Lunch Links: U.S. Treasury vs. European Tax Probe; Alabama, South Carolina Study Tax Changes; Pennsylvania Vape Tax A Job-Killer

August 29, 2016

Today is August 29, the 397th birthday of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the French Minister of Finance under King Louis XIV and reorganizer of the finances of the country along protectionist lines. On taxes, though, he sought to broaden the base of tax and lower the overall rate, and his summation of his views on taxation sticks with us today: “The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing.”

Here are some interesting links I came across:

U.S. Treasury Pushes Back Against European Tax Demands: The European Commission is likely to rule that tax breaks given by Ireland and other countries to U.S. companies amounted to illegal state aid not available to other companies, and order payment of billions in taxes. The U.S. Treasury worries that higher taxes paid to Europe will mean lower taxes paid to the U.S. (Financial Times / The Washington Post)

States Dropping Sales Tax Holidays: They’ve failed to boost spending as expected, and stand in the way of fundamental tax reform. (Pew Stateline)

Alabama to Study Taxes: Legislators unanimously adopted the resolution to set up an eight-member panel to recommend tax changes. (State Tax Notes)

South Carolina Too: A 14-member tax study commission will have its first meeting tomorrow in Columbia. (Post and Courier)

Illinois Teachers’ Pensions Need More Money: The board of the Teachers’ Retirement System voted to lower its investment projection from 7.5 percent to 7 percent, thus requiring additional state funds of between $400 million and $500 million. Gov. Rauner (R) says the state doesn’t have the money. (State Journal-Register)

Pennsylvania Vape Tax Likely to Be Unsuccessful: Professor Davies at Duquesne University writes that the 40 percent tax taking effect October 1 will “raise precisely no tax revenue at all…because the 300 vape shops throughout the state will close their doors, destroying at least 300 taxpaying jobs, likely more.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

UK Ex-Minister Says Higher Taxes Needed for National Health Care: Conservative MP Dan Poulter, Minister of Health until last year, says the system is underfunded and more taxes are needed. (BBC)


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