The Tax Policy Blog

August 31, 2007

British tour companies must pay a tax of £10 (about $20) per passenger, and are prohibited by law from passing on the tax to passengers (unlike the equivalent airline passenger tax). The travel group Thomas Cook blames the tax, which was enacted to fight carbon emissions, for weaker profits. They've gone to court to have it declared...

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August 30, 2007

Taxpayers and voters sometimes wonder whom to hold accountable for a state's budget and tax problems: legislators or the governor? A recent poll by Quinnipiac University sheds some light on Pennsylvanians' approval of their elected officials' performance on budget and tax issues.  From the Philapdlphia Inquirer:

Pennsylvania voters are more...

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August 30, 2007

Several proposals have recently been put forth by members of Congress to raise the federal excise tax on gasoline. Some lawmakers see raising the gas tax as a way to  reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and some see it as a potential source of revenue for improving the nation's infrastructure.

A recent Baltimore Sun editorial targets the use of earmarked gasoline tax revenue...

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August 30, 2007

A proposal to eliminate the generous exemption that residents 65 and older living in Dallas receive from property taxes was rescinded at a recent city council meeting after outcry from the older voting bloc. From the Dallas Morning News:

Dallas County has become one of the most senior-friendly places to live in Texas.

County...

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August 29, 2007

Everybody hates property taxes. Who likes writing a check for thousands of dollars each year to the local government? But they do pay for local government services such as schools, police, fire, and roads (as well as some spending that is probably questionable in many places). And thereby lowering property taxes requires that spending on these services be cut or other taxes be increased. The latter (raising other taxes) was discussed as a reform option in Indiana. The results show...

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August 28, 2007

The D.C. Examiner reports on yesterday's argument in Arlington County Circuit Court, involving the constitutionality of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority's power to impose taxes and issue bonds:

Only elected governments have the power to issue bonds, levy taxes, and appropriate money under Virginia's Constitution,...

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August 27, 2007

Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani unveiled his tax plan on Saturday, highlighted by calls to end the "marriage penalty" and the estate tax, as well as to make permanent the Bush tax cuts, including the lower marginal tax rates and the extension of the child tax credit. From Newsday:

Rudy Giuliani warned Saturday that his Democratic rivals would hit American...

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August 24, 2007

California's State Board of Equalization voted 3-2 on Tuesday to raise the liquor tax on "alcopops"—sweetened alcoholic drinks—to the level of distilled spirits. Many of these drinks have an alcoholic volume of 4 to 7 percent (compared to as much as 40 percent for distilled spirits), and the tax hike will...

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August 24, 2007

The Congressional Budget Office has released new deficit numbers for the fiscal year 2007, which ends on Sept. 30th. From CBO:

The nation's budget outlook for fiscal year 2007 has improved in the five months since the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its previous set of baseline projections, but prospects for the long term remain daunting. CBO now expects that the budget deficit for 2007 will total $158 billion-$19 billion lower than the estimate published in...

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August 24, 2007

Always wanting to appear as standing up for the little guy (remember him as Attorney General fighting the "evils" of "price gouging" during hurricanes?), Florida Governor Charlie Crist rallied Realtors on Thursday to fight for his policies to lower property taxes and take on "greedy" insurance companies. From the Associated Press:

Gov. Charlie Crist urged real...

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August 23, 2007

Looking for ways to possibly expand government health care programs in Colorado, a commission has made various recommendations on how to fund such an expansion, including raising payroll taxes, as well as a favorite of many nanny-staters -- taxing products that some bureaucrat has deemed "unhealthy." Oh, and of course, we have to tax smokers even more, because they shouldn't be smoking in the first place, according to the saintly bureaucrats who eat only healthy products and never...

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August 23, 2007

In his recently proposed energy bill that would raise gas taxes and impose a carbon tax in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Michigan Democrat John Dingell also took a shot at the sacred cow of tax policy: the deduction for home mortgage interest (MID). His proposal would call for the MID to be suspended for homes that exceed 3,000 square foot. From the Detroit News:...

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August 22, 2007

Last month, a federal trial judge held that the 4 percent use tax in the U.S. Virgin Islands violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The case, Molloy v. Government of the Virgin Islands, was brought by Robert Molloy, who moved from Virginia to the Islands and was forced to pay $2,365 in use taxes...

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August 21, 2007

Every year state legislators face a myriad of tough tax and budget issues: state income  taxes, budget shortfalls, property taxes, etc. And of course there is that most controversial of all taxes: the sales tax on animal bathing.

From the Tennessee Department of Revenue's Web site:

Effective June 22, 2005, Public Chapter 499, Acts of 2005, amends Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-6-102(...

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August 20, 2007

The highest court of France, the Constitutional Council, last week upheld most parts of President Nicolas Sarkozy's first round of tax reductions in a challenge brought by opposition Socialist Party leaders. One provision that did not survive was a proposed mortgage interest deduction.

The deduction would have allowed French homeowners to deduct their mortgage interest payments for the first 5 years of a mortgage on a...

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