Tax Analysts Blog

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
The Cato Institute has long issued a report card on the nation's governors. The grades are based on what Cato thinks constitutes good fiscal policy. Governors who work for policy like that get A's, and those who don't get F's. Back when my libertarianism was still in the closet, I wrote critically...
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Politico recently published an excellent article on the upcoming initiative vote in San Francisco and Berkeley, California, to impose excise taxes on soda. Politico basically said the proposal is the last hurrah for proponents of soda taxes. If they can't get folks in uber-liberal San Francisco and...
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Last month California did something that may turn out to be revolutionary. The state's Office of Business and Economic Development banned consultants from receiving commissions for procuring the California Competes tax credit, effective August 18. Consultants can still get paid, but their compensat...
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
The Tesla story drives me crazy. It should drive you crazy as well. The innovative company captured the imagination of smart people. Picture a world in which we can drive high-quality automobiles and not be dependent on oil. Less pollution, less noise, less expense (assuming the cost of electric ca...
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
WalletHub is a Web-based company that rates things. You can find the best place to retire, the worst place to have a baby, the best state to open a business if you are Hispanic, etc. This week WalletHub released a rating of the fairest state and local tax systems. Nothing is harder to determine tha...
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) is in a tight reelection fight. Former GOP-governor-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist is neck and neck in the polls to reclaim the office. Scott has stepped up his campaign and has proposed a series of significant tax cuts that he hopes will turn the tide of the election. Li...
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
I still remember 12 years ago when the Council On State Taxation released its first business tax burden study. The study was sound, of course -- undertaken by some of the most gifted economists in the country. But its release was genius. Corporations were being pilloried at the time for not "paying...
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
One of the best ideas of the year comes from Mississippi. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) wants to eliminate the state's corporate franchise tax. I have been calling for the repeal of corporate income taxes for a long time. Corporate franchise taxes are much worse. The Mississippi tax is essentially a tax...
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Classic sound tax policy suggests that excise taxes should be limited to paying for externalities. It also suggests that local governments are incapable of imposing excise taxes. Yet William R. Hite Jr., Philadelphia's superintendent of schools, is pressing the Pennsylvania legislature to allow the...
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
I, like most Americans, am cynical about Congress. Our national legislature, whether the Democratically controlled Senate or the GOP-led House, is a joke. Congress certainly doesn't do taxes well, or at least it hasn't since 1986. The federal corporate tax needs to be reformed. The personal income...
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Please spare me from another story about unpatriotic, greedy, immoral companies failing to pay their fair share in taxes. Yes, companies invert as part of their tax planning strategies. Yes, inversions cost the federal government about $2 billion annually, which would cover lunch for our defense co...
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Republican Bruce Rauner is challenging Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) in this fall's gubernatorial election. One of Rauner's big ideas is tax reform. In a nutshell, he wants to cut personal income taxes, freeze property taxes, and expand the sales tax to cover 31 services -- including those provided...
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
On July 16 Stateline, the news arm of the Pew Charitable Trusts, published an interesting piece on the ongoing debate over taxing rich people. The article chronicles past and current efforts to impose higher marginal tax rates on the very wealthy. It discusses recent unsuccessful attempts in New Je...
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Kansas is collecting hundreds of millions of dollars less than its budgeted projections. That number has a lot of people in a lot of states wondering what happened. Here is why answering that question is important. In 2012 Kansas enacted what Nick Johnson at the Center on Budget and Policy Prioriti...
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
This week my colleague Cara Griffith broke an important story about the arrogance of government. An erstwhile publishing entrepreneur named William Hoke has a website that published tax information. He published several government documents. The New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration de...
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
North Carolina has eliminated a very bad tax in a very bad way. Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed HB 1050 to revoke municipalities' authority to tax businesses beginning in 2015. North Carolina did a good thing by eliminating a terrible tax. But it also curtailed local government taxing authority, which...
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Some people are jerks. The soon-to-be former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, is a jerk. His reprehensible racist comments were widely and appropriately condemned. The NBA banned Sterling from the league for life, fined him $2.5 million, and is forcing him to sell the team. That'...
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
I'm compiling a list of people who propose terrible tax policy. Today's winner is Illinois Rep. Robyn Gabel (D), the sponsor -- and from what I understand, the mastermind -- of the proposal (HB 397) to adopt a soda tax to fight obesity in her state. The idea was to impose an excise tax of one cent...
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
The do-gooders in the state capitals are at it again: There have been multiple proposals to tax e-cigarettes in the same manner as traditional cigarettes. I get the rationale for tobacco taxes. You smoke, you get sick, society has to pay for your medical care. That's consistent with the classic rat...
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
States should consider ending the absurd practice of granting property tax exemptions to charitable organizations. Exemptions like those narrow the tax base and cause everyone else to pay more. Moreover, the organizations receiving exemptions use public services. I know that's a political pipe drea...