Podcasts

The Tax Policy Podcast is the official podcast 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 via email: podcast@taxfoundation.org.

To download the podcast via iTunes, click here.

To subscribe via RSS, click here.

Maine Rep. John Piotti: Tax Reform in the Pine Tree State July 15, 2009

Maine recently passed the most sweeping changes to the state's tax code since the establishment of its income tax in 1969—in part due to the efforts of State Representative John Piotti, who introduced LD 1088, a bill that included a single flat rate individual income tax of 6.5 percent and an expansion of the sales tax. The legislation passed both the state House of Representatives and Senate in June, but at the urging of Governor Baldacci, the reforms were altered and reintroduced as LD 1495, which ultimately was signed into law.

Tax Foundation Staff Economist Kail Padgitt, who authored Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact No. 174 examining both proposals, interviews Representative Piotti.

View Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact No. 174, "The Pine Tree State Chops Down Income Tax."

More on Maine's tax system.

Gerald Prante of the Tax Foundation: Income Redistribution Under President Obama July 09, 2009

Income redistribution has been a hot topic since President Obama told "Joe the Plumber" on the campaign trail that "when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody." New analysis of President Obama's Budget finds that he is targeting the nation's highest earners for greater income redistributions. By 2012, the federal government is scheduled to be redistributing an extra $79 billion from the top-earning 5 percent of American families, and $71 billion of that will be paid by the top-earning 1 percent of families.

In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Manager of Media Relations Natasha Altamirano interviews Senior Economist Gerald Prante, who discusses the Tax Foundation's "fiscal incidence" model, a computer simulation of the U.S. fiscal system with an innovation: It measures the redistributive effects of both spending and tax policies.

View the latest study in the Tax Foundation Special Report series authored by Prante and Chief Economist Patrick Fleenor, titled "How Much Does President Obama's Budget Redistribute Income?"

Jamie Story of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii: Tax Hikes in the Aloha State June 03, 2009

The Hawaii Legislature forced through several tax increases near the end of the legislative session, including raising the income tax as well as excise taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products. With the exception of the cigarette tax increase, all these tax hikes were vetoed by Governor Linda Lingle on May 7 in Hawaii's first-ever public veto ceremony attended by nearly a thousand taxpayers and citizens. However, on May 11 the state legislature was able to override each of the vetoes.

In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Manager of State Relations Tonya Barr talks with Jamie Story, President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, discussing how these tax increases could affect the Aloha State's residents and businesses.

Click here to see our recent study on Hawaii enacting a top income tax rate of 11 percent on incomes over $200,000, the highest state rate in the U.S. For more on tax and fiscal policy in Hawaii and other states, visit our Center for State Fiscal Policy.

Joseph Henchman of the Tax Foundation: Corzine, Christie and Lonegan Tax Proposals May 27, 2009

Fiscal policy in the Garden State reads like a "what not to do" for policymakers and stakeholders. The corporate income tax combines a high rate, onerous rules, and lavish subsidies for the politically connected. The sales tax is one of the highest in the country. The state is one of five in the country to adopt a heavy individual income tax on high-income earners, which has reduced economic activity in the state. New Jersey residents also pay more property tax per capita than residents of any other state.

In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Tax Foundation manager of media relations Matt Moon talks with director of state projects Joseph Henchman about the tax proposals of three gubernatorial candidates in New Jersey: incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine (D), former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie (R) and former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan (R). Next Tuesday, June 2, New Jersey will be holding primary elections, and the gubernatorial candidates have been talking taxes, mirroring the national concern with revenue and spending.

Click here to see Henchman's report on Corzine's tax plan, and click here for his report comparing the Christie and Lonegan plans. For more on New Jersey and other state fiscal news, visit our Center for State Fiscal Policy.

Robert Carroll of the Tax Foundation: Tax Deferral and International Tax Competition May 13, 2009

President Obama has recently proposed to raise more than $100 billion in new tax revenues from U.S. businesses by restricting their ability to defer paying taxes on profits earned abroad. The Obama administration has also fused the issue of tax deferral with the unrelated issues of bank secrecy and tax havens.

