Relief, Credits, Cuts, and Roads

Maybe we all can just get along. At least, that’s what other Swiss banks might be thinking, now that Credit Suisse paid penalties (the tune of $2.6 billion) to end its longstanding dispute with the US and New York for helping Americans dodge US taxes. Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said the resolution created “breathing space” for other Swiss banks in similar disputes with the US.

There’s tax relief in the Minnesota. Minnesota just provided half a billion dollars’ worth of tax relief. The second round signed into law this week by Democratic Governor Mark Dayton amounted to $103 million, bringing the total to $550 million. Average tax refunds will climb for middle-class homeowners and renters. It accompanies $1.7 billion in new construction projects for the state.

There’s some in Ohio, too. The state’s Senate Republicans are speeding up action on an income tax reduction plan. Ohio is flush with cash right now: The Columbus Dispatch reports that “through April, state revenue was $310 million above estimates, while spending was $848 million below estimates.”

And there’s this wicked awesome tax credit for film crews: In Massachusetts, filmmakers who spend more than $50,000 in the state get a 25 percent tax credit to offset costs of actors, set building, and other expenses. The Los Angeles Times reports that film and TV productions spent $313 million in 2012, and Massachusetts paid out an estimated $78.2 million in film tax credits. It’s great for the makers of films like Oscar-nominated American Hustle, but does little for the state’s overall economy.

But times are tough for Governor Chris Christie… and public pensioners. New Jersey suffers from a 13-month shortage of $2.7 billion, according to the legislature’s budget and finance officer. The governor, a maybe-2016 presidential candidate, does not plan to raise taxes to cover the gap. Instead, he’s cutting state pension payments. This year, the payment will be $696 million, instead of his proposed $1.58 billion. And in fiscal year 2015, it will be $681 million, instead of his proposed $2.25 billion.

So “fix the d— roads” already! That’s apparently a quote: In Michigan, Republican state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville will propose significant phased-in fuel tax increases to address, for starters, debilitating pot holes throughout the state’s roads. Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri backs a sales tax to fund roads and transportation projects. In Raleigh, North Carolina, the city manager Ruffin Hall proposed a 1-cent property tax increase to raise about $5.1 million for city street resurfacing. And in South Dakota, the up-for-re-election Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard reversed course and said he might support a gasoline tax hike to fund roads and bridges.

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