The Tax Policy Blog

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 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 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 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 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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July 08, 2008

In 2005, the estimated time and money cost of complying with the federal Internal Revenue Code was 6 billion man-hours worth $265 billion.

The code that year stood at 7 million words in 736 code sections, up from 718,000 words in 103 code sections in 1955. By contrast, the King James Bible has 788,280 words in 66 books, the Harry Potter series has just over 1 million words in 7 books, and the English translation of War and Peace has 560,000 words.

July 08, 2008

Our most recent publication, Fiscal Fact 132: Hard Numbers on Obama's Redistribution Plan, estimates that the Obama tax plan would distribute $131 billion per year from the top 1 percent of taxpayers to all other taxpayers. After this shift, the top 1 percent of taxpayers (1.13 million filers) would pay more in taxes than the bottom 80 percent (128 million filers).

These numbers do not include Senator Obama's proposal to remove the cap...

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July 07, 2008

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, three tax-related initiatives were removed from Nevada's November ballot by a judge despite having 100,000 signatures each (58,628 signatures, distributed from each county, is needed). The judge ordered the removal because the petitions failed to comply with new rules requiring signature gatherers to count the signatures and attest that all signatures were made in his or her...

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July 07, 2008

From E! Online:

Actor Paul Hogan, star of the 1980s classic Crocodile Dundee, has some fighting words for the Australian tax man: "Come and get me, you miserable bastards."

The 68-year-old actor is being investigated for tax evasion by the Australian Tax Office, which has asked the IRS in the United States to help obtain Hogan's bank records...

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July 03, 2008

One of the Tax Foundation's principles of sound tax policy is neutrality, which states that since taxes pay for general public services enjoyed by everyone, they should be levied broadly rather than on a group of people who happen to purchase a particular product or service. The fundamental purpose of taxes is to raise necessary revenue for programs, not to micromanage a complex market economy with subsidies and penalties. High taxes on certain...

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July 02, 2008

Residents of Chicago are likely to notice that goods and services cost a bit more starting yesterday. On that day, Chicago assumed the highest metropolitan sales tax rate in the nation. The new 10.25 percent rate in Cook County, approved earlier this year, was accelerated to close a budget deficit.

Additionally, dining within...

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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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