Lunch Links: Beverage Industry Sues to Prevent Soda Tax in Philly; Chicago City Council Imposes Hefty Water/Sewer Tax to Aid Unfunded Pension Liability; TF Models Effects of Past Tax Legislation

September 15, 2016

Today is September 15, the date in 1254 that some historians believe Marco Polo was born. The Venetian traveled to Asia and spent years at the court of Kublai Khan, perhaps as a tax collector. His book on the experience, published in 1300, introduced Europe to China.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

MPAA Chafed by USC Studies Critical of Film and TV Tax Incentives: The Motion Picture Association of America yesterday released a statement attacking two recent studies by USC Professor Michael Thom, who found state tax incentives have little long-term effect on employment or wage growth. We posted a blog post reviewing the criticism. (Hollywood Reporter / Tax Foundation)

Modeling the Economic Effects of Past Tax Bills: Our scholars took our economic model and applied it to see how it predicted economic effects from tax changes enacted in 1964, 1981, 1986, 1993, 1997, 2001, and 2003. They find that Reagan’s 1981 tax cut and the Kennedy/Johnson tax cuts of 1964 have the strongest growth effects, which was borne out in reality. Key takeaways: larger tax changes don’t mean larger economic effects, the top rate isn’t everything, and depreciation changes are significant. (Tax Foundation)

IRS Impeachment Vote Postponed: The House Freedom Caucus agreed to back down on their demand for an immediate vote on impeaching IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, in favor of a hearing by the House Judiciary Committee next Wednesday. (Chad Pergram, FOX News)

Cadillac Tax Planning Begins: Congress decided last December to postpone the new tax on high-end health insurance plans until 2020, but employers are already starting to drop pricier options or pare back plans. The tax is 40 percent on health insurance plans with premiums of more than $10,200 (individual) or $27,500 (family) per year.

Olympic Tax Bill Proceeds, With Amendment: The effort to exempt Olympic medal winners from paying federal income taxes on their medal winnings made it out of the House Ways & Means Committee, with an amendment making those earning more than $1 million ineligible for the new tax break. (Politico)

Industry Sues to Stop Philadelphia Soda Tax: Estimating that the tax will raise soft drink prices by 31 percent, the American Beverage Association, the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, beverage distributors, and two city residents sued yesterday to stop the 1.5 cent per ounce tax from going into effect in January 2017. (The Wall Street Journal)

Chicago Approves Water and Sewer Tax for Pensions: The City Council voted 40 to 10 to impose a 29.5 percent tax on water and sewer bills, to help tackle Chicago’s $18 billion unfunded pension liability. The average homeowner will see their bill go up by $53 more next year, $115 more in 2018, $180 more in 2019, and $225 more in 2020. (Chicago Sun-Times)

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