In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Tax Foundation Manager of Media Relations Matt Moon talks with Senior Research Fellow Robert Carroll, Ph.D. Carroll was the former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis under Hank Paulson in the previous administration. Carroll goes through the differences between tax havens and tax competition, America's place in the world when it comes to corporate taxes, and the case study of Great Britain and their experience with global tax competition.

Click here for Carroll's latest analysis: Tax Foundation Special Report No. 167, "Bank Secrecy, Tax Havens and International Tax Competition."

To learn more about tax deferral, watch our video on the subject.

Ron Snell of the National Conference of State Legislatures: Addressing State Budget Shortfalls May 06, 2009

An issue that taxpayers and officials across the country are following this year is state budgets. In January, the Tax Foundation released a report on the issue, looking at the 45 states with budget shortfalls.

In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Director of State Projects Joseph Henchman talks with Ron Snell of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a respected national organization that provides research, technical assistance, and opportunities for state policymakers and their staffs to exchange ideas on state issues. Snell discusses a new report that shows additional data about state budgets from the first few months of the year, as well as what kinds of actions states have taken in addressing their shortfalls so far and why so many states are in dire budget situations right now.

For more research and data on all 50 states, visit the Tax Foundation's Center for State Fiscal Policy.

Jonathan Williams of the American Legislative Exchange Council: Rich States, Poor States April 29, 2009

Taxes are a very important part of how different states fare economically, but it's not the only important variable. In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Staff Economist Josh Barro talks with Jonathan Williams, Director of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Williams discusses a new report from ALEC which he, along with Dr. Arthur B. Laffer and Stephen Moore, authored: Rich States, Poor States, a measure of each states' economic competitiveness. Besides taxes, the report also goes over debt service, public employees, state liability systems, minimum wage and workers' compensation regulations.

For more data and research on state taxes, visit the Tax Foundation's Center for State Fiscal Policy.

Joseph Coletti of the John Locke Foundation: Tax Reform in North Carolina April 22, 2009

Forty-five states currently face budget shortfalls totaling approximately $132 billion through fiscal year 2010. As was pointed out by Director of State Projects, Joseph Henchman, these budget shortfalls have also created opportunities for tax reform in many states.

In this week's edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Manager of State Relations Tonya Barr talks with Joseph Coletti, Fiscal and Health Care Policy Analyst at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, North Carolina. Joe goes through foundation's new report, "Tax Reform in North Carolina," which recommends instituting a flat "consumed income tax," repeal of the corporate income tax and the elimination of all special tax breaks for new and existing businesses.

Ari Fleischer: Reforming the Tax Code to Promote Economic Growth, Not Wealth Redistribution April 15, 2009

Congress is currently in recess, but issues of taxes, government spending and economic growth continue to be on the minds of Americans. Monday, April 13 was Tax Freedom Day, the date on which Americans will have worked long enough to have earned enough money to pay this year's tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels. The Tax Foundation also recently released a poll showing that 56% of Americans believe that their federal income taxes are "too high" and a record 85% believing that the federal income tax code is "too complex" or "somewhat complex."

To give some perspective on the tax code and what reforms are needed, Tax Foundation Manager of Media Relations Matt Moon talks with Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, and now president of Ari Fleischer Sports Communications in New York City.

Fleischer penned an op-ed on Monday in the Wall Street Journal: "Everyone Should Pay Income Taxes: It's Bad for Our Democracy to Exempt Half the Country." Browse through our research for more on income taxes, tax complexity, tax reform and "non-payers" into the federal income tax.

Congressman Tom Price (R-GA): Obama Budget vs. GOP Alternative April 08, 2009

Just recently, the Democratic controlled House approved its version of the budget, 233 voting yes and 196 voting no. The Democratic controlled Senate approved its version, 55 voting yes and 43 voting no. Republicans in the minority have also come out with alternative versions of the budget.

In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Tax Foundation Manager of Media Relations Matt Moon talks with Congressman Tom Price (R-GA 6th District), chairman of the Republican Study Committee. Price discusses why the RSC decided to come up with an alternative budget, and explains the differences between the two parties' budgets when it comes to overall spending, deficit spending, tax provisions, Social Security and Medicare. Price also discusses some budget reform proposals, including a proposal to creating "Family Budget Protection Accounts."

For more details, check out the RSC's budget proposal here.

