The Tax Policy Blog

July 15, 2008

The Cato Institute hosted a policy forum today entitled McCain and Obama: Comparing Their Economic Platforms.  One of the three speakers, Dan Mitchell, summed the future of the American tax burden up quite nicely:

            No matter who wins, it's going to grow.

Mitchell also offered a fair comparison of the two distinct tax proposals.  Obama's plan, according to Mitchell, means "higher taxes on work...

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July 14, 2008

Beginning July 1, 2008, workers in Philadelphia will see a little bit more in their paychecks. That day marks the second reduction within a year in that city's wage tax imposed on both residential and nonresidential workers in Philadelphia, although it remains the highest in the nation.

The new rates are 3.98% for residents (down from 4.219% in early 2008 and 4.26% in 2007) and (precise to the ten-thousandth digit) 3.5392% for nonresidents (down from 3.7242% in early 2008...

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July 14, 2008

One of last week's FreedomFest 2008 events was a debate between proponents of the FairTax and the Flat Tax. Both are tax reform proposals that would replace much of our existing federal tax system. The FairTax is a national sales tax imposed on retail transactions, coupled with a "prebate" sent to each American each month. There are many Flat Tax proposals, but all aim to eliminate many of the deductions and credits in the tax code, and tax all income at one rate.

...

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July 14, 2008

Tax Watch is the Tax Foundation's quarterly tax policy newsletter, presenting 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 Summer 2008 issue include:

  • Sizing Up Obama's Social Security Tax Plan
  • Senate Testimony: Time to Clean Up the Tax Code
  • U.S. States Lead World in High Corporate Taxes
  • High Gas...
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July 14, 2008

In a Background Paper published last year, we considered the long-term effects of judicial mandates requiring state legislatures to "fix" allegedly inadequate education systems.

Far from being a panacea, these mandates have largely failed to sustain recurring spending for classroom resources, teachers' salaries, etc. At the same time, good-intentioned "dabbling" in education policy has left some courts with years of clogged...

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July 14, 2008

An article in today's Washington Times highlighted the fiscal recklessness of the tax plans of Senators Obama and McCain. It also featured a quote on Obama's tax plan from Tax Foundation president Scott Hodge and a counter quote from Tax Policy Center Director Len Burman:

Mr. Hodge, citing Congressional Budget Office data, said that the top 1...

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July 11, 2008

Like children squabbling over a toy, state policymakers attempt to take tax dollars from residents of other states.  Tax Foundation Tax Counsel Joe Henchman's BATSA brief sheds some light on the situation:

State officials [...] have every incentive to pursue beggar-thy-neighbor tax policies designed to shift tax burdens from voting in-state residents to out-of-state residents and businesses unable to resort...

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July 11, 2008

As we have explained many times before, providing subsidies for the construction of sports facilities is poor tax policy (here, here, and here). Specifically, the taxpayer receives few benefits from the millions of dollars required for the construction of a sports stadium. Furthermore, while many individuals tout the jobs created through the construction of the stadium and...

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July 11, 2008

State Tax Notes (subscription required) reports that Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius regrets that the state missed out on $87 million in uncollected corporate income tax by staying in compliance with federal tax law. She believes Kansas's legislature should have voted to "decouple" from the recent federal stimulus package that permits companies "bonus depreciation"—that is,...

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July 10, 2008

Today's Thursday video is a bit different—a quick hello from State Relations Manager Tonya Barr and Tax Counsel Joe Henchman from the Tax Foundation booth at FreedomFest 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Throughout the year, the Tax Foundation appears at conferences and events with educational materials and ready to answer questions about sound tax policy. Here in Las Vegas, over a thousand attendees have gathered for the four-day conference, and we...

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July 10, 2008

Government finance scholar Allen Schick, long of Brookings and the University of Maryland, is the employee of the day at the Department of IToldYouSo.

See page 3 of this old scanned-in Tax Foundation newsletter to see the prescient, plain-English piece he wrote in 1989 about the...

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July 10, 2008

The Massachusetts Secretary of State announced today that an initiative to repeal the state income tax has qualified for the November ballot, as "Question 1." A previous income tax repeal initiative appeared on the 2002 ballot, and received 45% of the vote (885,000 votes) even though every major state newspaper and many...

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July 09, 2008

Despite all the tax policy problems inherent in state-run lotteries, lottery agencies are nothing if not creative in their marketing.

From the New York Times:

Rising gasoline prices have brought a new twist on the state lottery in Florida.

Once a week for the next two months, the second-prize winner in the latest lottery...

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July 09, 2008

Tuesday, members of the state legislature in Utah considered replacing the current three-prong tax system (sales, income and property taxes) with a single consumption-based tax. Now, while the details of such a policy shift have not been identified, it reminds us that people have been talking about the potential of broad-based consumption taxation at the federal level for a long time...

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July 09, 2008

Recently, Best Buy sent checks for a few dollars to customers in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.  The checks are refunds for sales tax charged on the portion of their digital television converter boxes they paid for with federal government vouchers.*  Those states' departments of revenue have ruled that the $40 voucher should be exempt from tax.  As The Consumerist...

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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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