Lunch Links: Americans Not Falling for Sales Tax Holidays; Estate Tax Battle Heats Up; Alabama Discussing Gas Tax

August 18, 2016

Today is August 18, the date in 1988 when George H.W. Bush said “Read my lips: no new taxes” to the Republican National Convention when accepting the presidential nomination. The pledge got a lot of attention, and even more in 1990 when Bush decided to agree to significant tax increases as part of a budget deal. The subsequent loss of trust arguably impacted Bush’s 1992 re-election effort.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

Estate Tax Battle Between Clinton and Trump: In a Cleveland speech, Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump’s plan to repeal the federal estate tax would benefit his own family, while her plan to raise it would allow a number of spending priorities. (The Wall Street Journal)

Taxing CEOs: My colleague Alex Durante reviews the literature on what the “optimal” (most revenue in the least distortive manner) tax rate on CEOs is. A new Carnegie Mellon study estimates it’s somewhere between 30.1 percent and 40.2 percent, encompassing the current 39.6 percent top tax rate. (Tax Foundation)

A Twenty-First Century Tax Code for Nebraska: More coverage of our new report from the Lincoln Journal-Star, KLKN-TV, and the Omaha World-Herald.

Americans Less Interested in Sales Tax Holidays: A Rasmussen Reports poll finds that 44 percent of Americans say they are more likely to buy things during a sales tax holiday, the lowest saying yes to that question since Rasmussen started asking it in 2010. 38 percent say a sales tax holiday makes no difference in their decisions. Sales tax holidays are politically expedient but poor tax policy. (Rasmussen Reports / Tax Foundation)

Alabama Discusses Gas Tax Increase: A 6 cent per gallon increase will be heard today by the House Transportation Committee. (Decatur Daily)

Kansas Governor Pushes Medicaid Federal Aid Boost: Gov. Brownback (R) says he’ll ask the legislature to increase a health provider tax, that in turn will leverage more federal funds because the feds give Kansas $1.28 for each dollar the state spends on Medicaid. States tend to do this (taxing health care to leverage more federal aid) in times of severe fiscal stress. (Wichita Eagle / Kansas City Star)

New York Combining Property Tax Rebate Checks: For efficiency reasons, taxpayers who haven’t yet gotten a 2015 check under $50 will have it combined with the ones that go out this fall. (Watertown Daily Times)

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