Kristina Rasmussen of the Illinois Policy Institute: Gov. Quinn's Tax Increase Proposal April 01, 2009

The Tax Foundation recently did an analysis of a tax proposal from Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) that would raise the personal income tax rate from 3 percent to 4.5 percent and the corporate income tax rate from 7.3 percent to 9.7 percent. Staff Economist Josh Barro, author of the 2009 State Business Tax Climate Index (a study that measures how well a state's tax system encourages investment by maintaining a broad tax base and low rates), analyzed the tax proposal's effects on Illinois' business tax climate ranking. Based on current tax law, Illinois ranked 23rd out of 50 states for business-friendliness of its tax code. With Quinn's plan in effect, Illinois' ranking would have sunk to 31st.

In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Barro talks with Kristina Rasmussen, Executive Vice President of the Illinois Policy Institute, heading the organization's Springfield office. Barro and Rasmussen discuss the effect of Gov. Quinn's plan on the Prairie State as well as what Illinois should do over the long term to avoid future budget crises.

For more details, check out the Illinois Policy Institute's Economic Reform Agenda for the state.

Richard Rahn of the Cato Institute: Tax Havens, Tax Competition and Financial Privacy March 25, 2009

From the March 17, 2009 edition of the Wall Street Journal:

"If the government suddenly said you would incur more onerous and expensive tax regulations and reporting requirements if you moved your business to a low-tax state such as Texas or Florida from a high-tax state such as New York or California, you would be justifiably outraged. Now substitute Switzerland and Bermuda for Texas and Florida, and France and Germany for New York and California, and you'll understand a new form of 'tax protectionism' that is infecting Washington."

That was written by Dr. Richard Rahn, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, in an op-ed entitled "In Defense of Tax Havens." In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Manager of Media Relations Matt Moon talks with Rahn about various proposals in Congress that would increase taxes, penalties and regulations on investment in low-tax jurisdictions rather than high-tax jurisdictions, as well as the importance of tax competition and financial privacy.

David Harsanyi of the Denver Post: The Politics of Taxes and Fiscal Policy in Colorado March 18, 2009

The Obama administration has recently presented its budget in the midst of a recession. Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi believes that while most "presidents helped ease us out of these tough spots by easing the burden on Americans," the tax provisions within the budget show that "Obama has engaged in the opposite."

In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Tax Foundation Manager of Media Relations Matt Moon talks with Harsanyi as he offers some political analysis of the Obama administration's fiscal policies, arguing that the President now owns the economic crisis. He also briefly reviews fiscal policy in Colorado.

Harsanyi's March 11 column, "Now You Own It, Mr. President," can be found here.

Robert Carroll of the Tax Foundation and Diane Lim Rogers of the Concord Coalition: Moving Forward with Bipartisan Tax Policy Reform March 11, 2009

Outside of the short term policies that have been presented, from the stimulus to the budget, the Obama Administration has indicated that it plans to include fundamental tax reform as part of its long term agenda.

In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Matt Moon moderates a discussion between Tax Foundation Vice President for Economic Policy Robert Carroll and Concord Coalition Chief Economist Diane Lim Rogers. Together, with Maya MacGuineas of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and John E. "Buck" Chapoton of the Concord Coalition, Carroll and Rogers wrote a paper entitled "Moving Forward with Bipartisan Tax Policy" which can be found here as Tax Foundation Working Paper No. 5.

In the podcast, Carroll and Rogers discuss principles they agreed on (simplicity, transparency, promoting savings, rethinking tax expenditures, and an environmentally motivated tax policy) as well as principles where they had divergent viewpoints (the appropriate size and role of government along with the appropriate level of progressivity in the tax code.)

Click here to learn more about the Tax Foundation's work on tax reform. Visit Rogers's blog at EconomistMom.com.

Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI): Tax, Monetary and Entitlement Policy Reform March 04, 2009

On the heels of President Barack Obama's recent release of his fiscal year 2010 budget, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI 1st District), ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, is pushing for major reform in the areas of tax, monetary and entitlement policy, criticizing the new administration's budget as having the practical effect of taxing "work, savings, investment, capital and risk-taking far more than we are today" and "hurting our chances of coming out this recession robustly."

