Lunch Links: Corporate Tax Rates by Company; Louisiana Considers Gas Tax Increase; Debating the Muni Bond Exemption

July 25, 2016

Today is July 25, Puerto Rico Constitution Day. A territory of the United States, Puerto Rico has been in the news lately due to its debt crisis: the government owes $72 billion it doesn’t have, and onerous and unstable tax policy has helped cause a demographic and economic nexus that makes recovery challenging. Earlier this summer, Congress and the President approved a restructuring plan that sets up a board with some power to restructure the island’s finances.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

  • Trump Suggests Different Tax Rates for Different Companies: Bloomberg reporter Alex Parker tweeted out the comment. Such a proposal may or may not violate constitutional uniformity requirements, or perhaps even a bill of attainder (due to corporate personhood). (Twitter)
  • Limiting or Eliminating the Muni Bond Exemption: The Bond Buyer leads today with our new report analyzing the federal tax exemption for state and local bonds. We argue that the tax exemption encourages overbuilding, is inefficient compared with alternative ways of reducing state and local borrowing costs, and unfairly benefits states with high income taxes. Muni bond dealers are emphatically stating their opposition. (Bond Buyer / Tax Foundation)
  • FASB Change to Affect Effective Corporate Tax Rates: The Financial Accounting Standards Board will next year require corporations to report stock option grants in the year of the grant rather than the year it is exercised. Nothing changes economically, but the rule change will boost what corporations state as their earnings and drive down effective tax rates. (New York Times)
  • Alaska Former Official Pushes Income or Sales Tax: Without using the words “income tax” or “sales tax,” former state deputy revenue commissioner Larry Persily says Alaska needs one. Alaska repealed its income tax in 1980. (Anchorage Daily News)
  • Nebraska Debates Tax Reform for 2017 Session: Urban legislators want to reduce the state’s high income and business taxes but rural legislators want to reduce the tax burden on farmers. The unicameral legislature next meets in January. (Grand Island Independent)
  • Louisiana Looks at Gas Tax Increase: An 18-member transportation commission is reviewing the state’s $12.7 billion road and bridge wish list and making recommendations to the Legislature. The state’s 20 cent gas tax, set in 1990, is the 41st highest among the states. (The Advocate)

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