Lunch Links: IRS Auditing by Telephone, President Obama vs. Senator Paul on Tax Treaties, Jamba Juice Flees California

May 9, 2016

Today is May 9, the date in 1873 when the Vienna Stock Exchange collapsed, signaling the beginning of the Long Depression (1873-1879) of severe deflation and recovering from overleveraged debt.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

  • Taxpayers Reveal that IRS is Auditing Them by Telephone: The revelation occurred at a National Taxpayer Advocate forum in Kimballton, Iowa. The IRS is supposed to initiate audits by mailed letter, and commonly warns that phone calls from people claiming to be the IRS and asking for personal information are usually scams. But tax specialists in Iowa reported that “it happens all the time.” (Tax Notes)
  • President Obama vs. Rand Paul on Tax Treaties: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is blocking the approval of several tax treaties, citing privacy concerns about sharing Americans’ information with other countries. President Obama called Paul “a little quirky on this issue,” to which the Senator responded, “Privacy and 4th Amendment rights are not quirky.” (ABC / Wall Street Journal / Twitter)
  • Jamba Juice Moves HQ From California to Texas: The smoothie retailer, with 820 stores nationwide, will be relocating from Emeryville, CA to Frisco, TX. Observers suspect taxes were part of the reason. (Fortune)
  • Illinois Voters Will Decide Gas Tax “Lockbox” Constitutional Amendment: Transportation revenues have been diverted to other state funds, although even if all Illinois gas taxes, fees, and tolls were dedicated to roads, it would only cover 56 percent of road spending. (Chicago Tribune / Tax Foundation)
  • Colorado Hospital Provider Fee Fund: Tax Disguised as a Fee: The Independence Institute evaluates where the money comes from, where it goes, and why it exists. (Independence Institute)
  • North Dakota Budgets to Be Reduced by 10 Percent: With the oil boom over, state agencies must craft budgets assuming a 10 percent spending cut, the first reduction request since 2002. State agencies absorbed a 4.05 percent cut in February to help balance this year’s budget. Revenue and spending are still about double what they were ten years ago. (Bismarck Tribune / North Dakota Watchdog)
  • Aftershocks of Kansas Tax Policy Felt Nationwide: Jonathan Shorman of the Topeka Capital-Journal summarizes Kansas’s tax and budget woes and the state’s use as an example by national experts. (Topeka Capital-Journal)
  • Residents of Colorado Town Receive Checks Rebating Grocery Tax: Many Colorado cities collect sales tax on groceries and rebate some of the revenue to low-income families to help cover grocery bills. Brighton, Colorado chose to rebate it to all residents, so each resident will get a $39 check. (Denver Post)
  • The Triumphs & Tribulations of a Pragmatic Progressive Governor: This lengthy Salon profile of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy’s time in office somehow never mentions the words “General Electric,” who moved out of the state after a significant business tax increase. (Salon)
  • Greeks Strike as New Reforms Loom on Tax and Pensions: The strike lasted until Sunday, when MPs voted to approve new austerity measures. (BBC)

Also, this Friday the Cato Institute hosts a forum on whether “Gross Output” should replace Gross Domestic Product.

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