The Tax Policy Blog

September 05, 2007

The lead editorial of today's Washington Post ("The War on Poverty") applauds New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit "as the next phase in the war on poverty." The presumption behind this proposal is that the tax system is not doing enough to help low-income Americans. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Over the past few...

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September 05, 2007

Our friend Jennifer Dunn passed away at her home today. Throughout her life, Ms. Dunn stood out as a bright and talented individual with a heart for public service. Her congressional career was one of great accomplishments, including being the first woman to run for House Majority Leader.

Congresswoman Dunn was an outspoken advocate for tax reform and overall tax relief. Accordingly, at our Annual Dinner in 2000, she was the first woman to be awarded the Tax Foundation's...

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September 04, 2007

Indiana lawmakers are finding that abolishing property taxes is much easier said than done. A panel of legislators and tax experts has been examining various options for property tax reform and having a hard time coming up with a solution that would be palatable to most taxpayers, voters, and legislators. From the (Lafayette) Journal & Courier...

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September 04, 2007

The I.R.S. added a regulation today requiring that sponsors of poker tournaments withhold for taxes 25 percent of players' winnings above $5,000, and provide information to the I.R.S. The regulation, 26 C.F.R. § 31.3402(q), takes effect March 4, 2008.

An article on a poker trade website notes that online and offshore poker is not subject to...

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September 01, 2007

As Americans prepare to celebrate the Labor Day and enjoy their day away from work, it is worth reflecting on how we spend the fruits of our labor—in particular, how much we spend on government in the form of taxes.

Of course, Labor Day is not intended to have anything to do with reelection on tax burdens (click here for a history of the holiday from the Department of Labor). But any serous discussion of Americans' work...

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August 31, 2007

It's no secret that income and sales taxes are often full of exemptions and deductions. We've noted before that, by exempting some items from taxation, the rates on everything else get pushed up. For instance, we found that the federal income tax system only taxes about half of all income—effectively doubling tax rates on the half that is taxed.

In New Hampshire, the town of Epsom was searching for new revenue, as governments often do....

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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

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 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 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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