Lunch Links: Repeal of Vapor Tax Passed by Pennsylvania House Committee; Oklahomans to Vote on Sales Tax Increase to Fund Education; Fitch Lowers West Virginia Ranking on ‘Weak’ Demographics and Drop in Coal/Natural Gas Demand

September 29, 2016

Today is September 29, the date in 1789 when the first session of Congress adjourned after a 209-day session that included establishing the Departments of State, War, and Treasury; passing the Judiciary Act; and imposing a revenue tariff. Congress did not meet again until January 1790.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

Initial coverage of our just-released 2017 State Business Tax Climate Index from the The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Newsday, New York Daily News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Albuquerque Journal, Salt Lake Tribune, Providence Journal, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Crain’s Cleveland Business, Denver Business Journal, Hartford Courant, Rochester Business Journal, Orlando Business Journal, Morristown Daily Record, Wyoming Business Report, Virginian-Pilot, and State Tax Notes.

Republican Senators Ask Treasury to Withdraw Estate Tax Regulations: The proposed rules limit valuation discounts, which the government says are abused to get estates under the $5.45 million tax threshold. The Republican senators say the rules are overbroad. (The Wall Street Journal)

Oklahoma Sales Tax Debate: Voters will decide Question 779, which would raise the state’s sales tax by one point for education. Some communities would have the highest sales taxes in the country if it passes. (Fox 25)

Pennsylvania House Committee Votes to Repeal Punitive Vapor Tax: The House Finance Committee voted 19 to 4 to repeal the 40 percent tax, replacing it with a 5-cent-per-mL tax. All Republicans voted yes; three Democrats voted yes and four voted no. (Fox 43)

West Virginia Downgraded: Fitch dropped the state one notch to AA, citing drop in demand for coal and natural gas, spending growth exceeding revenue growth, “weak” demographics, and ongoing population loss. (Governing)

Wind Tax Increase Dropped in Wyoming: Wyoming taxes wind energy production at $1 per megawatt hour, and an effort to raise it to $3 per megawatt hour was dropped after a five-hour hearing last week. The wind industry threatened to move out of the state if it passed, which I would think would be hard to do. (Governing)

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