In a discussion with Tax Foundation Manager of Media Relations Matt Moon in this week's edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Ryan proposes a two-tiered individual income tax system with the top marginal tax rate cut to 25% and the lower bracket cut to 10% for the first $100,000 for couples, as well as a cut in the corporate tax rate to 25%.

Ryan's op-ed in the March 2, 2009 edition of the Wall Street Journal on this subject can be found here. His plan for long term fiscal reform, "A Roadmap for America's Future," can be found at www.americanroadmap.org.

Click here to learn more about the Tax Foundation's work on tax reform. Don't forget to visit our CompeteUSA project for more on business tax reform.

Robert Barro, Professor of Economics at Harvard University: Criticism of the Federal Stimulus Package February 19, 2009

In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, we turn to the recently passed federal stimulus package. Tax Foundation Vice President for Economic Policy Robert Carroll, PhD, talks with Robert Barro, the Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Professor Barro is also a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Barro focuses his criticism on both the spending and tax provisions in the stimulus legislation, and makes some recommendations to lawmakers regarding permanent changes to the tax code that could spur long term incentives.

Check out the latest study from Robert Carroll and Mark Robyn on tax savings from the recently passed stimulus package here.

Peter Nelson of the Center of the American Experiment: Budget and Tax Reform in Minnesota February 11, 2009

In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, we continue our discussion of state budget shortfalls. Tax Foundation Manager of Media Relations Matt Moon talks with Peter Nelson, Policy Fellow with the Center of the American Experiment in Minneapolis, a nonpartisan, tax-exempt public policy organization focusing on free market ideas for Minnesota and the nation. Peter discusses Governor Tim Pawlenty's budget proposal for 2009-10 and makes recommendations to Minnesota lawmakers on how the current fiscal situation may be an opportunity to enact tax reform in the North Star State.

Tax Foundation Director of State Projects Joseph Henchman just released his special report: State Budget Shortfalls Present a Tax Reform Opportunity. Don't forget to visit the Tax Foundation's Center for State Fiscal Policy for the latest research and data on state and local taxes.

Joseph Henchman of the Tax Foundation: State Budget Shortfalls Present Opportunities for Tax Reform February 04, 2009

Many states are going through budget shortfalls this year due to the economic downturn. Different states have reacted in a variety of ways to balance their budgets, including lobbying for federal bailouts, proposing tax increases, and calling for hiring freezes. In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Tax Foundation Tax Counsel and Director of State Projects Joseph Henchman discusses the opportunity for tax reform in many states amidst these fiscal crises. Henchman also makes recommendations to state and local government officials on how to face these difficult budget situations.

Don't forget to visit the Tax Foundation's Center for State Fiscal Policy for the latest research and data on state and local taxes.

Alex Brill of the American Enterprise Institute: Corporate Tax Rates - Receipts and Distortions January 28, 2009

With a new Congress and a new administration focused on a short term stimulus proposal to get America out of the current economic downturn, others are focused on long term plans involving taxes to spur investment, create jobs and increase our standard of living. In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge discusses corporate tax reform proposals and global tax competition with Alex Brill, research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and economic policy adviser at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC

To see Brill's latest paper published in the January 2, 2009 edition of Tax Notes, "Corporate Tax Rates: Receipts and Distortions," click here. For more on corporate taxes, visit the Tax Foundation's CompeteUSA campaign

Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association: California's Fiscal Policy and Budget Crisis January 21, 2009

Like many states this year, California is going through a fiscal crisis, measured by some as a $40 billion deficit with current spending proposals. In this edition of the Tax Foundation's Tax Policy Podcast, Tax Counsel and Director of State Projects Joseph Henchman interviews Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. They discuss HJTA’s recent lawsuit over the rushed majority-vote “passage” of the California budget, why the 2/3 rule is important, and prospects for sound tax policy in California.

David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register: Tax and Budget Reform in Iowa January 14, 2009

The new year brings new legislative sessions in every state. And almost every state is going through tough fiscal times in the midst of this economic downturn. While every state legislature and governor is figuring out what to tax, how to spend and where to cut, there are some who see state fiscal crises as an opportunity for government reform.

Staff Economist Josh Barro talks with David Yepsen, columnist from the Des Moines Register, to discuss his suggestions for fiscal reform in Iowa. 

You can find Yepsen's column on the potential for fiscal reform in the Hawkeye State here.

