Lunch Links: Justice Department Charges Those Defrauding Americans of $300M in IRS Phone Scams; Christie Criticizes Lt. Governor on Transportation Revenue Stance; More TV Series Move to Hollywood for Tax Benefits

October 28, 2016

Today is October 28, the date in 1886 when the Statue of Liberty was dedicated. The statue was constructed in France through French public donations (primarily from a lottery); the pedestal was built in the United States from donations by 120,000 Americans, including $1.35 from a kindergarten class in Davenport, Iowa.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

56 People Charged with Fake IRS Calls: The Department of Justice has charged 56 people and five call centers with defrauding 15,000 Americans of $300 million by posing as the IRS in phone calls. The scheme was hatched in India but had two dozen U.S. conspirators. (NPR)

South Dakota Tax Collections Misses Target: South Dakota hoped sales tax revenue would climb 16.9 percent this year, boosted by a half-point rate increase and a growing economy. It’s missed that target, and combined with low crop prices, means a budget gap has opened. (Rapid City Journal)

Christie Criticizes Lieutenant Governor Over Transportation Lockbox Measure: New Jersey voters will decide a ballot question “lockbox”-ing transportation revenue in a dedicated trust fund. Gov. Chris Christie (R) supports the measure; his deputy, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R), says she opposes it and hopes voting it down will send the recent gas tax increase back to the drawing board. Christie’s office criticized Guadagno’s stance. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

California Lures 6 TV Series with Expanded Tax Subsidies: Veep, Scream Queens, American Crime, American Horror Story, Secrets and Lies, and Mistresses relocated to California to take advantage of $230 million of new film and television tax credits. Movies receiving the subsidies include Why Him with Bryan Cranston and James Franco, Annabelle 2, and a big-screen remake of CHiPs. (Los Angeles Times)

Gary Johnson Argues with Guardian on Taxes: A British reporter tells the Libertarian presidential nominee that “no economist” agrees with Johnson’s approach of emphasizing consumption taxes over income and business taxes (this is false; AEI and Urban/TPC have pieces this week debating what types of taxes America should have); Johnson replies that experts called him wrong when he endorsed marijuana legalization in the 1990s. (The Guardian)

Farewell, Iowa Pumpkin Tax: In 2007, Iowa sent a notice to retailers reminding them that pumpkins bought for eating were tax-exempt but pumpkins bought for decorating were taxable, and to collect tax from customers accordingly. We gave the rule publicity, which sparked outrage, and led to its repeal. (Tax Foundation)

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