Lunch Links: Clinton Increases Proposed Estate Tax Hike for Wealthiest; Poll Finds Americans Divided on Tax Plans; Missouri Voters Face Divergent Cigarette Tax Ballot Choices; Amazon to Collect Taxes on D.C. Purchases

September 23, 2016

Today is September 23, the birthday in 63 B.C. of the Emperor Augustus, Rome’s first emperor and the namesake of the month of August. Among other things he was a tax reformer, replacing arbitrary and intermittent tributes collected by private tax collectors with a system whereby civil servants collected fixed tax quotas from each province in proportion to population. Indirect taxes included taxes on sales, slaves, and inheritances.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

Clinton Proposes 65 Percent Top Estate Tax Rate on Billionaires: Hillary Clinton announced plans for across-the-board increases to the estate tax, including a new top rate of 65 percent on married couples with estates of $1 billion or more. My colleague Scott Greenberg dug into actuarial tables and he figures that proposal would raise $600 million a year at best: “more symbolic than anything.” (Clinton Campaign / Tax Foundation)

Trump’s $1.5 Trillion Tax Detail: The Wall Street Journal summarizes Trump’s new tax proposal, using Tax Foundation numbers. They note that Trump would rely heavily on Congress to enact policy. (The Wall Street Journal)

America Divided: When asked to agree with only one of the following statements on what Congress should do, 42 percent agreed with “narrow the income gap between the rich and the poor by raising taxes on upper-income people and spending more on programs for lower-income people,” 40 percent agree with “grow the overall U.S. economy by cutting taxes,” 11 percent agreed with “increasing federal government spending on important areas” and 7 percent declined to answer. (Politico / Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)

Millennials on Taxes: A survey of 18-to-34-year-olds finds that 36 percent think their taxes are too high, 53 percent say they’re about right, and 3 percent think they’re too low. The number who think it’s too high rises as they get older. Also, 56 percent think low-income people pay too much, 70 percent think the wealthy pay too little and 54 percent think their standard of living won’t be higher than their parents’. (EY / Economic Innovation Group)

From the Left: The Center for American Progress has released “Tax Simplification That Works for Everyone,” a brief advocating for a complete worldwide tax system for corporations, requiring pass-through businesses to pay corporate income tax, ending step-up basis for capital gains, consolidating nine education tax incentives into one, consolidating retirement saving tax incentives, and allowing small businesses to use expensing. (Center for American Progress)

Missouri Cigarette Tax Ballot Initiatives: Missouri has two competing cigarette tax ballot initiatives. Amendment 3 would raise the tax by 60 cents a pack (octupling it) and use the money primarily for pre-K programs. Amendment A would raise the tax by 6 cents a pack and use the money for transportation infrastructure. (KSHB-TV, Kansas City)

Amazon to Collect D.C. Sales Tax: Starting October 1, D.C.’s 5.75 percent sales tax will apply to all Amazon purchases. Rumors are Amazon is preparing some kind of retail store for the city but Amazon declined to say. The company currently collects sales tax in 29 states where it has a physical presence. (WTOP / Don’t Mess With Taxes)

Presidential Campaign: It’s 45 days until Election Day. The first presidential debate is Monday night.

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