“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.”

By :: August 7th, 2015

“All by myself…” Paul Ryan and international tax reform. The House Ways & Means chairman has his work cut out for him with his international tax plans. The Hill reports that Senate Republicans continue to express skepticism, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Majority Whip John Cornyn, and Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch. Ryan […]

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Information: Additions, Disclosures, and Theft

By :: August 6th, 2015

Better revenues through form additions? The short-term highway funding extension gets about $1.8 billion in revenue over ten years from a change to an IRS form, reports Tax Analysts (paywall). The change goes into effect in 2017, even though the spending it helps pay for ends on October 29. Mortgage lenders will have to report […]

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On Carbon, Soda, and the Safety Net

By :: August 5th, 2015

Are carbon taxes in our future? President Obama unveiled strong new rules to reduce carbon emissions this week. States could use pollution trading or “fees” (“carbon taxes”) to help meet their emission cutting requirements. Would it work? Brookings Institution economist Adele Morris told The National Journal that “States can not only comply with the new […]

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The Case of the Little Wrong Thing: Evading Online Sales Tax

By :: August 5th, 2015

Our eight-year-old son wants to write the President. “He needs to get a law passed that will make it illegal to throw cigarette butts out of car windows.” I told him that littering was already illegal. “What?!” In his mind, littering must be legal if everybody does it. He shook his head, incredulous. “But why […]

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Tax-Exempt Status, Tax Breaks, and the Limits of Economic Recovery

By :: August 4th, 2015

Colleges that oppose same-sex marriage can keep their tax-exempt status. Granted, the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. But testifying before the Senate Judiciary Oversight Subcommittee last week, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said, “At this time there is no basis for us to revisit tax-exempt status… We will […]

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Recovery cannot save state budgets from politics

By :: August 3rd, 2015

During the Great Recession and its aftermath, the economy wreaked havoc on state budget negotiations, forcing tough votes on spending cuts and tax increases. Since then the economy has improved, state tax revenue are growing, and legislatures have more room to maneuver during budget season. Yet havoc still reigns in many statehouses. In fact, it […]

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Happiness Is: Paying Your Taxes?

By :: August 3rd, 2015

The Clintons earn a lot income, and pay a lot in taxes. Former President Bill Clinton and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton released eight years of tax returns over the weekend. They paid about $43 million in federal taxes between 2007 and 2014 on earnings of $139 million. In 2012, the year presidential candidate Mitt […]

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“Although they’ve come… to the end of the road… They still can’t let it go…”

By :: July 31st, 2015

To the President’s desk: A short-term highway patch. Yesterday the Senate approved an $8 billion stop-gap authorization for federal transportation funding, with just a day to spare before funding is due to expire. This brings the number of short-term extensions in the past six years to 34. Congress will deal with a longer-term bill for […]

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Long-term Highway Funding: “Ain’t no time like three months from now”

By :: July 30th, 2015

Another summer kick of the can…down the “highway.” The Senate will vote today on its long-term highway bill. Of course, the House has already gone home for August, so the Senate will also extend federal highway funding for three months before it expires tomorrow. The White House signaled that President Obama will sign the short-term […]

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States That Cut Taxes Do So At Their Peril

By :: July 29th, 2015

Ever since the 1970s, when Jude Wanniski and Arthur Laffer came up with the ideas that are now referred to as supply-side economics, conservative politicians have been unable to resist the siren song of tax cuts for big earners. In recent years, this enthusiasm has spread to state governments led by conservatives, offering new tests […]

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