The Tax Policy Blog

April 04, 2008

Hillary Clinton has released her tax returns. You can download them from the links below:

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 |...

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April 04, 2008

"Optimist: Someone who sets aside two hours to do his income tax return."
                         —Author Unknown

"The present tax code is about 10 times longer than the Bible, a lot more complicated, and, unlike the Bible, contains no good news."
                          —Don Nickles, former U.S. senator,

"Taxation without representation is tyranny. "
                           —A slogan of the Revolutionary War and the years before,...

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April 04, 2008

Hillary Clinton has now released her and her husband's tax returns for the past seven years, and the campaign is touting the amount of charitable giving that the family contributed over that period. Much of it goes to the charity Clinton Family Foundation. An economist may ask the question, "What fraction of that is actually consumption, given that the Clintons obviously gain utility from having their name associated with the foundation?" Why wouldn't they just donate some money to the Bill...

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April 04, 2008

Yesterday, Tonya recapped our trip to Mississippi, where we had the opportunity to testify before the State Tax Study Commission, which was established by Governor Haley Barbour to prepare a comprehensive study of the state's tax system and recommend improvements by this coming summer.

We took the opportunity to present a new paper outlining recommendations for the Commission to consider, and I must...

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April 04, 2008

It's pretty ironic that there appears to be such widespread support in the United States Senate for expanding tax preferences for housing (see most recent Cardin press release which will be voted on today), yet such widespread opposition in almost every policy research organization in Washington, whether conservative or liberal.

The Heritage Foundation...

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April 03, 2008

Former Tax Foundation researcher Adam Creighton has an excellent piece in this month's Hoover Institution Policy Review, examining the pros and cons of the recent proposal to impose higher taxes on equity fund managers:

The bill attempts to ensure more consistent tax outcomes for individuals who provide services, and at the same time reinforces the idea that capital gains tax is for individuals who risk their own capital, not for those who manage it. This seems...

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April 03, 2008

Just when you thought policymakers (and some in the voting public) could not get any dumber when it comes to tax policy, you see this article and the quotes from citizens discussing a proposed tax on pornography in South Carolina. Here's what the bill's sponsor, Republican State Senator Mike Fair, had to say in support of his measure: "Just as we're trying to do with cigarettes,...

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April 03, 2008

Yes, another blog post today about a stupid tax proposal in the Palmetto State. This time the state is seeking to give extra tax incentives to those who are married. This goes beyond eliminating any marriage penalty, as the Augusta Chronicle explains:

Married couples in South Carolina would save an average of $27 a year on their state income taxes under a bill given key...

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April 03, 2008

The folks on Capitol Hill are suffering from the famous "do something" disease when it comes to the current situation with the housing market. As part of the Senate compromise that was reached regarding aid to the housing sector, Sen. Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus managed to add in a standard deduction that could be claimed for people who don't itemize yet pay property taxes. The maximum deduction for a married couple would be $1,000, while singles could claim $500.

Don't pay...

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April 03, 2008

Joe Henchman and I attended the first hearing of the MS Tax Study Commission, in Jackson, MS on Monday March 24. The Commission has been appointed by Governor Haley Barbour and will take an all encompassing look at reforming the tax system in the state. They will submit a report by August 31, 2008 with recommendations for improving the state's tax code. The agenda for Monday's hearing included an opening from Governor Haley Barbour, an overview...

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April 03, 2008

A recent Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact analyzes two new housing credits proposed by Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Faced with a choice between the two bad housing credits, the Senate merged the two and added several more unwise housing tax incentives.

"The bill of housing incentives going to the floor of the Senate today is a panicky effort to artificially keep the housing bubble from popping," commented Gerald Prante, Tax Foundation senior economist. "...

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April 03, 2008

The Georgia legislature is currently facing the question of which taxes, if any, should be cut. Arguments have been put forth in favor of cutting income taxes, the personal property tax on cars, and even cutting income taxes for senior citizens only. Each side argues that its tax cut would be best for Georgia's economy going forward. Also on the table is a plan to enact a ceiling on spending growth in the Peach State.

A new Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact, "...

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April 02, 2008

An excellent court decision out of Texas last week struck down the ridiculous "pole tax"—a $5 government-imposed charge to be admitted into strip clubs. The tax was enacted earlier this year, with the stated purpose of using the $44 million it would raise to pay for sexual assault support services and health insurance for low-income Texans.

The case, Texas Entertainment Association Inc. v. Combs, decided March 28 by Travis...

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April 02, 2008

Politicians in Washington and in state capitals are responding to consumer complaints about sky-rocketing gas prices with charges that the oil companies are earning “excessive” profits and gauging consumers at the gas pump. Lost in the political rhetoric is the fact that those “excessive” profits are net profits—that is, profits earned after taxes are paid to government. And while the oil companies have enjoyed a few good years, history shows that governments at all levels (foreign...

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April 02, 2008

I'm sure you were shocked to read the headline of this blog post. The REALTORS® want more tax preferences for housing. In this week's edition of the rent-seeking lobby's publication "Economist's Commentary," REALTORS® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun argues that a tax credit is needed to help the housing industry during this downturn.

Unbelievable. We have a situation where too many people bought homes that were...

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