The Tax Policy Blog

January 10, 2008

A bizarre story out of New York City where two men attempted to use a man's corpse to cash his Social Security check, courtesy of the Associated Press:

Detective Travis Rapp has seen his share of corpses, but this was new: two men wheeling a rigid, pale body down a Manhattan street in a red office chair, drawing a crowd of suspicious onlookers.

Looking out the window of...

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January 09, 2008

Last year, France enacted a "solidarity" tax on airline ticket sales originating from France, ranging from 1 euro ($1.47) for short flights up to 40 euros ($58.67) for longer international flights. The money raised, according to Daily Tax Report's Lawrence J. Speer, goes to "a new international financing facility dedicated to funding health projects in poor countries, particularly for drugs against pandemics like AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis."

Whether this is the best way to fund...

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January 08, 2008

An Investor's Business Daily editorial by Lawrence Kudlow yesterday discussed the "Goldilocks economy" and Kudlow's proposal for "perk[ing] up the slowdown." Among his suggestions was a corporate tax rate cut:

Right now, the single best thing President Bush and Congress can do is slash the corporate tax rate for large and small businesses. Bush must reach out to Charlie Rangel and...

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January 08, 2008

In Lake Tahoe, property owners were heard today by the Nevada Supreme Court over their property taxes. Some 300 of the landowners won in the lower court after they convinced a judge that their property had been overassessed for tax purposes.

Rather than order a reassessment, though, the judge ordered the taxes rolled back two years to the 2002-03 level. The local government, for equity reasons, extended...

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January 07, 2008

As Mike Huckabee continues to ride momentum from his win in Iowa on Thursday, his tax plan is getting closer scrutiny from the media. Here's a rundown of some of the feature articles on his tax plan, the FairTax, that have run in newspapers over the past month or so.

News Articles:

Huckabee's Tax Plan Appeals, But Is It Fair? - New York Times

...

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January 07, 2008

The NY Times reports that the New York City Council is threatening to take away the property tax exemption for the World's Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden (MSG). This comes at a time when the Garden's biggest tenant is involved in scandal after scandal, not including the way the team is performing on the court, which could also be...

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January 07, 2008

In what appears to be a growing trend, one state senator in Pennsylvania is seeking to impose a tax on adult entertainment services, arguing that such a tax would "remediate the harm they are doing in communities." More from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

On the heels of a new Allegheny County levy on poured drinks, a McCandless state senator is pitching another sin tax...

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January 07, 2008

Yesterday, the Oregon Tax Court handed down a decision about this Oregon law:

[The following] property owned...by...charitable...institutions shall be exempt from taxation:[...]

All real and personal property...dealing exclusively...to support a welfare program. As used in this subsection, '...

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January 04, 2008

Time Magazine's campaign blog had an interesting article today analyzing the role of the grassroots organization of the FairTax in Mike Huckabee's big victory on Thursday in Iowa. The article also provides a nice brief historical context for the FairTax, and is rather favorable of it. Here's a portion:

Mike Huckabee's...

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January 04, 2008

It appears that the General Theory is on the president's reading list once again. Given that the economy appears to be headed for a slowdown this year, the Bush Administration is considering short-term tax relief as part of an "economic stimulus" package, according to an AP story today by Martin...

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January 03, 2008

The U.S. has seen many debates over what constitutes art, especially with regard to taxpayer-funded projects.  This issue has come up in other countries, as well.  Any government that treats art differently from other goods or professions with regard to taxing and spending policies will face the unanswerable question, What is art?

From Vertex, Inc.'s Sales Tax State Activity Update...

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January 02, 2008

There has been a flurry of articles recently regarding the first-borns of 2008. Every article cites the fact that the baby being born on January 1st means the family will not be able to claim the child as a tax deduction and will also not receive the child tax credit for tax year 2007. For simplicity, there is no pro-rated system for exemptions or filing status under the federal income tax. For a family earning less than $100,000 who is in the 15% marginal tax bracket, a baby in 2007 would...

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January 02, 2008

California is in a budget crunch and politicians are looking for new sources of revenue. One legislative analyst has suggested the best way forward would be to eliminate some of the deductions in the state's income tax system, including the state's mortgage interest deduction. From the Vallejo Herald News:

California faces an estimated $14 billion budget deficit, but the state's independent fiscal...

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December 31, 2007

In a few hours, Chicago residents will be paying $10.5 million more for bottled water, due to the implementation of the 5-cent-per-bottle tax we blogged about here. We wrote:

So why did the council enact a five-cent tax on bottled water? Is it defensible under any principle of sound tax policy? ... [The mayor] just wanted to raise revenue via an arbitrary tax source that has no justification to be used as a general...

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December 31, 2007

Allegheny County, PA, the home of Pittsburgh, is set to ring in the new year tonight with a new tax on poured alcohol drinks. And a judge has ruled that the tax will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. (as scheduled) despite the fact that it may lead to administrative headaches for establishments. From Pennlive.com:

Allegheny County bars and restaurants...

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