Lunch Links: Buffett Challenges Trump Over Tax Returns; North Carolina Surplus Triggers Tax Cut; The Story of New York’s Wooing GE

August 2, 2016

Today is August 2, the date in 1886 when Congress passed a tax on oleomargarine. Dairy farmers successfully lobbied Congress to impose a hefty tax on margarine, an oil-based yellow-colored imitation butter that proved to be quite popular with consumers due to being cheaper. Despite being obviously intended to discourage the purchase of one product to benefit a competitor, the Supreme Court upheld it 6 to 3 in 1904. (The oleomargarine excise tax was repealed during World War II rationing, and since then, margarine has outsold butter.)

Here are some interesting links I came across:

  • Buffett Taunts Trump Over Tax Returns: Billionaire Warren Buffett, campaigning at a Hillary Clinton rally, said he’d meet Trump “any place, any time” to go over each other’s tax returns. (ABC News)
  • North Carolina Surplus Triggers Corporate Tax Cut: The state budget director says higher-than-expected tax revenues mean the last scheduled cut from 4 percent to 3 percent will now take place, effective in 2017. The triggered cut was part of the 2013-15 tax reform that lowered individual taxes, eliminated many credits and deductions as well as the estate tax, broadened the sales tax, and cut business taxes. (WRAL / Tax Foundation)
  • Kansas Revenue Falls Short for First Month of New Fiscal Year: The state collected $425 million, 3 percent short of their projected $438 million. The state hit its revenue estimate only 2 months out of the last 12, and income tax revenue remains a quarter below where it was before the 2011-12 tax package. (Associated Press / Twitter / Tax Foundation)
  • Project Plum – The Story of New York’s Wooing GE: After Connecticut passed a damaging tax increase, General Electric moved its headquarters from that state to Boston. New York was the runnerup, wooing the company with tours of potential sites, a presentation by the governor, and potential tax credits. (Politico)
  • Tax on Oregon Ballot Won’t Necessarily Go to Education: Backers of the Measure 97 gross receipts tax, a kind of super sales tax, say the money will be dedicated to education, health care, and senior services. The legislative counsel office, however, wrote that Measure 97 does not bind the legislature and the money can be spent however they want. (Oregon Legislative Counsel Committee)
  • Ohio Local Income Tax Increases on the Ballot: Voters in November will decide whether to hike local income taxes in Cleveland, Dayton, New Franklin, and Centreville. 868 entities in Ohio impose a local income tax. (Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council / Tax Foundation)

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