How Should States Respond to Recent Federal Tax Changes?

Source: Michael Leachman and Michael Mazerov, January 23, 2018

From the summary:
Many states expect to see a change in revenues due to the major federal tax legislation enacted last December. States should respond with substantial caution to the possibility of a revenue boost and focus their response on preparing for potential cuts in federal funding for states, as well as the next recession. They also should strongly consider raising revenue from corporations and other wealthy interests that just received a large federal tax break in order to invest in stronger education systems, more efficient transportation networks, and other public services that undergird broadly shared prosperity.

Some have called for states to cut taxes, claiming that most states will see revenue “windfalls” thanks to the federal changes. That’s overstated. Roughly 29 states will lose revenue, see no impact, or see modest revenue gains totaling less than 1 percent of general fund revenue, according to early estimates.  And in many of those states that could see larger revenue boosts, the added revenue would come disproportionately from lower-income families (due to the elimination of the states’ personal exemptions), which would partially reverse states’ substantial progress in recent decades in eliminating income taxes for families in poverty.  At least some of these states are unlikely to allow this to occur.

The real windfall from the federal changes will go to corporations and the highest-income households, whose annual tax cuts will vastly exceed any revenue gain for states. States’ revenue gains — in the aggregate — will also be much smaller as a share of their revenue than what they received from the last major federal tax overhaul, in 1986…..