said in their written ruling that because the strippers are on a stage being watched by a paying public their acts are theatrical.

The...

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December 10, 2008

Since our October report on the subject, we've been looked to as an authority on the unraveling of transit agencies' SILO transactions and their request for a federal bailout.

Quick primer: From 1988 to 2003, transit agencies entered into sale/leaseback transactions whereby the government agencies realized tax savings by selling $16 billion worth of railcars and other assets banks and investors, who could then take tax...

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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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