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    Entries in politics (40)

    Monday
    Oct292018

    Oregon Voters Could Make It Harder to Raise Revenue

    The state already has a supermajority requirement to raise taxes. Businesses want to expand it to protect their tax breaks.
    BY  OCTOBER 29, 2018
    The Oregon Statehouse (Shutterstock)

    For a full summary of November's most important ballot measures, click here.

    Some two decades ago, Oregon joined more than a dozen states in passing a constitutional amendment that requires a legislative supermajority to approve tax hikes. Three years ago, the state Supreme Court and a subsequent legislative counsel opinion created what some say is a loophole. In November, voters could close it, making it harder for the state to raise revenue.

    The 2015 ruling held that while proposals to increase taxes were still subject to the requirement, lawmakers could eliminate tax rebates and exemptions without the three-fifths majority. While that’s consistent with many of the 13 other states with a supermajority requirement for broad-based taxes, it’s led to concerns in Oregon that lawmakers will use the workaround as a way of plugging budget holes or increasing the budget.

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    Friday
    Sep282018

    The Week in Public Finance: Amid Rising Home Prices, 2 States Take Property Tax Proposals to Voters

    Ballot measures in California and Louisiana seek to protect homeowners from huge property tax spikes.
    BY  SEPTEMBER 28, 2018
    For Sale sign outside of a home.
    (Shutterstock)

     

    SPEED READ:

    • Voters in California and Louisiana face ballot measures that would reduce their property taxes at a time when the median U.S. home price has risen by 40 percent in five years
    • California's Proposition 5 would help seniors, the disabled or people who are homeless as the result of a natural disaster.
    • Louisiana's Amendment 6 would phase in homeowners’ new property taxes over four years.
     

    Home prices have risen, but when voters in two states head to the polls in November, they could at least reduce their property taxes.

    The median home price has risen by 40 percent nationwide in the past five years and is still rapidly rising. The increase is blamed largely on a housing shortage. The problem has been especially acute in California, which -- along with Louisiana -- is considering property tax reductions this fall. 

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    Thursday
    Aug302018

    While Feds Loosen Payday Loan Regulations, Colorado Voters Could Clamp Down

    In a year when the federal government is dialing back financial regulations, Colorado could become the 16th state to limit the notoriously high interest rates on payday loans.
    BY  AUGUST 30, 2018
    (Shutterstock)

    For a summary of November's most important ballot measures, click here.

    As the federal government walks back historic regulations on payday lending, Colorado voters this fall will be asked to tighten them -- a sign that strong consumer protections are increasingly being left to the states.

    Short-term loans, often called payday loans because they’re due on the borrower’s next payday, have average interest rates of 129 percent in Colorado. Nationally, rates average between 150 percent and more than 600 percent a year. A ballot proposal, which was certified as Initiative 126 by the secretary of state on Tuesday, would cap those rates at 36 percent. If passed, Colorado would be the 16th state, plus the District of Columbia, to limit payday loan rates.

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    Friday
    Jul202018

    The Week in Public Finance: Do Supermajorities Really Stop Tax Hikes?

    Republican lawmakers in Florida want voters to approve a ballot measure that theoretically would make it harder to raise taxes. But it's debatable whether supermajority requirements actually do.
    BY  JULY 20, 2018
    A November ballot initiative would require the Florida legislature to have a supermajority to raise taxes. (TNS/Joe Burbank)

    In an effort to protect conservative tax policy, Florida lawmakers are hoping to make their state the 15th with a supermajority requirement to raise taxes.

    The push has drawn national attention because it comes as some are predicting a wave of Democratic victories this fall that could pull state policy more to the left. Opponents of the proposed Florida constitutional amendment -- which would require 60 percent voter approval to pass -- say Republican lawmakers put this on the November ballot to “stack the deck” against any Democrats taking office after them.

    “It’s very clear that they’re getting ready for when they’re out of power,” Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democrat, told The Washington Post. Gillum is running for governor on a platform of enacting "Medicare for All" and putting an additional $1 billion into education -- promises that would likely take tax increases to keep. “Everything we have proposed hinges on our ability to defeat this.”

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    Friday
    Jul142017

    The Week in Public Finance: Lobbying Congress on the 'Tax Perk,' Chronic Deficits and the Credit Threat in Illinois

    BY  JULY 14, 2017
    Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks during a news conference. (AP/G-Jun Yam)

    Tax Deductions Aren’t Just for the Super-Rich

    As the Trump administration promotes a tax reform agenda that would take away the state and local tax deduction, government organizations are pushing back hard against the notion that the tax perk is utilized only by the uber-wealthy. A new report this week shows that more than half of the tax filers who take the deduction earn less than $200,000 per year. In fact, the largest group of filers who deduct their state and local taxes from their federal taxable income earn between $100,000 and $200,000 per year.

    “Contrary to popular opinion, the deduction of state and local taxes does not exclusively benefit the wealthy, even though that argument has been used countless times in attempts to modify or repeal the deduction,” says the report, which was prepared by the Government Finance Officers Association.

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