Lunch Links: IRS Punishes Whistleblower; Hawaii to Evaluate Tax Credits; Greece Using Cash-Sniffing Dogs

July 20, 2016

Today is July 20, the date in 1940 when the first 3.7-mile segment of the United States’ first freeway opened for traffic in Los Angeles. Today, a quarter of all vehicle miles driven in the United States are on controlled-access interstate highways, although the sudden stop in driving growth about ten years ago has created enormous pressure on road funding and tax mechanisms that were premised on annual growth in driving.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

  • Republican Delegates Split on Trump Releasing Tax Returns: Some say releasing the returns would just fall into a trap set by naysayers and critics, while others say strange he hasn’t and that it’s vital for transparency. Potential VP candidates had to give the campaign 12 years of tax returns. (Tax Analysts)
  • IRS Still Punishing Whistleblower: IRS lawyer William Henck allegedly told reporters some key information about corporate tax credits, and the IRS responded by opening an internal criminal investigation into him. The investigation was completed six months ago but the IRS won’t tell him the results or give him a copy of the report, and they refuse to comment on it. It’s the only pending case from 66 referred to the chief counsel in 2015. Henck’s attorney says it’s ongoing harassment. (Washington Post)
  • Greece Using Dogs to Keep Cash in Country: With more than 50 billion euros fleeing Greece over the past few years and up to 20 billion euros stashed in Greek mattresses and desk drawers, the Greek Finance Ministry is buying German Shepherds, Labradors, and Belgian Melinois trained to detect cash. (Reuters)
  • Hawaii Approves Tax Incentive Evaluation Law: The new law directs the state auditor to evaluate performance on a rotating cycle. 21 states and DC have passed similar laws since 2012. This is good news–we regularly can't get basic data from Hawaii we get from other states. (Pew Center on the States)
  • Montana Governor Proposes New Business Credits: Gov. Steve Bullock (D), in a tight re-election race, says he’s supporting a 75 percent reduction in taxes on business equipment for five years, a $2,000 tax credit for hiring veterans, and a $1,000 tax credit for job training. Bullock previously vetoed bills to reform Montana’s individual and business taxes. (Montana Public Radio / Tax Foundation)
  • Oklahoma Sales Tax Moves Ahead to Ballot: The 1 percent sales tax increase for education spending survived a legal challenge. (KFOR)
  • Brunori on Sales Taxes: The noted state tax expert tells you everything you need to know in ten paragraphs. (Tax Analysts)

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