Tax Analysts Blog

Thursday, February 3, 2011
The way the sales tax is supposed to work is simple. You tax all final consumption at a low rate. But from the time the sales taxes started during the Great Depression it has never really worked that way. States have never taxed most services, or intangibles, or real estate. Then states, justifiabl...
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
I know it sounds quaint or a little naïve. But state budgets reflect the values of the citizens. They reflect our preferences for the size of government. Some states (New York) have large, sophisticated government operations. Some (New Hampshire) do not. The budgets reflect how we value particular...
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I have always considered myself a liberal in the sense that I believe the government has a role to play in making society a better place. In other words, I do not agree with President Reagan when he said that “government is the problem.” To play the role in improving society state and local gove...
Thursday, January 13, 2011
New Jersey will soon join the many states that have decided that the corporate income tax is not and will not be an important source of revenue. It’s telling that the Democrats in the State Legislature are behind the adoption of a single-sales-factor formula. New Jersey Democrats have long held th...
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
States face an estimated $3.2 trillion shortfall in their pension obligations. Keep in mind total state spending is only $1.5 trillion a year. Keep in mind also that local governments faced a pension shortfall of over $500 billion – which in some places must be assumed by the state upon default. I...
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Everyone should read the new report released by Good Jobs First. The report examines how states disclose tax incentives and other economic subsidies. I think tax incentives and subsidies are bad policy. But whether you agree or not from a policy perspective, disclosure of special deals is essential...
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
The Los Angeles Times ran a great story yesterday about corporate hypocrisy. Genentech is a California bio tech firm with a market cap of about $100 billion and annual sales of a million. Genentech was also one of the major opponents of Proposition 24, which appeared on the ballot in California las...
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
A recent study finds that the poor condition of Pennsylvania's roads cost the state over $8.2 billion a year. The roads and bridges in the Commonwealth are in terrible condition which increases the cost of vehicle maintenance, gas, lost time in traffic, and more accidents. The shape of the transpor...
Friday, December 3, 2010
Governor elect Scott Walker, incoming Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder, and most Democratic lawmakers soundly rejected a tax reform proposal by former Revenue Secretary Rick Chandler. Chandler, working on Walker's transition team, suggested raising the state sales tax to 7.5 percent and signifi...
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I understand that there is likely to be a serious proposal toward major tax reform in Georgia in the coming months. The proposal will likely be to expand the sales tax to more services coupled with a reduction in the state income tax. What is interesting about such an idea is that broadening the sa...
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Washington Governor Chris Gregoire said she is considering pushing back a payment due school districts by one day -- from June 30 to July 1 next year. This will "save" the state $240 million in the current fiscal year. I am sympathetic to the governor's problem. Washington faces a mid year $1 billi...
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
The Arkansas Legislative Task Force on Reducing Poverty and Promoting Economic Opportunity issued several recommendations on tax policy in its final report released on Nov. 29. One in five Arkansas residents live on incomes below the federal poverty line. The task force obviously believes changing...
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
State governments will continue to deal with record deficits in the coming years. In fact, state tax revenue is unlikely to reach 2008 levels for some time -- even as the national economic picture improves. The state fiscal crisis has many causes: the recession, antiquated revenue systems, politica...
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
In Washington they did. Voters overwhelmingly rejected the measure that would have imposed an income tax on the state's wealthiest citizens. They also voted to repeal the sales tax on candy and a special excise tax on soft drinks.Oh, and they passed a measure requiring a 2/3 vote of the legislature...
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Today is election day. And if you really care about tax policy, you should vote.These elections are important at both the federal and state levels. They will determine the level of taxes we pay, the level of government services we receive, and the amount of public debt we leave to our children. The...
Thursday, October 28, 2010
The federal judge's ruling on October 25 that the North Carolina Department of Revenue cannot force Amazon.com to disclose customer information on the grounds that the state's request violates the First Amendment is incredible. For the uninformed, North Carolina asked Amazon for a list of its custo...
Monday, October 25, 2010
If you would like to see why Americans are frustrated with government go to Lewiston, Idaho. Or just go to Glenn Beck's home page where the story has been front and center for several days. It seems that officials from the Idaho State Tax Commission forced two kids to close down their pumpkin stand...
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Here is a great story from the Buffalo News. Joe Jacobbi owns a popular pizza joint in Buffalo. His pizza is reportedly very good. But Joe has a tax problem. It seems that he was collecting sales tax on his pizza sales and not paying the tax dollars over to the state. That is generally a big no no...
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Some politicians in Texas are considering asking the citizens to approve a constitutional amendment authorizing a statewide property tax. That tax would in effect replace most of the local property taxes used for education. The measure is being pushed by several Republican senators who are saying t...
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wisconsin is about $3 billion in the hole for the next two year budget cycle. GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker has proposed cutting business taxes to help stimulate the economy. He offers no new revenue options, but is banking on tax cuts to spur economic activity which will raise incomes,...