Category Archives: Taxation

Improving Economic Development Incentives

Source: Timothy Bartik, W.E. Upjohn Institute, 2018

From the Pew Charitable Trusts’ summary:
State and local governments commonly use economic development incentives such as tax credits and exemptions to try to boost their economies by encouraging businesses to relocate or expand within their borders. But such incentives can represent major budget commitments, costing these governments tens of billions of dollars every year. To make the best decisions about which policies to pursue, policymakers need reliable, high-quality tools and methods for evaluating their incentives and ensuring that they yield the intended results.

New research by Timothy J. Bartik of the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research offers practical guidance. In a recently released report, “Improving Economic Development Incentives,” the institute’s senior economist examines how policy design choices influence the economic impact of incentives and draws some conclusions to help state and local leaders assess and improve their policies.

Amazon Gets Tax Breaks While its Employees Rely on Food Stamps, New Data Shows

Source: Claire Brown, The Intercept, April 19, 2018

Later this year, Amazon will begin accepting grocery orders from customers using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the federal anti-poverty program formerly known as food stamps. As the nation’s largest e-commerce grocer, Amazon stands to profit more than any other retailer when the $70 billion program goes online after an initial eight-state pilot. But this new revenue will effectively function as a double subsidy for the company: In Arizona, new data suggests that one in three of the company’s own employees depend on SNAP to put food on the table. In Pennsylvania and Ohio, the figure appears to be around one in 10. Overall, of five states that responded to a public records request for a list of their top employers of SNAP recipients, Amazon cracked the top 20 in four.

Quarterly Summary of State and Local Government Tax Revenues: 4th Quarter 2017

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, G17-QTAX4, March 20, 2018

The summary provides quarterly estimates of state and local government tax revenue at a national level, as well as detailed tax revenue data for individual states. This report produces three tables: Tables 1 and 2 include income and sales data and Table 3 provides tax collections by state.

Fourth quarter 2017 tax revenues for the four largest state and local government tax categories increased 9.5 percent to $438.8 billion, from $400.8 billion in the same quarter of 2016.

Related:
Complete data sets

Economic Development Tax Incentives Evaluation Act: Evaluation of “Motion Picture Production Tax Credits” – Tax Years 2013 through 2015

Source: State of Rhode Island, Office of Revenue Analysis, March 16, 2018

Part I: Introduction

Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws § 44-48.2-4, titled Rhode Island Economic Development Tax Incentives Evaluation Act of 2013, the Chief of the Office of Revenue Analysis (ORA) is required to produce, in consultation with the Director of the Economic Development Corporation, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the Director of the Department of Labor and Training, a report that contains analyses of economic development tax incentives as listed in R.I. Gen. Laws § 44-48.2-3(1). According to R.I. Gen. Laws § 44-48.2-4(1), the report “[s]hall be completed at least once between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2017, and no less than once every three (3) years thereafter”. ….

Part II: Benchmarking Motion Picture Activity in Rhode Island, Selected Comparison States, and Nationwide

An understanding of current and historical motion picture production activity in Rhode Island as well as in comparison states and the nation provides context to the economic environment in which the MPPTC program operates. First, the benchmarking analysis contained within this part presents information on the availability of tax benefits targeting the motion picture industry in Rhode Island and in comparison states. Next, this part presents data highlighting current levels and long-term trends in motion picture production activity and employment and evaluate Rhode Island’s relative performance and on key economic indices.

ORA focused its investigation of motion picture activity, employment, and availability of tax incentives targeting motion picture production in four comparison states. The selected states are two neighbors, Massachusetts and Connecticut, in addition to two national leaders in motion picture production, New York and California. Additionally, this report includes selected comparisons to national data to allow the reader to consider the state-level data in the context of national levels, trends, and cycles. ….

Part III: Report Data Description

Part IV: Evaluation of the Economic Impact of the Tax Credit

Part V: Discussion and Recommendations

ORA Recommendations
Finding #1: The statutory goals of the MPPTC are poorly defined and performance measured against statutory objectives is relatively poor. ….
Finding #2: Current data reporting requirements lead to inconsistent and unreliable data on program performance. ….
Finding #3: MPPTC program fails to breakeven; program has negative return on investment. ….
Finding #4: Credit usage is low relative to the annual aggregate cap of $15.0 million, suggesting that the program is out-of-touch with the motion picture industry, and making revenue impacts difficult to predict. ….
Finding #5: MPPTC does contain a sunset provision, representing a best practice of tax incentive design. ….

