Lunch Links: States React to Internet Sales Tax Proposal Unveiled by House Judiciary Chairman; Income Tax Off Ballot in Olympia, WA; $1B Hawaii Surplus Up for Grabs

August 26, 2016

Today is August 26, the date in 1842 when Congress changed the federal fiscal year start from January 1 to July 1, to give Congress time to deliberate and pass a budget. Congress frequently missed the deadline, so in 1976, the federal fiscal year was changed to October 1. Congress still misses the date a lot. About two-thirds of private companies stick with January 1 for their fiscal year start date. Nearly all states continue with the July 1 fiscal year start date, putting them out of sync with the feds; Alabama and Michigan start on October 1 with the feds. New York starts April 1 and Texas starts September 1.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

Internet Sales Tax Proposal Released: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has unveiled the legislative language for his hybrid-origin sourcing proposal. A Washington-based Internet retailer selling to someone in Rhode Island would apply Washington’s sales tax base, collect Rhode Island’s sales tax rate, and send the revenue to Rhode Island (via a clearinghouse that states must join to receive the revenue). (McDermott Will & Emery)

Experts React to Goodlatte Proposal: State officials say converting the sales tax from destination-based to origin-based will be problematic. Retailers are cautiously supportive of the additional discussion. My quote: “States are passing Internet sales tax laws and courts aren't stopping them, so the next year or so may be the last chance to enact a compromise that achieves simplification and uniformity.” (Tax Analysts)

Washington Judge Orders Olympia Income Tax Off Ballot: Judge Jack Nevin ruled that the city has no authority to impose an income tax. Proponents, who are seeking a local income tax so as to relitigate the 1930 State Supreme Court decision that an income tax violates Washington’s constitution, pledged to appeal. Washington state voters rejected a state income tax in 1934, 1936, 1938, 1942, 1944, 1973, 1975, 1982, and 2010. (The Olympian / Washington Policy Center)

Hawaii Has Big Surplus: Better-than-expected revenues and tighter state budgets have left the state with a billion-dollar surplus. Legislators will discuss whether to keep it all in a rainy day fund or give some back to taxpayers. (KHON2-TV)

South Carolina Legislators Talk Tax Reform: A bipartisan group of legislators will meet next week to see how to change the tax code. (Tax Analysts)

Property Tax History: The Atlantic has a story about the feudal and early colonial origins of the property tax, noting that the annual levy motivated property owners to develop their land and make it profitable. (The Atlantic)


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