The Tax Policy Blog

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 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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September 12, 2007

I am an avid fan of the automatic toll-paying service EZ Pass because I cannot stand waiting in line. If everyone had EZ Pass, tolls lines would move much quicker, so naturally I want more people to get EZ Pass tags.

West Virginia lawmakers obviously share my zeal for less congestion and shorter lines. Unfortunately, we disagree on how to entice more people to sign up for the time-saving program.

From...

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September 11, 2007

This Thursday, September 13, Tax Foundation Chief Economist Patrick Fleenor will be part of a panel discussing the proposal to raise cigarette taxes as part of the renewal of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The panel, hosted by the Cato Institute, will be in B-339 Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill at noon. For more information and to RSVP, visit Cato's events page...

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September 11, 2007

This November, voters in Washington state will vote on Initiative 960, which would require a two-thirds legislative and voter approval threshold for tax or fee increases. The amendment was cleared for the ballot last week, after the state supreme court rejected a challenge to the initiative in ...

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September 11, 2007

We all know that farmers don't get enough money from Washington through traditional spending means (i.e. direct appropriations). So Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) feels it is necessary to further increase spending to farmers indirectly through the tax code. From the Associated Press:

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is proposing a series of agricultural tax credits, bonds and a trust...

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September 11, 2007

Michigan lawmakers just ended months of intense debate about how to replace revenue from the much reviled Single Business Tax (SBT) in July, but they are now once again embroiled in a bitter debate- this time over the entire budget.

From ...

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September 10, 2007

The September-October issue of Tax Watch is now available on our website. Tax Watch is our bimonthly tax policy newsletter, which presents our economic research and analysis in a simple, non-technical format—ideal for the non-economist looking for a clear explanation of current tax issues.

Highlights from the September-October 2007 issue include:

  • Paying for Public Schools: What's the Cost of Judicial Mandates?
  • U.S. Corporate Taxes...
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September 07, 2007

The global tax news today once again highlights how out of step U.S. lawmakers are with the trends taking place worldwide. As American newspapers recount yesterday's hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee on how the "carried interest" hedge fund managers receive as compensation should be taxed, the headlines in Malaysia were that the government will continue to cut their corporate tax rate while...

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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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