The Tax Policy Blog

September 20, 2007

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's tax hike plan unveiled on Monday included a $1 increase in the state's cigarette tax, which would make the tax $2.00 per pack. A paternalist may think this is a noble exercise for the government to stop people from smoking. A politician who merely wants more money to spend may like it because it increases the government's...

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September 20, 2007

Michigan out 28,000 jobs

Aug. 7.4% jobless rate is 14-year high; auto, construction work shrinks

That is the headline of an article in today's Detroit News. With their economy in shambles, Michigan lawmakers, spurred on by the governor, are currently working to ...

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September 20, 2007

Michigan's elected officials may not get it, but Detroit News editorial cartoonist Henry Payne does:

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

...

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September 19, 2007

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley wants to raise more revenue for the state, and, of course. he is seeking to do it in a way that is most politically feasible. In other words, he wants a tax plan that will tick off the fewest voters. How do you do that? Go after corporations and smokers. From the Baltimore Sun:

Marylanders would pay more in sales...

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September 19, 2007

A Cook County Commissioner is proposing to raise the sales tax again. Cook County contains Chicago, and we blogged about Chicago's sales tax rate a few years back: Chicago Sales Tax Rate Increases.

From...

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September 18, 2007

Illinois Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is set to announce his tax plan today that will include tax cuts for seniors and more subsidies to housing. Of course. Every politician wants to support Granny and the "American Dream." From the AP:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is proposing more than $80 billion in annual tax relief for workers and seniors...

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September 18, 2007

It was only a matter of time until two of the hottest public finance topics met to form an uneconomical alliance.

Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts wants to open three casinos to compete for the business of Massachusetts gamblers who...

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September 18, 2007

Andrew Sullivan calls this chart "The Road to Serfdom."

September 17, 2007

Greg Mankiw, founder of the Pigou Club, had a column in the New York Times on Sunday describing the issue of using government policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions. From the New York Times:

In the debate over global climate change, there is a yawning gap that needs to be bridged. The...

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September 14, 2007

Every year, you can be sure of a few things in tax policy. The number of lines on the 1040 will be greater than last year due to some new tax provision enacted by Congress. Cigarette taxes will be raised in some state for the mere purpose of political expediency. Some state will contemplate elimination of its property tax. And the state of Michigan will consider raising taxes. Today, the state legislature is meeting to consider raising the state sales tax and the state income tax...

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September 14, 2007

There's no income tax deduction as popular as the one for gifts to charity, but like every deduction, many people abuse it. Here's an excerpt from this morning's Washington Post article about tax-exempt groups selling naming rights.

In March 2005, the Golden Palace Casino -- an online gambling operation -- paid $650,000 for the rights [to a rare,...

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September 13, 2007

If you were to compile a list of some of the basic functions of state government employees, what would come to mind? Making tax and spending decisions? Monitoring public utilities? Maintaining infrastructure? Prosecuting criminals? It's a pretty long list, but chances are, one thing you would not put on that list of basic functions of public servants is "judging the attractiveness and photogenicness of pet dogs."

Unless you live in Oklahoma, that is....

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September 13, 2007

The tables of property taxes on owner-occupied housing released yesterday by the Tax Foundation (courtesy of Census Bureau data) have once again been dismissed by local lawmakers in Western New York. From the Niagara Gazette:

Legislature Chairman Clyde Burmaster, R-Ransomville, dismissed the report and said he believed the county's...

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September 12, 2007

This morning, the Tax Foundated updated the popular property taxes on owner-occupied housing tables by state and county for 2006. Here is a glimpse of the top 10 counties by two measures: (1) median real estate taxes paid (dollar value) and (2) median real estate taxes as a percentage of median home value. Once again, New Jersey and New York dominate the lists.

Top 10 Counties in Median Real Estate...

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September 12, 2007

Attorneys in Elizabethtown, Kentucky argued yesterday that the town's proposed restaurant tax violates the state constitution. Legally, restaurants would be responsible for paying the tax, but because all taxes are eventually paid by individuals, the tax will be just a way to tax consumers while hiding the burden. Further, the money will be used to "encourage tourism," as if raising restaurant...

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