Lunch Links: Minnesota Tax Bill Held Up by Grammar; Puerto Rico May Void $4 Billion of Debt; Kansas Revenues Off Again

June 3, 2016

Today is June 3, the date in 1929 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Old Colony Trust Co. v. Commissioner, which held that a company agreeing to pay an employee’s income taxes for him is itself additional income with additional tax liability. It’s what I thought of immediately when Oprah gave away cars in 2004: the car’s $28,500 counted as income, so all the recipients had to pay about $7,000 worth of taxes if they kept the car. A few years later, when Oprah gave away Volkswagens, she agreed to cover the tax bill by grossing up cash payments so that they fully covered tax liability.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

  • Paul Ryan Says He’s Voting for Donald Trump to Advance Policy Agenda: In his announcement, Speaker Ryan also states, “This month, we’ll show the country what a better tax code looks like.” (Janesville Gazette)
  • President Obama’s Former Nutrition Advisor Says Soda Taxes Not Designed for Health Outcomes: Sam Kass, who worked at the White House from 2009 to 2014, told attendees at a Politico breakfast: “The soda tax, that's a revenue generator that's not designed for public health outcomes.” (Twitter / Politico)
  • Alaska Governor Seeks Income Tax Reinstatement: Gov. Walker (I) attacked a legislative budget plan yesterday, saying it shirks hard decisions. Walker proposes a state income tax of 6 percent of federal liability, effective 2018. Alaska repealed its income tax in 1980. (YourAlaskaLink)
  • Kansas Legislators Override Veto of Taxpayer Appeals Bill: Just one senator voted to sustain Gov. Brownback’s veto of a bill allowing taxpayers to appeal tax assessments to a district judge. New revenue estimates also came out another $76.5 million short of estimates, reopening a budget deficit for the fiscal year ending June 30. (State Tax Notes / Wichita Eagle)
  • Minnesota Governor Rejects Tax Bill Over One Word: A provision reduces taxes on gambling establishes that get most of their receipts from bingo *or* no other organization conducts gambling on the premises. Gov. Dayton (DFL) says that should be an “and” not an “or,” and if he signed it would reduce state revenues by $30 million. (State Tax Notes)
  • Puerto Rico May Seek to Void $4 Billion of Debt: The 2014 and 2015 notes apparently exceeded constitutional debt limits. (MarketWatch)
  • Gary Johnson on Taxes: The former New Mexico Governor and newly nominated nominee of the Libertarian Party said he’ll sign any bill that makes the tax system better, with a long-term goal of ending income and business taxation in favor of consumption taxes. (C-SPAN Washington Journal)

Also, it’s National Donut Day.

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