Lunch Links: Republican VP Candidate Pence Releases Tax Returns; Germany’s Finance Minister Calls for European Tax Cuts; Philadelphia Downgraded by Moody’s for Perilously Low Cash Fund Balances

September 12, 2016

Today is September 12, the date in 1848 when Switzerland was reorganized from a loose confederation into a federal state, following a month-long civil war. The new central government would have some key powers but cantons would preserve most local decision-making and the legislature was divided (similar to the U.S.) into an upper house, with each canton having equal representation, and a lower house, elected by the people as a whole. On taxes, Swiss cantons can set their tax rates and establish new taxes, but bases of existing taxes are harmonized. All taxes are subject to popular referendum.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

Pence Releases Tax Returns: The Republican vice-presidential nominee earned his governor’s salary, a federal pension from his time in Congress, but lost a small amount on his wife’s painting business. They deducted student loan interest, $8,923 in charitable contributions, and received education tax credits for their children in college. (The Wall Street Journal)

French EU Tax Head Defends Apple Decision: European Tax Commissioner Pierre Moscovici defended the European Commission’s decision to order Apple to pay €13 billion ($14.6 billion USD) to Ireland, saying it was neither arbitrary nor “anti-U.S.” (Bloomberg BNA)

Germany’s Schäuble Says Common Corporate Tax Base in EU a Good Idea: Germany’s finance minister applauds the European Commission’s work to create a common consolidated corporate tax base in Europe. (Reuters)

Germany’s Schäuble Calls for Tax Cuts: Not sure how to square this with the above, but Schäuble also wants a €15 billion ($16.8 billion USD) tax cut. (Euractiv)

Philadelphia Living Paycheck to Paycheck: Cities ought to have cash on hand of between 6 and 8 percent of its budget, if not more. Philadelphia, however, has a fund balance of about $100 million out of its $4 billion budget, or about 2.5 percent, and set to fall to 1 percent in 2018. Moody’s downgraded the city last week, in part due to low fund balances. (BillyPenn)

The Washington Post Endorses Carbon Tax: The editorial board says the tax could replace the gasoline tax and avoid aggressive regulations. (The Washington Post)

Why Taxing Fairly Means Not Taxing Inheritances: Harvard economics professor N. Gregory Mankiw wrote a piece arguing the estate tax punishes frugality and rewards profligacy. (The New York Times)

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