In the Midwest, Across the Pacific, and Down Under

Looks like there’ll be tax cuts in Ohio. The state’s legislature has produced a compromise bill that heads to Republican Governor John Kasich’s desk this week. Ohio had passed a 10-percent across-the-board income tax cut last year that was to be phased in by 2015. The compromise bill will make the tax reduction fully effective this year, yielding $100 million in tax cuts over two years. Ohio’s nonrefundable Earned Income Tax Credit will also double from 5 percent of the federal ETIC to 10 percent, to the tune of $17 million a year.

A transportation tax hike in Missouri gets a gubernatorial “no.” Democratic Governor Jay Nixon says he opposes an upcoming state ballot initiative to raise the state sales tax by 0.75 percent and earmark the funds to transportation. He also moved the referendum vote to August, which will likely drive down turnout. Despite Nixon’s opposition, the initiative is backed by Senator Claire McCaskill. KMBC reports that “Over the past five years, Missouri’s construction budget for roads and bridges has fallen from about $1.3 billion annually to $685 million this year. It is projected to dip to $325 million by the 2017 budget.”

Japan plans to cut corporate taxes. The nation’s effective tax rate, including national and local taxes, is about 35 percent, in contrast to China’s 25 percent rate, South Korea’s 24 percent rate, and Singapore’s 17 percent rate. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to cut Japan’s rate in fiscal year 2015 if its government can continue to control its deficit. The Japan Times reports that only about 30 percent of Japanese companies pay corporate taxes., Japan’s public debt is more than twice  its gross domestic product, and central government debt has topped 1,000 trillion yen.

And down under, carbon emissions reductions may triple. While US states begin to react to EPA’s proposed curbs on carbon-dioxide emissions, the story is very different in Australia. Down under, the government’s failure to repeal a carbon tax has automatically triggered a tough new greenhouse gas emissions goal—from a 5 percent cut by 2020 to a cut of more than 18 percent. “We have always said we will repeal the carbon tax – lock, stock and barrel. We will cut emissions by 5 per cent from 2000 levels by 2020, and we’ll do it without a carbon tax,” said a spokesman for Australia’s Environment Minister. The government will try to repeal the carbon tax again after July 1.

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