The Tax Policy Blog

November 28, 2007

If we were doing this right, we should be asking these on video and posting them on YouTube. But after careful consideration we decided Anderson Cooper was just plain prettier than us and thus better suited to be on camera. So we hope he'll ask these questions while the GOP candidates are hangin' with Mr. Cooper...

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November 28, 2007

We already posted some questions that we would like to see for tonight's Republican debate. But here are a few more questions (somewhat more adversarial), specifically designed for each of the top Republican candidates.

Senator Thompson and Mayor Giuliani, you have each suggested tax proposals that would create an optional flat tax to parallel the current income tax system. What spending would you cut to finance such a tax cut, and wouldn't this proposal actually...

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November 27, 2007

Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) has called a special legislative session to reinstate the 1 percent property tax cap invalidated by the state supreme court, as we reported here. The governor's previous plan of merely asking the local governments not to tax more didn't work:

Gregoire has urged local governments to continue heeding the...

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November 27, 2007

A number of state legislators and governors have recently considered selling or leasing their state-run lotteries for a quick influx of cash.  One of the most publicized lottery "privatization" plans was crafted in Indiana, although it was never implemented. Now Governor Mitch Daniels has announced that he is abandoning this plan.

Form Lottery Post:

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said today...

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November 26, 2007

In April, residents of Doña Ana County, New Mexico (home of Las Cruces) voted 50.7%-49.3% to approve a 1/4-cent sales tax increase to part fund construction of a $198 million space vehicle launchpad. (Additionally, one-quarter of the tax revenue goes to "spaceport-related education in local schools.")...

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November 21, 2007

We all love to complain about taxes (and for good reason), but in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we would like to suggest a different way of thinking about taxes—just for one day, that is.  

We'll defer to two writers who said it better than we could:

♦ "A person doesn't know how much he has to be thankful for until he has to pay taxes on it."
              — Author Unknown

♦ "The only thing that hurts more than paying an income...

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November 20, 2007

There are many stories of bad fiscal policy proposals that we often read about and comment here. But there are some stories that just write themselves. From the Associated Press:

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford is getting lots of questions from the Birmingham City Council about his proposed tax hikes and revitalization plans.

His proposals include doubling the business license fees and a one percent increase in the...

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November 19, 2007

The State of Maryland is already one of the hardest hit states by the alternative minimum tax due to its high-income profile and high taxes on income and property. But now that a tax hike bill has been approved by the legislature and will likely be signed by Gov. O'Malley, the AMT is set to hit Marylanders even harder.

Raising the state income tax from 4.75 percent to three new rates of 5, 5.25, and 5.5 for higher income residents will increase...

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November 19, 2007

Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas are separated by a river, and a good number of people cross that river daily to live in one state and work in the other. Many end up filing tax returns in both states, and to minimize economic distortions, both states allowed the other's residents to take the same property tax deduction when itemizing.

Earlier this year, Missouri repealed the deduction for nonresident taxpayers, seeking to grab a few million dollars even if it...

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November 17, 2007

Today, President Bush used his weekly radio address to call on Congress to pass an AMT patch immediately so as to limit any possible problems for the 2008 tax filing season. Here's text from the President's address:

To deal with this problem, Congress has in recent years passed temporary legislation that prevented most middle-class taxpayers from having to pay the AMT. But this year, Congress has yet to pass this legislation. A failure to do so would mean that 25 million...

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November 16, 2007

The new case that NY tax authorities are bringing against Yankee star Derek Jeter may sound like another case of the "jock tax," but it's quite different.

New York tax authorities already collect state income tax on Derek Jeter's Yankee salary as part of the so-called jock tax, officially called the athletes and entertainers tax or just the non-resident income tax. Like other employees of sports franchises, it doesn't matter where Jeter...

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November 16, 2007

According to the Associated Press, a bipartisan reform commission has recommended junking a series of special-interest sales tax exemptions:

McKay's plan is aimed at repealing exclusions for services ranging from landscaping to lawyering as well as commodity exemptions for such things as ostrich feed and skybox leases at professional sports stadiums.

The committee plans...

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November 15, 2007

Tonight's Democratic debate in Las Vegas will undoubtedly bring up the issue of the war in Iraq, but tax policy issues, especially what to do about the Bush tax cuts, have come up in previous debates as well. Here are some questions on fiscal policy that we would like to see asked of the candidates.

(1) Most of you favor making the tax system more progressive and your first instinct to accomplishing this is to raise marginal tax rates. And most of you, especially Senator Obama, have...

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November 14, 2007

The Chicago City Council passed Mayor Daley's budget yesterday, which included a five-cent tax per unit of bottled water sold in the city, in addition to a fairly large property tax hike. From the Chicago Tribune:

Brushing off a rare show of opposition, Mayor Richard Daley won easy City Council approval Tuesday of a spending and tax plan that will tap into the...

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