Lunch Links: Tax Increases to Close Budget Gaps Up for Debate in New Mexico and Kansas; Strike Force to Switch Off Fake IRS Robocalls

August 24, 2016

Today is August 24, the date in 1814 when British troops during the War of 1812 pushed aside American militia at Bladensburg, Md., marched into Washington, D.C., and set fire to government buildings including the Treasury. They also burned the Capitol, the White House, the Library of Congress, and the War Building, leaving the Patent Office intact so as to not obstruct the progress of civilization. The occupation lasted only 26 hours, and a heavy rainstorm the next day limited further damage.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

IRS Releases Sharing Economy “Tips”: The tips are basically “pay your taxes,” preferably each quarter. You can deduct your expenses, however, and you don’t have to report income from rooms in your house you Airbnb out for less than 15 days a year. (Internal Revenue Service)

New Mexico Governor Says No Tax Increase: Gov. Susana Martinez (R) said the state should close its budget gap (caused by a downturn in oil and gas prices) by tightening its belt. Legislative Finance Committee chairman Sen. John Arthur Smith (D) says revenue should be on the table. (Associated Press)

Kansas City Debates Paring Back Automatic Tax Breaks: New development in Kansas City, Mo., often gets a 100 percent break on property taxes for a time; the City Council will consider a proposal to cap that at 75 percent or even 50 percent. (Kansas City Star)

Kansas Budget Gap to Reopen: Former budget director Duane Goossen says the state has a $343 million structural imbalance at best. Kansas general fund spending growth has been low, at 0.3 percent per year since 2008, so he puts the problem on the revenue side. (Kansas Center for Economic Growth)

California Approves Menstrual Product Sales Tax Exemption: The bill exempts tampons and similar products from the general sales tax imposed on most other goods, for five years. It now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who hasn’t said what he’ll do. (Los Angeles Times)

AT&T Tackling Fake IRS Robocalls: A new industry “Robocall Strike Force” is developing solutions to stop fake calls claiming to be the IRS and demanding money before legal action is taken. (Forbes)

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