Tax Analysts Blog

Wednesday, July 17, 2013
As I write, there is a contentious, heated debate in the U.S. Congress about immigration reform. Some political leaders, mostly Republicans, don't like providing illegal immigrants with a path to citizenship. Their argument is that people who came here illegally are being rewarded for breaking the...
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
I wish someone would tell me the policy rationale for taxing wireless services. What is it about my ownership of a cell phone and the subsequent texting, tweeting, emailing, etc. that gives rise to punishing me? I get taxing traditional telephone service (for you younger readers, ask your parents w...
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli is proposing to cut the state corporate income tax from six percent to four percent over the next four years. Cuccinelli is making a big deal about this proposal, claiming that it will spur economic growth. I believe that cutting the tax ra...
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
My friends at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently took issue with my friends at the Tax Foundation. The subject was whether tax increases harm economic growth. The Foundation published a piece written by Will McBride in December 2012 which concluded that “nearly every empirical stu...
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Newspaper editorial pages rarely get tax policy right. Some, like The New York Times and Washington Post, are so driven by political agendas that they do not even pretend to understand the principles of sound tax policy. Unfortunately, smaller city newspapers all want to be The New York Times so th...
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
One of the great charades of American public finance is that “states must balance their budgets.” I have been hearing this since I entered the business many years ago. In fact, it was a common mantra of national Republican leaders who often said “the federal government should be like the states...
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Tomorrow, June 6, is the 35th anniversary of the passage of Proposition 13 in California. This very famous amendment to the state constitution limited property tax rates to one percent and limited increases in assessed value to two percent. It was the start of the modern property tax revolt and her...
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
An ideal tax system is based on a broad base and low rates. At least that is what the thinking folks believe. An ideal tax system also treats similarly situated people and organizations the same. People concerned about fairness have always thought that. And an ideal tax system minimizes economic di...
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
My friends at Good Jobs First released a report on Mississippi tax incentives recently that liberals, small government conservatives, and libertarians should find appalling. Between corporate tax breaks, withholding tax rebates, property tax abatements, and infrastructure and training grants, the s...
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
It is no secret. This may hurt my libertarian credentials, but I believe the U.S. Congress should pass the Marketplace Fairness Act. The tax system is sound when built on a broad base and low rates. Broad base means you tax everything without regard to who is lobbying the legislature. It follows –...
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The big idea of the last week was a dramatic tax reform proposal in Maine. The idea is big and bold. Big and bold usually means a measure has no chance of passage. State legislators from both parties are not exactly profiles in courage. The proposal would change all of the state's primary taxes. F...
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
As everyone knows, Colorado recently legalized marijuana. I think that is terrific. We should not care if people get “nice with Johnson” which is what my high school buddies called smoking pot. It is one of those code terms you can use in front of adults. You can be in front of Johnny's parents...
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
For decades, most people have believed that the success of tax reform is dependent on the reform being revenue neutral. That is, whatever happens, the tax system has to raise approximately as much revenue after as it did before. Proponents of reform want to seem pure in thought. They profess to car...
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
There are a lot of tax reform proposals being bantered about in the states. The most notable measures center on replacing or reducing personal income taxes with expanded and higher sales taxes. But states can go a long way toward meaningful reform by repealing their estate and inheritance taxes. I...
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
I love stories like this. In 2010, Utah raised its excise tax on cigarettes from 69 cents to $1.70 a pack. Why did Utah do this? Call it prohibition through the tax code. A lot of folks in Utah don't like smoking for moral reasons. They come to the same conclusion as obnoxious liberals from the Up...
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Many states are rethinking how they pay for transportation in general and how they tax gasoline in particular. Maryland is the latest state to pass legislation (HB 1515) dramatically changing the look of transportation finance. Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), who isn't known for promoting good tax polic...
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Every once in a while politicians have the need to tax or regulate some aspect of the adult entertainment industry. Sometimes they go after hookers. Some times they go after dirty movies. Sometimes they go after adult book stores. Often the politicians go after strippers. Strippers are an easy targ...
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Drones are hot. At least you might think that considering all the press drones have been getting lately. The U.S. military has been using drones to whack terrorists from Somalia to Pakistan. Now terrorists are not exactly the most sympathetic characters. Their main goal in life is to kill Americans...
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
I decided to share some of my favorite tax resources on the web. The Minnesota Taxpayer's Association has changed its name (after 87 years!) to the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence. The MTA under the direction of Mark Haveman has been one of the most influential organizations in state and lo...
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
This story comes from Texas. And it's politically incorrect. Nothing gets liberal ire up like proposing to put more weapons in the hands of citizens. And that is exactly what some in Texas want to do. Rep. Jeff Leach (R) wants to give all Texans a sales tax break on the purchase of firearms and am...