Last week, a number of conservative media outlets got a little bent out of shape […]
New York, California in a Horse Race for Sending Most People to States with God-Awful Heat, No Income Tax
Hot off the Twitter, New York Times' Catherine Rampell shares some interesting data about movers in 2012: […]
[T]he Texas Supreme Court on Friday gave state officials the go-ahead to continue collecting a special $5-per-customer tax on strip clubs. The so-called “pole” tax, collected upon entrance to any club that features nude dancing and alcohol consumption, was ruled unconstitutional by a state district judge in Austin and the 3rd Court of Appeals. The law was passed by the Texas Legislature in 2007, and so far about $15 million has been collected. The money has not been disbursed because of the earlier court rulings. [HC via DMWT, Earlier]
God knows it can’t get any worse.
These hearings give you the opportunity to present your ideas, concerns, and recommendations regarding legislation, the quality of agency services, and other issues related to the Board’s administration of its tax programs. At the business taxes hearings you can comment on the administration of sales and use taxes, environmental fees, fuel taxes, and excise taxes. At the property tax hearings you can comment on the property tax programs and laws administered by the Board, and identify ways to resolve any problems identified in the Taxpayers’ Rights Advocates’ 2009-10 Annual Report.
Maybe this is all the incentive some people need to move to the Buckeye State?
David Brunori that reports that this costs the state $165 million a year. Oh, and if you’re old (i.e. over 65) you get an additional $50. This from a state who has people that use bulldozers when cornered and DO NOT TOLERATE mistakes made by H&R Block employees. [via Tax.com]
Kentucky Taxpayers to Partially Fund the Experience of Being on a Gigantic Boat with Animals Crapping Everywhere
Kentucky’s state tourism board approved up to $43 million in tax incentives for the construction of Ark Encounter, a creationist theme park.
The tax rebates, which could subsidize up to 25% of the $150 million project, were granted under the Kentucky Tourism Development Act. The state government’s website says that the act “allows eligible tourism attractions a rebate of sales tax up to 25% of project capitol [sic] costs over a 10 year period,” provided that projects have a positive economic impact.
Ark Encounter will include Noah’s Ark, the Tower of Babel, an ancient walled city, and other Biblical renditions. A Christian organization called “Genesis in America” heads the project that is scheduled to break ground in August and open in the spring of 2014.
Today in awful tax policy proposals, Michigan Represenative Anthony Forlini (R) has introduced legislation that would force prisoners to pay sales tax on goods they buy inside the joint. Rep. Forlini says the proposal “is common sense,” and he can’t imagine why any average Joe would think differently, “The average person […] cannot believe that they are paying sales taxes for schools and local municipalities, yet the inmates are not contributing to this. We’re losing about a million dollars a year because of the law. It doesn’t make any sense to me, and I don’t think it makes any sense to the taxpayers out there either.”
SOMEHOW it doesn’t make sense to David Brunori:
So if you are doing 25 to life in Jackson (which I think is the state penitentiary) and you buy some toothpaste from the commissary you would pay the sales tax. I have questions for Rep. Forlini. What the heck motivated you to propose this legislation? Are there not more pressing issues facing the state of Michigan? Are you motivated by sound tax policy? Are you just mad because bad guys are buying stuff tax free when you have to pay sales tax?
Honestly, Michigan. Have your CPA governor bitch slap this guy.
If You’ve Got a Better Solution to Rhode Island’s Budget Crisis, Governor Lincoln Chafee Is All Ears
Over at Tax.com, David Brunori calls Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee’s latest state sales tax proposal “awful.” You see, Governor Chafee wants to levy a tax on goods and services sold by Ocean State businesses. Examples of previous tax-exempt services include “data processing, landscaping, taxi fares, garbage collection, auto repairs and tickets to theaters and sporting events,” while it would also tax goods such as “agricultural products, boats, clothing, manufacturing machinery.”
