Lunch Links: Special Sessions in Louisiana, Kansas, West Virginia; Beard Tax

June 9, 2016

Today is June 9, the birthday of Peter the Great (1672-1725), a Tsar of Russia who sought to make his country more European, including imposing a beard tax of one hundred rubles per year to discourage long beards.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

  • CBO Reviews President’s Budget: My colleagues Amir El-Sibaie and Alan Cole summarize the Congressional Budget Office’s look at President Obama’s proposals on the tax code, the federal deficit, federal investment, and immigration reform. (Tax Foundation)
  • Philadelphia City Council Advances Beverage Tax: The Council’s committee of the whole yesterday reduced the planned soda tax rate from 3 cents per ounce (36 cents per can) to 1.5 cents per ounce (18 cents per can), but expanded the scope of the tax to all sweetened beverages, including diet sodas. Officials also conceded in the hearing that some of the revenue will go to the general fund and not to obesity-related projects, which caused some consternation. A final vote is expected on June 16. (CBS Philadelphia / Tax Foundation)
  • Louisiana Special Session Begins: The House Ways and Means Committee narrowly voted 10 to 9 not to proceed with a compromise proposal reducing itemized deductions but also lowering and flattening tax rates. That’s not likely to be the end of it, though, and some tax overhaul measures are advancing. The special session is attempting to close a $600 million budget gap. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
  • West Virginia Governor Vetoes Budget: Governor Tomblin (D) wants a 65 cent cigarette tax increase but the Republican-held House doesn’t. The state government will shut down on July 1 if there’s no budget by then. (Associated Press)
  • Kansas Governor Backs $38M Schools Fix for Special Session: Kansas legislators will be back in Topeka on June 23 for a special session to consider measures to comply with a court ruling on education. (Associated Press)
  • Puerto Rico Needs a Growth Agenda: My colleague Steve Entin, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, explains the fundamental reforms that Puerto Rico needs. (Tax Foundation)

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