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    Entries in Wyoming (3)

    Wednesday
    Apr132016

    Panama Papers Unlikely to Lead to Reforms in Corporation-Friendly States

    A recent document leak revealed that four states were targeted by a Panamanian law firm to hide assets.
    BY  APRIL 13, 2016

    States like Delaware and Nevada have long been criticized by transparency advocates for allowing Americans to use them as tax havens. But a recent document leak revealed that such corporation-friendly states may be helping foreign nationals hide potentially illicit assets as well.

    Earlier this month, 11.5 million confidential documents were leaked from a Panamanian law firm, exposing how some of the world's richest people hide assets in shell companies to avoid paying taxes. It’s the largest leak in history, and among the so-called Panama Papers' many revelations was that the seventh most popular place to set up shell corporations was in Nevada.

    More than 1,000 companies have used Nevada to hide their money. Delaware, South Dakota and Wyoming also emerged as popular places to stash cash.

    Some of these states actively market themselves as quick and easy places to set up corporations. Take Nevada. Its website points visitors to its WhyNevada.Com to find out “why NV ranks as a top state for commercial filings," highlighting its favorable tax structure. Meanwhile, Delaware’s most recent financial report touted another record year for the number of new entities registered in the state. Delaware’s 1.1 million registered corporations outnumber the people who actually live there.

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    Thursday
    Feb042016

    How Oil States Are Dealing With Sinking Prices and Revenue

    The states most dependent on oil tax revenues have different ways of dealing with the industry slowdown.
    BY  FEBRUARY 4, 2016

    Oil prices are now at their lowest level in 12 years -- below $30 a barrel. That's great news for consumers, but not for the states that depend on oil tax revenues.

    The falling price of oil, which has declined more than 60 percent since June 2014, has some states scrambling. With no end in sight, states that are more dependent on the industry simply can't replace the revenue by withdrawing from their substantial rainy day funds.

    Oil, natural gas and mining account for about 10 percent or more of gross domestic product in eight states: Alaska, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming. Last year, total tax revenues in the eight states declined by 3.2 percent, according to a new analysis by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. In contrast, the remaining 42 states reported a 6.5 percent increase in total tax revenues.

    Although most of these states tend to budget conservatively, the good years for oil had an impact on their finances.

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    Thursday
    Jan282016

    Having a Rainy Day Fund, But Not Knowing How to Spend It

    Some states have millions in savings that they don't know when or how to use. A new report suggests ways to better manage their money.
    BY  JANUARY 28, 2016

    As state lawmakers head into the budget-writing season, some will face the unpleasant task of figuring out how to fill projected shortfalls. In most cases, that conversation will include a debate on whether to withdraw cash from the state’s rainy day fund.

    Some states count on their rainy day savings during recessions to limit budget cuts, while others strive to put away enough savings to avoid cuts altogether. But many states lack clear guidance about when to take money out of rainy day accounts, for what purposes and how much.

    Rainy day funds have been around for decades. Among the 46 states that have them, only half have laws that clearly express what they're seeking to achieve with them, according to a recent Pew Charitable Trusts report. Two states -- Wyoming and Kentucky -- lack any statutory or constitutional direction about their purpose or proper use.

    That means legislators have to argue each time finances become a problem.

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