Lunch Links: New Jersey Lawmakers Set to Vote on Gas Tax Hike; Tax Experts Weigh in on Trump’s Reported Losses; Kansas Shortfall Extended

October 4, 2016

Today is October 4, the date in 1877 when the Bureau of Engraving and Printing printed its first federal tax stamps. The federal government had previously contracted with various private vendors but a bill passed earlier that year made the BEP the exclusive printer of federal tax stamps, so long as the costs were below private vendors. The BEP still does so today, although its main job is printing all U.S. currency.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

Trump’s Tax Loss: Tax experts are speculating on how Trump had a $916 million tax loss without having offsetting income from, say, a debt discharge. David Cay Johnston speculates Trump found a way to keep tax losses but transfer tax gains to his hotel/casino company’s shareholders. Ryan Ellis thinks the culprit is the 1986 tax reform act’s locking up of real estate tax deductions. Josh Barro thinks Trump’s strategy was to delay real estate sales (other than like exchanges) until death, when they would pass tax-free to his children in some circumstances. (Politico / The New York Times / Daily Beast / Forbes / Business Insider)

Spokesperson Says Trump Paid Taxes, When Due: On CBS This Morning, Kellyanne Conway listed taxes that Trump pays but left out federal income taxes. When pressed on this, she replied: “Well, he certainly has, in years that he made a profit; like anybody else, he paid income taxes.” She said “we don’t know that” on why Trump had such a large tax loss in 1995. (Politico)

New Jersey Tax Agreement: A multi-part deal to be voted on by state lawmakers Wednesday will raise the state gas tax from 23 cents to 37.5 cents a gallon, relieving an essentially bankrupt transportation fund. The state sales tax will drop from 7 percent to 6.875 percent next year and to 6.625 percent in January 2018, and the state estate tax will be eliminated that year as well. (The Wall Street Journal / The New York Times)

Mississippi Tax Reform Discussions: My colleague Nicole Kaeding testified in Jackson yesterday, continuing the conversation on how to improve the state’s tax system. (Jackson Clarion-Ledger)

Oregon Measure 97: The Portland Tribune writes up the initiative and other items on the November ballot. (Portland Tribune)

Kansas Falls Short Again: Kansas revenue came in $45 million under projection in September, making it a $67 million shortfall for the quarter and fiscal year so far. Volatile income taxes are to blame, suggesting the controversial pass-through exclusion contributed to the issue. (Reuters / Tax Foundation)

VP Debate Tonight: Senator and former Virginia governor Tim Kaine (D-VA) will debate Governor Mike Pence (R-IN) at 9 ET tonight.

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