Lunch Links: Deficit Dilemma Debated; First-Year $$$ Projection Topped from Nevada Gross Receipts Tax; State Ballot Initiatives Analyzed

October 21, 2016

Today is October 21, the date in 1942 when the Revenue Act of 1942 was passed, making the federal income tax a broad-based tax for the first time. Personal exemptions were reduced from $1,500 per couple to $1,200 per couple and the lowest tax rate rose from 10 percent to 19 percent, which included a 5 percent surtax on all incomes to help pay for World War II. This was also when the income tax first provided a deduction for employer-provided medical expenses, which remains with us today, and a flat 90 percent on “excess profits” earned due to war production.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

More About Ballot Initiatives: My colleagues and I analyze Colorado’s Amendment 69 tripling income taxes for universal health care; Olympia, Washington’s Initiative 1 disguised income tax; and California’s local transportation sales taxes. Review the complete list of this year’s tax-related ballot initiatives here.

More Debate on Corporate Tax Effects: The Atlantic discusses how much corporate tax cuts could boost economic growth. (The Atlantic)

Do Deficits Matter?: With Trump promoting a big tax cut and Clinton not reducing the deficit much, The Christian Science Monitor looks at expert opinion on federal borrowing. (The Christian Science Monitor)

Cleveland to Vote on Income Tax Increase: Cleveland voters will decide whether to raise their local income tax from 2 percent to 2.5 percent, but 90 percent of the tax is paid by commuters. (WKSU-TV)

Nevada Commerce Tax Beats First-Year Projection: Nevada’s new tax on gross receipts brought in $143.5 million rather than the $119.8 million projected; 120,226 businesses filed returns but only about 5,000 paid any tax because the tax exempts the first $4 million in receipts. Another 4,000 businesses requested a six-month extension.

Nevada’s Fund Manager Outperforms by Doing Nothing: Steve Edmundson manages Nevada’s Public Employees’ Retirement System, outearning other funds with hundreds of staff and consultants. His secret is investing mostly in low-overhead, passively-managed index funds and not trying to time the market. He packs his lunch every day and leaves the office at 5 p.m.

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