Category Archives: Taxation

Show Us the Local Subsidies: A Second Evaluation of City and County Online Disclosure Practices of Economic Development Subsidy Programs

Source: Kasia Tarczynska, Good Jobs First, March 2017

From the blog post:
More than half of the nation’s 50 biggest cities and counties still fail to disclose online even the names of the companies receiving property tax abatements or other costly economic development incentives. Even fewer report incentive-deal outcomes: Only 13 of the 50 localities disclose the number of actual jobs created by one of their key incentive programs….

These are among the key findings of Show Us the Local Subsidies, a report issued today issued today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit watchdog group. ….
Related:
Press Release

2017’s Tax Rates by State

Source: John S. Kiernan, WalletHub, March 14, 2017

Tax season can be stressful for many Americans, especially those who owe money to Uncle Sam. Every year, the average U.S. household pays more than $5,700 in federal income taxes, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And while we’re all faced with that same obligation, there is significant disparity when it comes to state and local taxes. Taxpayers in the most tax-expensive states, for instance, pay three times more than those in the cheapest states to meet their civic burden.

As this year’s tax-filing deadline, April 18, looms closer, it’s fair to wonder which states have the most and least burdensome tax rates. WalletHub’s analysts searched for answers by comparing state and local tax rates in the 50 states and the District of Columbia against national medians. To illustrate, we calculated relative income-tax obligations by applying the effective income-tax rates in each state and locality to the average American’s income. Scroll down for the complete ranking, commentary from a panel of tax experts and a full description of our methodology….

Source: WalletHub

Good Intentions versus Effective Outcomes: An Analysis of Selected New Mexico Tax Incentives

Source: Greg LeRoy, Thomas Cafcas and Philip Mattera of Good Jobs First, and Lisa Christensen Gee and Dylan Grundman of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, March 2017

From the blog post:
A study released today examining various tax incentives and tax accounting practices in New Mexico found that the state could gain more than $206 million per year by enacting safeguards common in other states. The study also finds that New Mexico lags behind most other states in making public relevant information about its tax incentive programs.

Those are the main conclusions of “Good Intentions versus Effective Outcomes,” a study released today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center.

With Amazon.com’s agreement to collect gross receipts tax on in-state sales, a fair application of the same tax to all online retailers could boost state revenues by almost $42 million. The state also has the opportunity to close a loophole that costs the state at least $27 million by fully enacting combined reporting (which prevents multi-state companies from shifting profits and tax burdens away from New Mexico). The study also recommends the phasing out of the High Wage Jobs Tax Credit program, which costs $70 million per year, and that the state also consider reversing a corporate income tax accounting rule (single sales factor apportionment) that costs the state $45 million per year and has not increased manufacturing jobs.
Related:
Press ReleaseAbstract

Tax is a feminist issue: Why national budgets need to take gender into account

Source: The Economist, February 23, 2017

Designing fiscal policies to support gender equality is good for growth.

….Like many rich-country governments, Britain’s prides itself on pursuing policies that promote sexual equality. However, it fails to live up to its word, argues the Women’s Budget Group, a feminist think-tank that has been scrutinising Britain’s economic policy since 1989. A report in 2016 from the House of Commons Library, an impartial research service, suggests that in 2010-15 women bore the cost of 85% of savings to the Treasury worth £23bn ($29bn) from austerity measures, specifically cuts in welfare benefits and in direct taxes. Because women earn less, rely more on benefits, and are much more likely than men to be single parents, the cuts affected them disproportionately…. For instance, if the British government diverted investment worth 2% of GDP from construction to the care sector, it could create 1.5m jobs instead of 750,000. Many governments treat spending on physical infrastructure as an investment, but spending on social infrastructure, such as child care, as a cost. Yet such spending also increases productivity and growth—partly by increasing the number of women in the workforce….

Paying the State Use Tax: Is a “Nudge” Enough?

Source: John E. Anderson, Public Finance Review, Vol 45 Issue 2, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
To improve use tax compliance, twenty-seven states have added a line to their income tax returns where taxpayers can report taxable sales. This article reports results of a behavioral study of a postcard “nudge” sent to income tax filers in one of those states, Nebraska, to encourage self-reporting of liability. The research question is whether the informational nudge was sufficient to alter self-reporting behavior. Data indicate that the nudge more than doubled the likelihood of use tax reporting and nearly doubled the amount of revenue collected, but the rate of use tax reporting remains extremely low. Probit models reveal that use tax reporting rises with income at a decreasing rate. Selection models are also estimated because of positive selection bias in the selection of the treatment group. Taken together, the results indicate that an informational nudge is not likely to be sufficient to substantially change use tax reporting behavior.

