The Tax Policy Blog

June 17, 2008

From today's Wall Street Journal:

While Sen. McCain has argued that tax cuts—particularly on business—spur growth, Sen. Obama rejected that as flawed economics. "I've seen no evidence that...

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June 16, 2008

Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) last week wrote to and spoke to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, requesting that mileage-deduction rates for business-related travel be increased to reflect higher gasoline costs:

The current rate -- used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business . . . purposes -- is 50.5 cents per mile. The IRS typically adjusts the rate...

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June 16, 2008

Taking cues from its Midwest neighbor Illinois, Michigan last month raised its movie tax credit to 42 percent. This break is now the highest in the nation, highlighting a trend of states offering tax breaks to attempt to attract directors and producers of movies to film within their state lines. As we have stated before, film tax credits like the one offered by Michigan are poor tax policy for several...

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June 16, 2008

While accepting the Republican nomination for president in 1988, George H. W. Bush stated the now-famous phrase: "Read my lips: no new taxes."

Well, as unlikely as it seems, Hugo Chavez is paying more than mere lip service to the elder Bush's stance. Last Wednesday, Chavez stated that Venezuela would eliminate its problematic 1.5% tax on bank transfers. In...

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June 16, 2008

Why is it so difficult to enact meaningful tax reform? It would take us all day to write a comprehensive answer to that question, but if you're searching for a quick, amusing answer, take a look at our new video on YouTube, "Takin' on the Tax Code."

The video pokes fun at some of the special interests that create roadblocks to tax reform. In addition to injecting some laughter into the tax debates, this video should get everyone thinking seriously about the obstacles to fundamental...

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June 14, 2008

Over the past week, the presidential candidates have sparred over tax policy, and how each of their plans stacks up. New tables put forth by the Tax Policy Center that have garnered some attention point to two key facts: (1) Both Obama and McCain better have some spending cuts lined up (or believe that spending will be restrained due to their tax cuts) to pay for their tax cuts or else the national debt is set to increase dramatically, and (2) Obama shifts the tax burden onto the very...

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June 13, 2008

With gas prices being what they are, many in the US and around the world have suggested that we temporarily suspend the 18.4 cents-per-gallon gas tax.  The argument is that it would help working families make ends meet during this period of rising costs (we have written previously on why this is a bad idea). 

But on the other side of the spectrum is Roger Harrabin, environmental analyst for the BBC. He sees the gas tax issue a little differently...

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June 13, 2008

From the New York Times:

AMAGASAKI, Japan - Japan, a country not known for its overweight people, has undertaken one of the most ambitious campaigns ever by a nation to slim down its citizenry.[...]
Under a national law that came into effect two months ago, companies and local governments must now measure...
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June 13, 2008

State-run lotteries are big business, bringing in over $50 billion a year in consumer spending. An increasing portion of this revenue comes from video lottery terminals, or VLTs. VLTs are games of chance such as poker, slots or blackjack played on a video screen. Each terminal is attached to a central computer, which determines the winners.

Just like regular lottery tickets, VLTs constitute an implicit tax. In one way they are even more problematic than regular lottery...

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June 13, 2008

TaxProf Blog asks if Myanmar is imposing a 10% tax on donations sent there to help cyclone survivors.

June 12, 2008

As part of research for a forthcoming Tax Foundation piece, I came across this gem of definitional tautology:

Internal Revenue Code Sec. 141(b):

(6) PRIVATE BUSINESS USE DEFINED.--

(A) IN GENERAL—For purposes of this subsection, the term "private business use" means use (directly or indirectly) in a trade or business carried on by a person other than a governmental unit.[...]

(7) GOVERNMENT USE DEFINED.--The term "governmental use" means any use...

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June 11, 2008

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted 51 to 43 to reject a bill that would have imposed a windfall profits tax on oil companies. 6 Republicans joined 43 Democrats and 2 Independents in supporting the measure. (The six were Sens. Norm Coleman (MN), Susan Collins (ME), Chuck Grassley (IA), Gordon Smith (OR), Olympia Snowe (ME), and John Warner (VA); Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) voted against the bill. Interestingly,...

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June 11, 2008

D.C. officials and soccer team D.C. United are in negotiations regarding a $150 million to $225 million subsidy for a new soccer stadium at Poplar Point....

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June 11, 2008

Across the country people are upset about property taxes, and New York is no exception. In fact, New York State has some of the highest property taxes in the nation. But it looks like there might soon be some improvements to the state's property tax system.

A new Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact analyzes the recommendations in a report recently issued by the New York State Commission on Property Tax Relief. The bipartisan panel was...

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