Phil Kerpen of Americans for Prosperity: SCHIP and Potential Federal Cigarette Tax Hike January 07, 2009

As the 111th Congress starts, the Democratic majority is proposing to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which might include increased funding and expanded coverage, from children in families making twice the poverty level to possibly three or four times the poverty level. All of this would be paid for by an increase in the federal cigarette tax from 39 cents for $1 per pack. Phil Kerpen, Director of Policy for Americans for Prosperity, goes through some of the details of this proposal and explains why the cigarette tax hike would disproportionally hit those at lower income levels. You can read Phil's op-ed in the Washington Times on this subject here.

Congressman Jim McCrery (R - LA 4th District) on His Tax Legislation Accomplishments and America's Economic Future November 20, 2008

Congressman Jim McCrery, the winner of this year's Tax Foundation Distinguished Service Award, represents Louisiana's 4th Congressional District, encompassing northwest and west central Louisiana, and is serving his tenth and final term in the U.S. House of Representatives. McCrery is the ranking minority member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and also serves on the Joint Committee on Taxation. Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge talks with Congressman McCrery about his accomplishments in tax legislation as well as what we should expect from when it comes to America's economic future.

Josh Culling of the National Taxpayers Union on Election Day Results of Tax-Related Ballot Initiatives November 19, 2008

While most people on the street and in the media were focusing on the Presidential race as well as major Congressional elections, there were many tax-related measures on the ballot in many states. In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Tax Foundation Tax Counsel Joseph Henchman talks with Josh Culling, State Government Affairs Manager at the National Taxpayers Union, about the results of some of these initiatives in various states as well as what the trends might be when it comes to future legislation and ballot measures on fiscal policy.

State Business Tax Climate Index Tour, Part III: Christopher Summers of the Maryland Public Policy Institute November 06, 2008

Last month, the Tax Foundation released the 2009 State Business Tax Climate Index, a measure of the "business-friendliness" of each state's tax system, providing a roadmap for state lawmakers concerned with keeping their states tax-competitive. In Part Three of the Tax Policy Podcast's Index Tour, we talk with Christopher Summers of the Maryland Public Policy Institute. Maryland had a large slide down our Index, going from 24th in 2008 to 45th in 2009. Chris discusses what happened legislatively last year contributed to this slide, and offers thoughts on Maryland's budget situation.

State Business Tax Climate Index Tour, Part II: Bill Felkner of the Ocean State Policy Research Institute (Rhode Island) November 05, 2008

Last month, the Tax Foundation released the 2009 State Business Tax Climate Index, a measure of the "business-friendliness" of each state's tax system, providing a roadmap for state lawmakers concerned with keeping their states tax-competitive. In Part Two of the Tax Policy Podcast's Index Tour, we talk with Bill Felkner, President of the Ocean State Policy Research Institute in Providence. Rhode Island moved up from 49th to 46th on the Index, and Felkner provides some thoughts on the improvement and what can be done to move the state up further.

State Business Tax Climate Index Tour, Part I: Gregg Edwards of the Center for Policy Research of New Jersey November 04, 2008

Last month, the Tax Foundation released the 2009 State Business Tax Climate Index, a measure of the "business-friendliness" of each state's tax system, providing a roadmap for state lawmakers concerned with keeping their states tax-competitive. In Part One of the Tax Policy Podcast's Index Tour, we talk with Gregg Edwards of the Center for Policy Research of New Jersey, explaining why the Garden State ranks dead last in the Index and what legislators in Trenton can do about it.

Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute on Corporate Taxes and Global Tax Competition October 29, 2008

We continue our discussion on corporate taxes with Chris Edwards, Director of Tax Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Chris has written a new book with Cato Senior Fellow Daniel Mitchell called Global Tax Revolution: The Rise of Tax Competition and the Battle to Defend It. While the country is going through tough economic times, Chris argues that the United States must embrace competition and overhaul the federal tax code, including reforming business taxes. In this edition of the Tax Foundation's Tax Policy Podcast, Chris reflects much of the message of our CompeteUSA campaign and discusses tax reforms that have been enacted in several nations, emphasizing that international tax competition is an often forgotten, yet exciting aspects of globalization.