Brunori writes that this idea is horrendous because it not only, “violates every notion of sound sales tax policy,” but because the Rhode Island rubes won’t even realize that the tax is ultimately being passed on to them:
In general, businesses should not pay sales tax on their purchases. When they do, the tax is passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. The tax is often included in the final purchase price and taxed again. The funny thing is that citizens do not know they are being secretly taxed. Everyone knows this.
So wait…do the citizens know they are being taxed or does “everyone” simply mean tax policy wonks? Putting our confusion aside for a second, Governor Chafee has defied the haters like Brunori and Rhode Island businesses, standing by his proposal. But if you’ve got a better idea, he’s more than happy to hear your out:
Chafee said it’s up to his critics to suggest a better option. “Crisis calls for leadership,” Chafee, an independent, said at an impromptu press conference called after the rally. “If you don’t like my proposal, what’s the alternative? No politician likes to raise taxes. … We’re waiting for a better idea.”
Known smartypants George Will took the state of Illinois to task over the weekend for their less-than friendly tax policy. He tells an anecdote of Tim Storm, a business owner that relocated his company to Beloit, Wisconsin from Rockton, Illinois which is a whopping five miles away. This was, at least in part, due to the state’s recently enacted “Amazon tax”:
Illinois, comprehensively misgoverned and ravenous for revenue, has enacted what has come to be called an “Amazon tax.” It requires Amazon and other online retailers to collect the state’s sales tax. Amazon and many other retailers responded by severing their connections with their Illinois affiliates.
Not only is GW all over Illinois’s decision to go after online retailers for sales tax, he also reminds everyone that the pols in the Land of Lincoln did a number on individual and corporate income tax rates:
In January, a lame-duck session of Illinois’ legislature — including 18 Democrats who were defeated in November — raised the personal income tax 67 percent and the corporate tax almost 50 percent. This and the increase — from 3 percent to 5 percent — in the tax on small businesses make Illinois, as the Wall Street Journal says, “one of the most expensive places in the world to conduct business.”
So as you can see, Illinois is on the ropes for its fiscal (mis)steps. Of course, Will isn’t the first person to call out the state for being a little tax happy, as Americans for Tax Reform was all over Illinois for this back in January. Of course, ATR managed to criticize the policy in a snarky Swede fashion as opposed to a bowtie-wearing polymathic diatribe. For obvious reasons, we’re partial to the former.
They want to replace a mildly progressive tax with a decidedly regressive tax and make the argument about fairness? You can have an articulate argument about whether income taxes deter economic development. You can have an argument about whether such taxes lead to out migration of people and firms. Heck you can have a philosophical argument about whether society should be able to tax the fruit of your labor (or your trust fund). But you cannot argue with a straight face that replacing an income tax with a broad based sales tax (one that taxes necessities) is fair. That insults people’s intelligence. [David Brunori]
Maybe! As you know, Grover Norquist is the President of Americans For Tax Reform and has a staunch record of opposing any legislation – federal or state – that increases taxes and evokes Ronald Reagan (who hated taxes, dontchaknow) in every possible context, no matter how irrelevant. Grover and ATR are willing to get into a tussle (usually by sternly-worded letter) with whomever thinks that raising taxes will amount to anything positive (because that’s impossible). From the Illinois legislature to the American Lung Association to Lance Armstrong, if you give the slightest impression that higher taxes are a good idea, you can expect Grover & Co. to get Viking on your ass.
However, we learned this morning that in ATR’s most recent spat with the Georgia Legislature over that state’s tax overhaul bill, it appears that Grover has been out-Grovered by the Georgia Tea Party. You see, GN has informed the Georgia pols that he won’t give them any shit for supporting HB 387 after opposing their initial efforts.
This however, did not sit well with the GTP (our emphasis):
”One can not just look at the tax rate cut, one has to look at the deductions/exemptions that are slashed and, in many cases, removed in this bill. Taxes will be raised for some and will be cut for others. In other words, this bill re-distributes wealth.“
Okay, so…WHOA. Maybe we’re reading too much into this but take a gander at “socialism” and tell us what you think. So far there doesn’t appear to be a response over at ATR but this sort of aggression will likely elicit some sort of a response.