Lunch Links: Who Pays California Taxes, Shutting Down the IRS, Australia Cuts Corporate Tax Rate

May 3, 2016

Today is May 3, the anniversary of Europe’s first modern constitution, adopted by Poland in 1791. Here are some interesting links I came across:

  • When It Comes to Paying Taxes, California is Bernie Sanders’ Kind of State: Columnist George Skelton lays it out for us: The top 1% in California (income of at least $556,638) paid 48% of the state’s income tax collections. About 70% of the state general fund comes from income taxes, up from 10% in 1950. This magnifies volatility: a 3.7% GDP drop in 2008 resulted in a 23% tax revenue drop. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Bill Introduced to Link Pass-Through and Corporate Income Tax Rates: My colleague Kyle Pomerleau provides details on the plan put forward by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), which has a goal of equalizing tax treatment of all business forms. (Tax Foundation)
  • Conservatives in Congress Urge Shutdown of Tax-Collecting IRS: The Republican Study Committee calls for “the complete elimination of the IRS.” Retorted IRS Commissioner Koskinen: “If you want to call it something other than the IRS and that makes you feel better, that's okay with me. But ultimately you got to have somebody somewhere who collects the information, audits it and makes sure it’s accurate and valid and collects the funding.” (Reuters)
  • Commerce Tax Repeal Effort Faces Nevada Supreme Court Test: On Monday, justices heard arguments on a ballot initiative seeking to repeal the new $60-million-a-year tax. The group Coalition for Nevada’s Future challenged the petition saying it doesn’t provide enough detail on what would happen if it passes, an argument rejected by a lower court judge. One of the justices wrapped up the oral argument saying “we’ll get on this as quickly as we can.” (Reno Gazette-Journal / Las Vegas Review-Journal / Vegas Inc)
  • Illinois Graduated Tax Proponents Hold Press Conference: They suggested a vote might happen today on the effort to amend the state constitution to allow a graduated income tax. Proposed legislation has a top combined tax rate of 11.25 percent. (Tax Foundation / WTTW)
  • New Wisconsin Data Show Results of Rate Reductions: State officials report that Wisconsin residents paid $423 million less in income taxes as a result of cuts enacted in 2013 and 2014. (Wisconsin State Journal)
  • Alabama’s One-Man Pension Show: After four decades of running the state’s pension funds without much challenge, David Bronner is facing new scrutiny from Republicans seeking to boost returns and cover a $15 billion unfunded liability. (Governing)
  • Venezuela Doesn’t Have Enough Money to Pay for Its Money: After ordering 10 billion banknotes, the hyperinflation and capital controls have left the country without enough hard currency to pay the bill. (Bloomberg)
  • Australia to Cut Corporate Tax From 30% to 25% Over Ten Years: Their Treasury’s dynamic score says the cut will grow the economy by 1% over the long term. The U.S. rate is, of course, 35%. (The Guardian)

Oh, and Australia is seeking back taxes from a brothel for some reason. Submit your nomination for Public Official of the Year. And stop by the Brookings Institution at 3pm today to hear Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary speak on new foreign taxation rules.


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