Staff Economist Josh Barro on the 2009 State Business Tax Climate Index October 22, 2008

Wyoming has the best, and New Jersey has the worst, tax systems when it comes to "business friendliness," according to the Tax Foundation's recently completed 2009 State Business Tax Climate Index, a ranking of the 50 state tax systems that provides a roadmap for state lawmakers concerned with keeping their states tax-competitive. Keeping a state competitive in today's global marketplace can be difficult, but there is one factor lawmakers have direct control over: the quality of state tax systems. The Index measures how well a state's tax system encourages investment by maintaining a broad tax base and low rates. Tax Foundation Staff Economist Josh Barro, author of the this year's report, discusses the importance of the Index and gives us some good news and bad news from some specific states: New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Florida, Rhode Island and Utah.

Glenn Hubbard on Corporate Tax Reform and America's Competitiveness October 13, 2008

In the midst of an economic and financial crisis that is gripping America and the rest of the world, corporate taxes and America's economic competitiveness in a global marketplace seem to be a low priority in lawmakers' minds. Yet, America's corporate tax system has become increasingly out of line compared to our counterparts in the industrialized world. In this edition of the Tax Policy Podcast, Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge interviews Glenn Hubbard, currently Dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business and former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bush from 2001 to 2003. They discuss America's comparatively high corporate tax rate, its potential effects on wages and investment, and what the next Congress and President can do to reform our corporate tax system.

The Facts and Falsehoods of the Presidential Candidates' Tax Plans, Part 2: Sen. McCain's Plan October 09, 2008

With less than a month before the election, Sens. Obama and McCain are criticizing each other's tax plans more than ever.  With their claims repeated in TV ads, speeches and debates, the Tax Foundation decided to do a little fact-checking.   Tax Counsel Joseph Henchman and Senior Economist Gerald Prante have recorded two podcasts. The first, which was released last week and can be found here, is a summary of the tax proposals offered by Sen. Barack Obama. The second podcast, below, summarizes the tax proposals of Sen. John McCain.

The Facts and Falsehoods of the Presidential Candidates' Tax Plans, Part 1: Sen. Obama's Plan October 03, 2008

With 33 days left to go in this historic Presidential election, various claims are made from the Obama and McCain campaigns on each other's tax proposals. With those claims repeated on ads, speeches and debates, the Tax Foundation decided to do a little fact-checking.   Tax Counsel Joseph Henchman and Senior Economist Gerald Prante have done two podcasts. The first, below,  is a summary of the tax proposals offered by Sen. Barack Obama (31 minutes, 55 seconds.) The second podcast will be released next week and is a summary of the tax proposals offere by Sen. John McCain. Henchman and Prante summarize Obama's and McCain's plans as a debate between emphasis on the distribution of the economic pie and emphasis on economic incentives, respectivey.   

Jim Tisch and Ed McClellan on Corporate Capital Gains March 31, 2008

In this podcast, Jim Tisch, President and CEO of Loews Corporation, and Ed McClellan, Tax Counsel at PricewaterhouseCoopers, talk to Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge about the problem of the Untied States' high corporate capital gains rate.

Mr. Tisch and Mr. McClellan explain the difference between the individual capital gains rate and the corporate capital gains rate, the problem of "locked-in" assets and their detrimental impact on business decisions and job creation, the Untied States' decreasing global competitiveness in the face of European nations that are cutting or eliminating the corporate capital gains tax, and the proposal to cut the 35 percent rate to 15 percent. (18 minutes, 2 seconds.)

Nina Olson on Protecting Taxpayers' Rights January 31, 2008

In this podcast, Nina Olson, the nation's Taxpayer Advocate at the IRS and the recipient of the Tax Foundation's 2007 Public Sector Distinguished Service Award, discuses with Scott Hodge the role of the Taxpayer Advocate in protecting taxpayer rights, the independence of the office, and the annual report she submits to Congress identifying problems facing taxpayers.

