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    Entries in taxes (22)

    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
    Aug042017

    The Week in Public Finance: Tardy State Budgets, Philly's Soda Tax Sputters and Raising the Debt Ceiling

    BY  AUGUST 4, 2017
    Connecticut state Sen. Majority Leader Bob Duff, left, holds a GOP budget alongside state Democratic President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney. (AP/Jessica Hill)

    And Then There Were Three...

    It's been one month since the fiscal year began and three states still don't have a signed budget. Meanwhile, Rhode Island just enacted its budget Thursday night.

    Gov. Gina Raimondo signed Rhode Island's new budget almost immediately. The $9.2 billion plan includes a $26 million cut in the car tax, free community college tuition and an increase in the minimum wage, among other policies. The agreement means the governor now has to find $25 million in savings across state government.

    The three remaining states without a budget are Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In Connecticut, the legislature recently approved a new collective bargaining agreement with public employees that’s projected to cover $1.5 billion of the state's estimated $5 billion budget deficit over the next two years. The deal may now help move along negotiations on how to address the rest of the budget gap.

    Pennsylvania lawmakers have approved a spending plan, but have yet to address the state’s revenue problems. Key in the coming days will be whether the state’s House approves the Senate’s revenue package that includes several tax increases and expansion of legalized gambling.

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    Thursday
    Jul062017

    Immigrants Cost Taxpayers, Then Pay More Than Most

    New research shows immigrants ultimately make state and local governments more money on average than native-born Americans.
    BY  JULY 6, 2017
    Immigrant boy waving an American flag.
    Adult children of first-generation immigrants eventually contribute more than native-born Americans in federal, state and local taxes. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

    While the national debate rages over immigration, new research shows how much new immigrants cost state and local governments in the short-term -- and how much they pay off in the long-term.

    Two studies, one by the Urban Institute and a larger one by the National Academies of Science (NAS), find that first-generation immigrants are costlier to state and local governments than native-born adults, but over time, those effects reverse. While first-generation immigrants cost an average of nearly $3,000 more per adult, the adult children of these immigrants eventually catch up and contribute the most on average to federal, state and local coffers.

    Kim Reuben, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, says the initial higher costs of new immigrants is in large part because of their children. "Education is expensive -- if you have more kids in general as a group compared to other groups, you're going to have higher costs," says Reuben, who co-authored the study and contributed to the NAS report. "But the answer isn't to not educate those kids because we also find that the people who contribute the most to society, even when you control for demographics, are these immigrant [kids]."

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    Friday
    Apr282017

    The Week in Public Finance: Trump's Tax Plan, the Tampon Tax and Calling Out the SEC

    BY  APRIL 28, 2017

    Trump Sort of Unveils His Tax Plan

    President Trump unveiled his tax reform plan this week, and the massive cuts it proposes have left many wondering how the government would pay for the plan.

    Much of the single-page, bullet-pointed statement, which The New York Times called “less a plan than a wish list,” contained promises Trump made on the campaign trail: a much lower corporate tax rate, the elimination of the U.S. tax on foreign profits, a reduction in the number of individual income tax brackets from seven to three, a lower tax rate, and the scrapping of most itemized deductions, including one that lets taxpayers deduct their state and local taxes from their declared federal income.

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that economic growth, combined with eliminating deductions, would pay for the cuts. Meanwhile, a Tax Foundation analysis of some of these key ideas shows that the plan would ultimately result in more tax revenue for state governments.

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    Wednesday
    Mar222017

    States Go Old School to Fight Tax Fraud

    D.C. and more than a dozen states are shunning paperless refunds to avoid being conned out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
    BY  MARCH 22, 2017

    As fraudsters go high-tech to scam governments for tax refunds, some states are employing decidedly low-tech ways of stopping them.

    In 15 states and the District of Columbia, tax returns that are flagged as unusual are issued as a paper refund check. The old-school method comes as tax filers are more susceptible to having their identity stolen. "When there's a suspicious situation, we send paper checks because that has to go to a physical person," says D.C. CFO Jeff DeWitt.

    Things that could flag a return include the filer having a new mailing address or using a bank account from previous years.

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