The Tax Policy Blog

July 27, 2008

This morning on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, John McCain was interviewed by Stephanopoulos. And during a discussion on energy, McCain mentions his gas tax holiday proposal again as a way to relieve consumers, and then Stephanopoulos steps in.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Not a single economist in the country said it'd work.
MCCAIN: Yes. And there's no economist in the country that knows very well the low-income American who drives the furthest, in...
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July 26, 2008

Once again, the United States Congress is making the tax code worse. Not that it should surprise any of the readers of this blog. Members of Congress, however stupid their policies may be, just want to appear as if they are doing something right now as it relates to housing. And if that means making the tax code more complicated and more distortionary and more discriminatory, then so be it.

The housing bill that Congress is set to pass and the President is now willing to sign is set...

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July 25, 2008

Earlier this year, the Tax Foundation was bombarded with questions about a bogus e-mail that had been floating around (also on message boards, blogs, etc.) comparing taxes under Bush to Clinton. The e-mail had many problems, which we documented here. Since then, we've also gotten questions about our corrected figures, claiming they were wrong. They are not, and it largely stems from a misunderstanding of how comparisons must take into account the fact...

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July 25, 2008

We've discussed before why sales tax holidays are bad ideas from a sound tax policy perspective. The narrow list of what is exempt and what is not often misleads consumers, while imposing a heavy administrative and complexity burden on business owners. Many states exempt rewrite whole parts of the tax code for the duration of the holiday, resulting in instability in the tax code (for instance,...

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July 24, 2008

Welcome to the new variety, sit and relax.
I'm that song and dance phenomenon, Max
Let me sing for you, do my thing for you,
'Till they give me the axe.

Here's the song I'm doing, gonna fill in you all about tax.
Tax is that familiar melody, sinful and true.
Hum it if you've earned a dollar or two.
Bucks in billions for the government for whatever they do.
Anyone who earns a living gives more than a few.
So...

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July 24, 2008

During the presidential campaign this year and throughout the current economic uncertainty, many in the media and political candidates have argued that real median household income has fallen since 2000 (often a reference point aimed at when Pres. Clinton left the White House).

That claim is made using the CPI-U measure of price levels combined with Census data from the Current Population Survey, which is probably the most popular microdata set among geeks like myself. But...

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July 24, 2008

A man in a suburb of Chicago, IL has taken the title of this blog post seriously by turning his $3 million lake-side mansion into a church. George Michael converted his Lake Bluff, Illinois home into the Armenian Church of Lake Bluff after receiving rector certification online. While Mr. Michael claimed this action was taken to assist his ailing wife in...

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July 23, 2008

If you've stayed in a hotel room in the United States, you probably paid tax on it. Not just your share of the hotel's property tax and income taxes (embedded in the price), and not even the sales tax imposed on the transaction. Virtually every city (or other local government unit) imposes a separate (higher) tax on hotel stays.

Today at the National Conference of State Legislators in New Orleans, one speaker referred to raising hotel taxes as a great way to raise new...

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July 22, 2008

The Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Committee placed an amendment on the upcoming ballot to eliminate the school portion of local property tax. According to one estimate, property owners would save $9.3 billion in 2011.  But as the Jacksonville Business Journal reports, not everyone is happy about the...

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July 22, 2008

The Heatherly v. State lottery case will be argued in the North Carolina Supreme Court on Monday, September 8, 2008. It will be the third of five cases argued beginning at 9:30 AM. The Tax Foundation submitted an amicus brief and will not be using argument time. More on the case here:

On May 19 the Tax...

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July 22, 2008

Some harsh words on the economic stimulus checks, from a Wall Street Journal op-ed written by Ernest S. Christian and Gary A. Robbins, both former Treasury Department officials:

Washington can be counted on to create a crisis—usually by sheer incompetence. Then it rushes to the rescue, often doing more harm than good. Late last year, with an impending recession, Congress rushed forward to...

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July 22, 2008

New York Times columnist Frank Rich wrote a column today bashing John McCain as it relates to the economy. In it, he criticized McCain's various flip-flops and his unwillingness to lay out a clear budget plan that would balance the budget as he initially claimed. Rich also has some unfavorable things to say about Sen. Phil Gramm, who recently got into some hot water...

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July 22, 2008

State legislators from all over the country are gathering in New Orleans this week for the NCSL conference, and the Tax Foundation will be hosting a breakfast event about creating competitive tax climates in the states. If you are in New Orleans, consider attending!

Creating a Competitive Tax Climate in Your State

Tax Foundation Breakfast Session
Thursday, July 24, 2008
8:00 - 9:45 am

...

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July 21, 2008

Reading about history in textbooks is useful, but newspaper articles, photos, cartoons, drawings, and other artifacts can bring a topic to life in a way that a textbook can't.

When we set out to write a blog post on the McKinley Tariff, we were excited to find both a New York Times article from 1890 and a Harper's Weekly cartoon from 1888.

First, the history lesson: Tariffs are taxes...

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July 21, 2008

Today's Wall Street Journal carries an editorial that echoes a recent Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact. From the editorial, "Their Fair Share":

Washington is teeing up "the rich" for a big tax hike next year, as a way to make them "pay their fair share." Well, the latest IRS data have arrived on who paid what share of income taxes in 2006, and it's going to be hard for the rich to pay any...

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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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