Ms. Olson explains that her office handled over 240,000 cases last year, an increasing number of which involve middle-income taxpayers. She also discusses the problems that taxpayers and the IRS face when Congress enacts end-of-the-year tax law changes and explains her recent recommendation for payments to taxpayers who have suffered the consequences of IRS mistakes. (21minutes, 20 seconds)

Dr. William Gentry on the Incidence of Corporate Taxes January 17, 2008

Dr. William Gentry joins Tax Foundation Vice President for Economic Policy Robert Carroll to discuss who bears the burden of the corporate income tax. Dr. Gentry is an economics professor at Williams College in Massachusetts and recently wrote a paper for the Treasury Department titled A Review of the Evidence on the Incidence of the Corporate Income Tax. Dr. Gentry discusses the growing academic evidence that suggests the burden of the corporate tax is increasingly falling on labor and impacting workers directly.
(14 minutes, 26 seconds)

Bruce Bartlett on the FairTax December 18, 2007

Economic author and syndicated columnist Bruce Bartlett, a former executive director of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), discusses his new study on the national retail sales tax known as the FairTax. He offers his criticisms of the proposal and details on other ideas for fundamental tax reform. 

Bartlett's Tax Notes article, "Why the FairTax Won't Work," is attached below.

For a competing view on the FairTax, listen to Prof. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Professor of Economics at Boston University and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, discuss the benefits of the plan with Scott Hodge in a podcast we recorded last year.

We have also compiled a FairTax reading list, and our short Special Brief on the issue, “Tax Reform: Flat Tax or FairTax?,” is available here.

Peter Merrill on the United States' High Corporate Tax Rate December 12, 2007

Peter Merrill, head of PricewaterhouseCoopers' National Economic Consulting group, discusses his study that shows the United States has the OECD's second-highest corporate tax rate but realizes the fourth-lowest revenue from the tax. He offers his thoughts on the causes of and solutions to this problem, and ways for the U.S. to become more competitive and efficient.

Alex Brill on International Corporate Tax Rates October 02, 2007

Alex Brill of the American Enterprise Institute discusses a new study he has done on corporate tax rates across the world and shares his observations, findings and suggestions for the future. He points out that the U.S. rate is well above that of competing nations and that the U.S. should lower its rate dramatically to improve international competitiveness.

Congressman Tom Reynolds on Private Equity and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) September 21, 2007

In this podcast, Congressman Tom Reynolds of New York discusses the debate over private equity and carried interest, the future of the AMT, and the politics and possibilities of tax reform.

Senator Robert Bennett on Social Security Reform and Income Tax Reform May 01, 2007

Should the federal income tax be abolished, and if so, what type of tax should replace it? What is the best solution to the Social Security problem, and can the system be reformed without increasing payroll taxes? What is the purpose of taxes, and how has a misunderstanding of the real purpose of taxation contributed to the problems with the current tax code?

In this podcast, Senator Robert Bennett discusses tax compliance costs, the regressivity of payroll taxes, the benefits of consumption taxes, his plan for reforming Social Security, and his suggestions for overhauling the federal tax code. (15 minutes, 57 seconds)

Andrew Chamberlain on the Importance of Federal Spending in Determining Progressivity April 17, 2007

Why are distributional analysis studies that focus solely on taxes incomplete? What can be gained from examining the spending side of the fiscal equation, and how can a recognition of the importance of both sides help policymakers seeking to fundamentally reform the tax code?

In this in-depth podcast, Tax Foundation economist Andrew Chamberlain discusses the importance of taking into account the progressivity of federal spending, which income groups pay the most taxes and receive the most spending in return, and the overall progressivity of federal fiscal policy. (21 minutes, 24 seconds).

William Fox on the Merits of State Sales Taxes and Local Property Taxes April 05, 2007

Which types of taxes should state and local governments rely on most heavily?  Should state sales taxes exempt food and services (such as heath care and legal services), and should stares provide tax "holidays"? At the national level, would a consumption-based tax such as a value-added tax (VAT) or national retail sales tax be a better choice than the income tax?

In this wide-ranging podcast, Dr. William Fox—economics professor and director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee, as well as former visiting scholar for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and past president of the National Tax Association—discusses the merits of state and local reliance on property and sales taxes, sales tax exemptions and holidays, and the possibility of replacing the federal individual income tax with a consumption-based tax.  (22 minutes, 27 seconds)

Senator Orrin G. Hatch on Health Care Reform March 13, 2007

What are the benefits of the President's health care reform plan and health savings accounts, and are there any potential drawbacks? Would the President's plan dissuade companies from offering health insurance to employees? If health savings accounts did not cover routine care, would this dissuade individuals from seeking preventive care?