State Taxation and the Reallocation of Business Activity: Evidence from Establishment-Level Data

Source: Xavier Giroud, Joshua D. Rauh, US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies Paper No. CES-WP-17-02, January 11, 2017

From the abstract:
Using Census microdata on multi-state firms, we estimate the impact of state taxes on business activity. For C corporations, employment and the number of establishments have corporate tax elasticities of -0.4, and do not vary with changes in personal tax rates. Pass-through entity activities show tax elasticities of -0.2 to -0.3 with respect to personal tax rates, and are invariant with respect to corporate tax rates. Reallocation of productive resources to other states drives around half the effect. Capital shows similar patterns but is 36% less elastic than labor. The responses are strongest for firms in tradable and footloose industries.

FedWeb.com

Source: Federal Budget Group LLC, 2017

….This website is dedicated to providing policymakers, the media, and the general public timely and reliable information that is strictly nonpartisan, rigorously factual, and explained in plain English. On the pages of this website, you will find: a chronology of key developments in fiscal, spending, tax and economic policy; up-to-the-minute real-time numbers on the the economy and monetary policy; links to the Budget of the United States and other budget docs; an overview of Federal spending and nonpartisan explanations of federal programs including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, and other Mandatory spending programs; Defense Discretionary Spending, and Non-Defense Discretionary programs; Deficits and Debt projections; explanation of the Federal Debt Ceiling; and CBO Deficit Reduction Options; details on taxes, tax reform and tax expenditures; fact-checking on current spending and tax issues; a plain English explanation of the congressional budget process and links to State budgets; and FedWeb blogs (sign-up above) that drill-down on key issues…..

Fairness Matters: A Chart Book on Who Pays State and Local Taxes

Source: Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), 2017

From the overview:
There is significant room for improvement in state and local tax codes. Income tax laws are filled with top-heavy exemptions and deductions. Sales tax bases are too narrow and need updating. And overall tax collections are often inadequate in the short-run and unsustainable in the long-run. In this light, the growing interest in tax reform among state lawmakers across the country is welcome news.

Too often, however, would-be tax reformers have proposed policy changes that would worsen one of the most undesirable features of state and local tax systems: their lopsided impact on taxpayers at varying income levels. Nationwide, the bottom 20 percent of earners pay 10.9 percent of their income in state and local taxes each year. Middle-income families pay a slightly lower 9.4 percent average rate. But the top 1 percent of earners pay just 5.4 percent of their income in such taxes. This is the definition of regressive, upside-down tax policy.

State and local tax systems add to the nation’s growing income inequality problem when they capture a greater share of income from low- or moderate-income taxpayers. Further, state tax systems that ask the most of families with the least are not well-suited to generate the revenues needed to fund schools, health care, infrastructure, and other public services that are crucial to building thriving communities. This problem is particularly acute in the long run since regressive tax systems depend more heavily on low-income families that face stagnating incomes while taxing the superrich, whose wealth and incomes continue to grow, at lower rates.

As the information in this chart book helps illustrate, it does not have to be this way. States vary considerably in the fairness of their tax codes, and pursuing policies adopted by states with the least regressive tax systems is a proven strategy for reducing tax inequity.

Resistance Manual

Source: Stay Woke, 2017

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Evidence from states shows why Trump’s brand of Carrier-style dealmaking won’t work

Source: Joshua Jansa, The Conversation, January 9, 2017

In late November, President-elect Donald Trump announced that he had reached a deal with Carrier to keep about 800 manufacturing jobs in Indiana from moving to Mexico. After the announcement, we learned that the Indiana Economic Development Corporation would give US$7 million in tax credits and grants to Carrier’s parent company in exchange for keeping the jobs in the state.

Trump proudly praised the agreement as a “great deal for workers” and said that it was part of a larger approach to keep jobs at home, saying “this is the way it’s going to be.”

Having the chief executive of the United States negotiate individualized deals with corporations is certainly a new approach to economic policy nationally, though it is not without precedent. In fact, state governments have been negotiating targeted incentives with corporations for decades.

My research focuses on why states use incentives to attract and retain investment from corporations and whether they are effective. My work, as well as that of many others, shows that these deals do not create the jobs and economic growth they are purported to…..