Tag: ‘tax subsidies’

Should governments tax products that are fun but harmful?

By :: November 10th, 2015

Should you face an extra tax if you drink soda? Eat potato chips? Uncork some wine? Light up a cigarette or joint? Toast yourself in a tanning booth? Many governments think so. Mexico taxes junk food. Berkeley taxes sugary soft drinks. Countless governments tax alcohol and tobacco. Several states tax marijuana. And thanks to health […]

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New Rules Will Require States to Be More Transparent About Tax Subsidies

By :: August 18th, 2015

Congrats to the Government Accounting Standards Board for pushing state and local governments to be more transparent about their tax subsidies. Last week, the agency approved new disclosure requirements that will require states and localities to publicly disclose how much of a given tax is being abated, what other commitments they make as part of […]

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Why Did Scott Walker Commit $400 Million for a Pro Basketball Arena?

By :: August 13th, 2015

Yesterday, Wisconsin Governor—and GOP presidential hopeful–Scott Walker committed more than $400 million in taxpayer money to help build a new basketball arena for a group of wealthy investors. Walker, like many pols before him, fell for the promise of huge economic returns from a state-of-the art sports arena (in this case, a gym for the […]

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Hillary Clinton’s Complex, Gimmicky Profit-Sharing Plan

By :: July 21st, 2015

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton has offered a new tax subsidy to encourage firms to share profits with their employees. The idea of profit sharing is worth debating, but Clinton’s specific proposal is enormously complicated and depends on budget gimmicks to add up. Her basic idea: Give firms a 15 percent tax credit for each […]

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How Many Americans Get Government Assistance? All of Us

By :: June 4th, 2015

The other day, the Census Bureau put out a new report that concluded about one-in-five Americans received government benefits in 2012. But the study, called Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Participation in Government Programs, 2009–2012: Who Gets Assistance, takes a far too narrow view about who gets the help. A more accurate estimate of the share of Americans […]

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Taxes, Charitable Gifts, the ACA, and Ineffective Deadlines

By :: December 30th, 2014

Scrambling to make a last-minute charitable donation to beat the New Year’s Eve deadline for a 2014 tax deduction? Take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Why am I going through this craziness now?” Why is an activity that is largely (though not entirely) tax-motivated built around the end of the calendar year rather than […]

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How 19 Million Uninsured Tax Filers Could Get ACA Coverage

By :: February 20th, 2014

Back in November, I suggested that tax prep firms might be a useful portal for low-income people to get insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act. The idea: Since many key ACA-related issues are income-based, commercial tax prep is an easy way for folks to learn whether they are eligible for expanded Medicaid coverage, how […]

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Tax Policy Should Consider New Business, Not Small Business

By :: April 8th, 2013

Small businesses occupy an iconic place in the public policy debate and benefit from a broad range of tax and spending subsidies. But the economic issues surrounding small businesses and innovation are complex and nuanced, and not well understood.  We are learning, however, that  if Congress wants to encourage risk-taking, it may be better off […]

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How Government Limits Upward Mobility

By :: July 19th, 2012

Upward mobility has been a foundation of America’s self-image since the 18th century. If you work hard enough, nothing can stop you from getting ahead. That, at least in the minds of many Americans, is what distinguishes us from much of the rest of the world. Yet, according to my always-provocative Tax Policy Center colleague […]

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Solyndra, Carrots, and Sticks

By :: October 11th, 2011

A wonderfully-titled new paper—The Tragedy of the Carrots—by Boston College law professor Brian Galle got me thinking about Solyndra, the failed solar panel company that has become something of  a poster child for botched industrial policy. By now, you probably know Solyndra’s sad tale. The firm got $537 million in federal loan guarantees from the […]

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