Lunch Links: Clinton Holds Back Details on Business Tax Plan; Leading Economists Sign Letter of Opposition to Trump; Los Angeles Weighs Separate Marijuana Taxes from Statewide Proposition; Kansas Once Again Misses Revenue Projection

November 2, 2016

Today is November 2, the date in 1931 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided United States v. Kirby Lumber Co., a key tax decision on the definition of income. The Kirby Lumber Company issued $12.1 million in bonds in June 1923, and later that same year bought some of them back, at a price below face value of $137,521. Kirby Lumber said debt reduction was not the same as income and they shouldn’t be taxed on it; the Court ruled against them, finding that Kirby’s assets went up because of the debt discharge and that it should be included in taxable income. The federal income tax code was later amended to make explicit the inclusion of discharged debt, 26 U.S.C. § 61(a)(12).

Here are some interesting links I came across:

Clinton Not Releasing Details on Business Tax Plan: Clinton’s economic proposals include $275 billion over ten years in new business taxes, but details won’t come until after the election. (Washington Examiner)

370 Economists Sign Letter Opposing Trump: The letter is critical of Trump’s statements on economic issues, including the impact of his tax policy on the deficit. (The Wall Street Journal)

State Ballot Initiative Summaries: More overviews of key tax-related initiatives from Forbes, Accounting Web, and State Tax Notes.

Vegas Stadium Opponent on Clark County Board Weighs Options: While the Nevada legislature mandated the increase to Clark County’s room taxes to pay for an NFL-ready stadium, Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani is looking at ways to bundle them or unbundle them, since it’s a county tax. Other commissioners are skeptical that they can say no. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Los Angeles Considers Its Own Marijuana Tax: If California voters approve Proposition 64 legalizing and taxing marijuana statewide, local governments may add their own taxes. Los Angeles is considering two versions for the March 2017 ballot: one that taxes all marijuana at 8 percent, and another that taxes medicinal at 5 percent and recreational at 10 percent. (KPCC-Radio)

Kansas Off Again: Kansas missed its October revenue goal by $12.7 million, although the mix was due to lower corporate and sales tax and higher income tax. One-third of the way through the fiscal year, revenues are now about $80 million off projection. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

St. Louis Zoo Says No to Admission Charges: The zoo is currently funded by $70 million in local property taxes, and a proposal would have started charging admission for visitors from outside the city and county. The zoo has a $50 million deferred maintenance backlog. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

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