Related:
Study: RI taxpayers lost $1.8 million a year on film tax credits
Source: Ted Nesi and Steve Nielsen, WPRI, April 16, 2018

State Study Finds RI Film/TV Incentives Generate Only 27 Cents For Every Dollar Spent
Source: Ian Donnis, Rhode Island Public Radio, April 18, 2018

A Macro Analysis of the Return on Investment of the Rhode Island Motion Picture Production Tax Credits
Source: State of Rhode Island, Office of Revenue Analysis, Discussion Paper, July 24, 2008

State Payroll Taxes: A Tool for States to Circumvent the Republican Tax Plan

Source: Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), February 2018

From the abstract:
The new tax law sharply limits the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) when calculating federal taxes by capping the deduction at $10,000. While this will not affect most taxpayers, it will affect a substantial number of taxpayers in relatively high tax states like California and New York. This paper suggests an employer-side payroll tax as a tool that states can use to shield most of the tax revenue that otherwise would have been collected through formerly deductible income or sales taxes.

Federal tax law to squeeze local governments in tri-state region

Source: Valentina Gomez, Nicholas Samuels, Leonard Jones, Moody’s, Sector In-Depth, April 11, 2018
(subscription required)

The recent federal tax legislation will have an adverse credit effect on local governments in the tri-state region of Connecticut (A1 stable), New York (Aa1 stable) and New Jersey (A3 stable). This is due to the region’s relatively high state and local taxes and unusually high home prices, particularly in the New York City metropolitan area. The impact, however, will vary from state to state depending on tax levy formulas, fixed cost burdens and state actions to blunt the effect of the federal changes

10 Things You Should Know on Tax Day

Source: Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), April 13, 2018

Everyone pays taxes, including those who earn the least. Our collective federal, state, and local tax system includes income taxes, payroll taxes (Social Security, Medicare), property taxes, sales and other excise taxes. The total share of taxes (federal, state, and local) that Americans across the economic spectrum will pay in 2018 is roughly equal to their total share of income.

Waiting — and Waiting– For Corporate Tax Cuts to Deliver Those Wage Hikes

Source: Manuel Madrid, American Prospect, April 13, 2018

Though if you’re a CEO or shareholder, the new tax cuts are the gift that keeps on giving. ….

…. It’s been nearly four months since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law, and the good times continue to roll for shareholders and company executives. Corporate profitability is well on its way to hitting decade-long highs, and CEO pay, coming off of a record year in 2017, will be the cause of much champagne-popping. But if the new tax bill, which showered corporate America with an estimated $68 billion in savings, has been a party for Wall Street, folks on Main Street—the supposed primary beneficiaries of the tax-cutting bonanza, as Republicans told it—have yet to receive their invitations.

A new online database launched by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), a broad coalition of more than 400 groups championing progressive tax reform, tracks how corporations have responded to the new law. The ATF website, entitled “Trump Tax Cut Truths,” contains information on more than 800 companies, including the amount of tax savings those companies received along with details on planned bonuses, pay raises, and stock buybacks. The information is sourced from news articles, press releases, public corporate filings, independent analysis, and ATF research. ….

New Federal Tax Law Makes It Difficult for States to Provide Accurate Revenue Forecasts

Source: Lucy Dadayan, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, April 2018

From the press release:
A Rockefeller Institute review of recent state revenue forecasts shows that states are expecting tax revenue growth to be stronger in fiscal year (FY) 2018 compared to FY 2017. Those forecasts remain highly speculative, however, as the full effects of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) remain unknown.

The policy brief reviews forecasts for personal income, corporate income, and sales tax revenue in 42 states and finds a median forecast for personal income tax growth at 4.4 percent in 2018 and 4.7 percent in 2019 – significantly stronger than the 2.4 percent actual growth in 2017. Forecasts for corporate income and sales tax revenue are similarly strong compared to actual growth in 2017.

Forecasters in most states are facing higher-than-usual uncertainty as they do not yet have enough data to factor in the effects of the TCJA. California’s executive budget notes, for example, “These estimates do not include any impacts of the federal tax changes passed at the end of 2017…. Changes by individuals and businesses in response to the federal tax incentives will affect revenues in potentially unexpected ways.”

State revenue forecasts will continue to be updated as the effects of the TCJA become clearer.

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Introduction