In this in-depth podcast, U.S. Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) explains why these criticisms of health care reform plans are unfounded and discusses the importance of equal tax treatment for those who purchase health insurance on their own and those who receive it through their employers. (7 minutes, 33 seconds)

Mark Weinberger on the Need for Bipartisanship and Cooperation in Addressing Major Tax Issues February 27, 2007

What are the most pressing tax policy problems facing the country today, and what steps must lawmakers take to resolve them? Can Republicans, Democrats and the President work together to address these issues?

In this wide-ranging discussion, Mark Weinberger, who is the Americas Vice Chairman for Tax Services at Ernst & Young and former Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the U.S. Treasury, explains the importance of bipartisanship and cooperation between the President and Congress, the difficulties of achieving tax simplification in the face of so many attempts to implement social policy through the tax code, the possibility of reform or repeal of the alternative minimum tax, Social Security reform, and the effect of our high corporate tax rate on corporate inversion. (15 minutes, 39 seconds)

Arthur Rosen on the Commerce Clause, Nexus, and State Taxation of Business February 13, 2007

To what extent does the federal Commerce Clause limit a state's power to tax companies that do business within its borders? Should a state be able to tax a company that has no physical presence within the state?

In this in-depth podcast, Arthur Rosen, a partner in the New York City office of the law firm of McDermott, Will & Emery and former Deputy Counsel of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, discusses the issue of nexus, the Commerce Clause as it relates to state taxation of business, the difference between physical presence and economic presence, the West Virginia Supreme Court case Tax Commissioner vs. MBNA America Bank, and Congress' role in the nexus debate. (13 minutes, 57 seconds)

Katherine Baicker on the President's Health Care Tax Initiative January 30, 2007

What are the economic drawbacks of our current employer-provided health insurance system? How did World War II price and wage controls help create the current system, and what should be done now to reform it?

In this informative podcast, Katherine Baicker, a member of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, an associate professor of public policy at the School of Public Affairs at UCLA, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, discusses the President's health care reform plan, the ways it would address the inequities of our current system, its effect on tax burdens, and its potential impact on Social Security benefits and the long-run solvency of the Social Security system. (13 minutes, 34 seconds)

John Mikesell on the Reemergence of Gross Receipts Taxes January 16, 2007

How do gross receipts taxes differ from sales taxes, and why are these differences important? What are the drawbacks to this type of tax? How do they damage certain businesses, and who ultimately ends up paying them?

In this podcast, John Mikesell, Professor of Public Finance and Policy Analysis at Indiana University, discuses these problematic taxes, their recent reemergence in state finance, the damage they inflict on businesses, and their lack of transparency. (12 minutes, 35 seconds)

John Fund on Prospects for Tax Reform in the New Congress January 09, 2007

What are the prospects for tax reform in the new Congress? Will the Democrats’ talk of earmark reform translate into action? In the absence of fundamental tax reform, are there smaller improvements that can be made to the current system?

In this podcast, Wall Street Journal columnist and author John Fund discusses the “Appropriations Party”; the problem of earmarking; lobbying; the growing complexity of the tax code; and reform possibilities for the alternative minimum tax, Social Security, and taxes on savings.  (13 minutes, 31 seconds)

Gerald Prante on Soaring Property Tax Collections December 19, 2006

Which states and counties have the highest property taxes? How are property taxes assessed, and why do Americans dislike them so much?

In this podcast, Tax Foundation Economist Gerald Prante discusses Americans’ disdain for property taxes, the assessment procedure, the states and counties with the highest property taxes, the recent astronomical increase in property tax collections, and property tax limitation efforts. (13 minutes, 21 seconds)

See full report on property tax surge.

Mihir Desai on Corporate Taxation, Business Decisions and Territoriality December 05, 2006

To what extent does taxation affect business decisions? How important are tax issues to corporations’ location choices and foreign direct investment?

In this podcast, Mihir Desai, Associate Professor of Finance at Harvard Business School and Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, discusses various aspects of corporate taxation, including the effects of taxation on business decisions, the damage caused by the tax treatment of corporate capital gains, territoriality, the advantages of reconciling book and tax accounting, and the complacency surrounding the United States’ high corporate tax rate. (15 minutes, 17 seconds)

Pages