The Tax Policy Blog

August 17, 2007

Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the poweful Senate Finance Committee, came out Thursday opposing a proposal put forth by Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN) that would raise the federal excise tax on gasoline by 5 cents. From the Associated Press:

There's no need to raise the federal gasoline tax, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee says, dimming the hopes of some in his party who...

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August 16, 2007

Trouble seems to follow former Major League Baseball star Darryl Strawberry. As is frequently the case, once the regular law enforcement (for drug charges, etc.) is done with you, the IRS will come calling. Sometimes the two are directly connected (income earned from illegal activities), while in other cases, it's merely the fact that those who are likely to engage in one type of illegal behavior are more likely than others to...

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August 16, 2007

With a style reminiscent of Huey Long and other populists who have gushed rhetoric about the evils of capital and wealth, John Edwards has called our tax code a "war on work." Here it is in a nutshell from the Edwards08 website:

"In America, when the middle-class makes money from hard work they shouldn't pay higher taxes than when the rich make money from money."

Usually "money...

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August 16, 2007

Kip Viscusi was recently interviewed by the Richmond Fed's Region Focus magazine. He discusses the issue of the government's role in tobacco regulation, as well as the government's role in controlling everyday lifestyle choices. Here's an excerpt:

Q: In your view...

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August 15, 2007
Edited by William Ahern

The often pompous and frequently economically wrong-headed Lou Dobbs outdoes himself in this tirade:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoDb3D7B2Zo  

When he hears reporter Christine Romans' story about economists who favor freer immigration, Dobbs blows up. Steam vents from his ears as he tries to browbeat her into saying he (Dobbs) is smarter than all economists. She's...

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August 15, 2007

It is often remarked, and rightly so, that taxes are an incredibly heavy burden for folks to bear.  Monday, one enterprising Hoosier found out, literally, exactly how heavy just a portion of that burden is.  From the AP:

Cary Malchow was so upset by his property tax bill he decided to make a scene by paying it—all $12,656.07—with bags of change and $1 bills.

Malchow lugged the cash-filled bags...

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August 15, 2007

Factcheck.org recently tried to debunk John McCain's estimate of tax compliance, but ended up on the wrong side of the facts.

  • McCain's estimate of the cost of individual tax compliance is correct, or at least much closer than Factcheck's.

McCain said $140 billion of American families' income were taken in tax compliance costs. The Tax Foundation's Dec. 2005 report...

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August 15, 2007

The New York lottery has recently changed the way it reports video lottery terminal (VLT) sales data. States whose lotteries offer VLTs do not all report sales data consistently: some report total revenue (cash in) while others report revenue minus prizes (cash in less cash out). This causes problems for taxpayers, lawmakers and researchers trying to...

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August 14, 2007

For several years, California has struggled to close a "structural deficit"-a built-in excess of state spending over state revenues. Each year, the state has cobbled together revenue sources to produce a mostly balanced budget, and one such source has been payments by Native American tribes.

Under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, tribes offering gambling must enter compacts with their states to ensure regulatory oversight. California withholds approval of...

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August 14, 2007

A Chicago alderman has come to the conclusion that bottled water imposes negative costs on society and must be taxed. Oh, and he needs to fill a budget hole. From CBS 2 Chicago:

Cooling off with bottled water could soon cost you more within the Chicago city limits if one alderman has his way.

As CBS 2's Kristyn Hartman reports, Ald. George Cardenas (12th) wants to slap...

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August 14, 2007

After the Bridge to Nowhere, few government spending programs should come as a surprise. Yet this one still pulls it off. From the AP via Yahoo! News:

The federal government has agreed to pay $354 million to New York City to help it launch an ambitious plan to reduce traffic by charging tolls for...

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August 13, 2007

A few weeks ago, the Washington Post reported on new figures related to Maryland's corporate tax system. The story cited a report by the Maryland Comptroller which showed that 68 out of the largest 132 Maryland employers paid no Maryland corporate tax in 2005. Naturally, many lawmakers and activists responded negatively, and they will surely...

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August 13, 2007

Court cases involving Virginia's new surcharges keep piling up. We wrote last week about the "civil assessment fees," which the state imposed effective July 1 to raise $65 million for state spending. Reckless drivers must pay up to $1,050, on top of pre-existing fines and fees.

We also noted that two state trial judges have already held the new charges unconstitutional for violating the federal and state Equal Protection Clauses, in that...

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August 13, 2007

Editor Dan Radmacher of the Roanoke Times is uncomfortable to find himself allied with anti-tax groups in the fight over Virginia's new driving fees.

To quickly put some distance between them and himself, he made this dubious claim in yesterday's edition:

"There hasn't been an infusion of cash into the [Virginia highway] system for 20 years."

The...

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August 13, 2007

We are currently recruiting for two positions, one in the development department and one in the research department.

First, we are looking for an economist to write studies and op-eds, compile data and communicate with the media. This person would also develop entrepreneurial projects that would advance the reach and effectiveness of the Tax Foundation's research agenda. Click here for details.

Second, our development department...

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Subscribe to Tax Foundation - Tax Foundation's Tax Policy Blog The Tax Policy Blog is the official weblog 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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