Blog Post Round-Up

August 17, 2008

It’s been a busy week on our blog! Here are some highlights:

  • Maine Policymakers Agree: Maine’s Income Tax Too High: Earlier this week, Maine politicians reacted with surprising unanimity to the Tax Foundation’s new State & Local Tax Burdens report. Governor John Baldacci (D) and Republican and Democratic leaders in the state legislature all acknowledged that Maine’s personal income tax, with a rate that tops out at 8.5%, is too high and needs to be cut.
  • Both McCain and Obama Are Actually Seeking Higher Gas Prices: Obama accuses McCain of supporting “big oil.” McCain accuses Obama of wanting higher taxes on energy, as a newly released ad does again. But what both sides won’t tell you is that each supports a policy that is designed (intentionally) to raise the price of motor gasoline.
  • Wall Street Journal Sees Declining U.S. Competitiveness, Cites New Tax Foundation Study: Today, a WSJ editorial discussed our latest analysis of the OECD report explaining that the U.S. corporate tax rate is now 50% higher than our economic counterparts in the industrialized world, making us dangerously uncompetitive in a globally integrated economy, especially with another OECD study saying that corporate taxes are the single most harmful tax to growth and progress.
  • Los Angeles Looks to Top Chicago’s Sales Tax: Chicago recently increased local sales taxes, making rates in the city 10.25%. The rate, which is the highest in that nation, may soon rank second to Los Angeles.
  • Thursday Video: Social Security (and Payroll Taxes) Turn 73 Years Old Today: Today is the 73rd birthday of the Social Security system in the United States. Signed into law in 1935, the first payroll taxes were collected in 1937 and the first payment made in 1940. Although initially the system was designed to pay out benefits from a reserve fund, it was changed in 1939 to “pay-as-you-go”—payroll taxes that are collected are immediately paid out to current retirees.
  • Three Ways to Look at the Maryland Slots Debate: In November, Maryland residents will vote on a controversy that has been brewing for years: whether to put government-run slot machines at state racetracks and other locations to raise revenue.
  • Huffington Post Article on GAO Report Lax on Substance, Heavy on Political Rhetoric: Anyone who has spent five minutes studying corporate tax policy knows that sales do not equate profits. A large corporation could make $50 million in sales and have $75 million in expenses and thereby pay no corporate income tax. That large corporation didn’t “make” $50 million. It lost $25 million.
  • Democratic Draft Platform Details More Tax Complexity Despite Call for Simplification: You cannot both reduce tax complexity and create lots of new special interest deductions and credits. Far from proposing to eliminate these and lower rates overall, the platform actually proposes to create new special interest deductions and credits, worsening the complexity.

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