Lunch Links: Trump on Imports Tax Rate; Judge Says Bitcoin Not Money; The Onion on San Francisco’s Tech Tax

July 28, 2016

Today is July 28, Bill Bradley’s 73rd birthday. Bradley, a Hall of Fame basketball player, was U.S. Senator from New Jersey from 1979 to 1997. Senator Bradley was a lead champion of the 1986 federal tax reform. Happy birthday, Senator!

Here are some interesting links I came across:

  • Trump Says Tax Rate on Imports Not Set: “It would be 35 percent, it may be 10 percent, it may be five percent, it may be 20 percent,” the Republican nominee said. He confirmed, though, that it would not be zero. (Detroit News)
  • Bond Traders Ignore Argument that Muni Bond Exemption is Poorly Designed, Inequitable, and Inefficient: My colleague Scott Greenberg responds to their criticism of our new report. Rather than responding to our arguments, they called it “a woolly-headed, ivory tower analysis” and claimed all infrastructure spending is a great return on investment but also has such a poor return that it can only happen if it’s subsidized. (Tax Foundation)
  • Miami Judge Says Bitcoin Not Money: In a criminal case where the defendant was charged with money laundering via Bitcoin, the judge threw out the charges because Bitcoin isn’t money. The IRS taxes Bitcoin gains as income, strengthing the not-money argument, although many Bitcoin supporters view it as an alternative currency. (Forbes / Tax Foundation)
  • No Wisconsin Gas Tax Increase: Gov. Scott Walker (R) says no. (Office of the Governor of Wisconsin)
  • Oregon Gross Receipts Tax Proposal Would Raise Prices: Responding to a new survey of national retailers, my colleague Nicole Kaeding points out the flaws in that survey and explains why the super sales tax on the November ballot would raise consumer prices. One of the pro-tax group’s experts created a Twitter account yesterday to argue with the Tax Foundation, welcome to Twitter! (Tax Foundation)
  • City of Olympia Goes to Court Over Proposed Local Income Tax: A citizens’ group has collected signatures to impose a 1.5 percent income tax on income over $200,000. The Olympia City Council refused to put it on the ballot, so it goes to court. Washington State has no income tax so collecting a local income tax will be difficult. (The Olympian)
  • New York City Spending Jumps: City Controller Scott Stringer warns that spending is growing 5.4 percent over last year, while revenue will grow just 1.6 percent. The city’s $61.8 billion budget is balanced due to leftover money from last year, but he warns about sustainability and economic uncertainty. (New York Daily News)
  • Onion on Proposed San Francisco Tech Tax: A blurb editor, tea steeper, and headache researcher provide on-the-street reactions to the proposal to impose a payroll tax on tech companies to pay for affordable housing construction. (The Onion)

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