The Tax Policy Blog

January 27, 2009

Staff Economist Josh Barro, author of the 2009 State Business Tax Climate Index, appeared on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight last Friday, January 23, to talk about rising property tax burden around the country.

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January 27, 2009

The Congressional Budget Office has released an official cost estimate of the House-passed "economic stimulus" plan, H.R. 1 The American Economy and Reinvestment Act of 2009. http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/99xx/doc9968/hr1.pdf  The report confirms suspicions that the plan has turned into a vehicle for Congressional largess with almost no coherent strategy for improving the economy.

According to CBO, the plan includes $604...

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January 27, 2009

Even state officials who pronounce their opposition to tax increases seem willing to hit up smokers in 2009. For whatever reason, imposing punitive taxes on an unpopular political minority is seen as an easy way to raise revenue for programs benefitting all society (not just smokers, but also users of hotel rooms, rental cars, liquor, fatty foods, and gambling).

Dozens of states are expected to put cigarette tax hikes on the table in 2009, and we've had many requests for a...

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January 26, 2009

After mentioning that he considered appointing Oprah Winfrey to the U.S. Senate, embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) had this to say:

"The fix is in," Blagojevich told "GMA." "They want me out of the way" so the Illinois Legislature can enact a large tax increase, he said.

Lest we forget, it was Blagojevich himself in 2007 who pushed...

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January 26, 2009

From the Christian Science Monitor:

The economic stimulus plan now moving through Congress would shower billions of federal dollars on state and local governments desperate for cash.

The House stimulus bill includes an extra $87 billion in federal aid to state Medicaid programs, for instance. It allots some $120 billion to boost state and city...

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January 26, 2009

Last week was a good one for the Tax Foundation appearing in newspaper editorial pages. Here's a sampling:

David Lazarus, columnist for the Los Angeles Times, uses Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner's tax mistakes to make a larger point about the tax code's complexity:

Add yet another thing to President-elect Barack Obama's to-do list: Tax reform.

...

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January 24, 2009

Virginia policymakers seem to think that Virginians need a bit of encouragement to file their income taxes online, and that encouragement has finally arrived—in the form of a stuffed, animated mouse wearing a cape and starring in his very own YouTube video.  (No, we're not making this up.)

From CBS News:

Talk about cheesy. Virginia's Tax Department debuted a...

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January 23, 2009

A plan by Governor David Paterson (D-NY) to raise an additional $4 billion through nearly 100 increased taxes and fees to close his state's budget gap for fiscal year 2010 (which may be as large as $15 billion) contains proposals that move the Empire State closer to, and further away from, sound tax policy, as well as proposals that might be good or bad depending on surrounding circumstances.

In Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact No. 159, "New York Governor David Paterson'...

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January 23, 2009

The following charts have recently been updated on our website. As usual, all charts are accessible via FlashPaper, Excel, and PDF.   

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January 23, 2009

Singapore will soon be just one of many countries to cut corporate tax rates recently.

From Bloomberg News:

Singapore cut corporate taxes for the second time in three years and said it will tap its reserves to fund record spending amid efforts to drag the island's economy out of its deepest recession since...

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January 22, 2009

This week Kentucky legislators considered a bill introduced by House Speaker Greg Stumbo that would allow video slot machines at Kentucky horse racing tracks. The video lottery terminals (VLTs) would be administered by the state lottery agency, and the bill has the support of Kentucky Lottery President Arch Gleason. Also supporting the idea is Kentucky's horse racing industry, since the implicit tax revenue brought in by the VLTs, as well as the consumers who would patronize the...

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January 22, 2009

A potential breakthrough in California's perpetual budget crisis, following news that some Republican legislators are open to tax hikes as part of a larger budget package. From the National Taxpayers Union:

The GOP caucus realizes a tax hike will be part of any budget pact but could support it only if agreement were reached on permanent program cuts, a hard spending cap and other issues,...

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January 22, 2009

Tri-Rail, the commuter rail system serving southeast Florida, has been massively successful over the last few years.  Fueled by (until recently) soaring gas prices, ridership has doubled since 2005.  However, even as ridership has risen, Tri-Rail's funding is in doubt, as the three counties within its service area face budget crises.

Tri-Rail is therefore seeking a tax...

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January 22, 2009

Users of Microsoft Excel sometimes encounter a cell filled with pound signs ("###########"). As Thinkquest helpfully explains:

If numerous pound (###) signs appear within a cell, it is only a protective measure taken by Excel. It simply means that the column width isn't wide enough for the number trying to be...

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January 22, 2009

In this morning's Wall Street Journal, Harvard economist Robert Barro (most famous for his work on Ricardian equivalence) discusses the issue of fiscal stimulus. Near the end of his op-ed, Barro says this:

Much more focus should be on incentives for people and businesses to invest, produce and work. On the tax side, we should avoid programs that throw money at people and emphasize instead...

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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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