Legislatures in Rhode Island and Arizona approved their state budgets for fiscal year 2008 this past week and, in each case, dealt significant setbacks to corporations seeking to avoid or to reduce their taxes. Rhode Island's budget will close three loopholes that have allowed profitable corporations to use creative accounting measures to pay less than their fair share in taxes. This will generate $12.5 million that will help to close the state's expected budget gap and finance vital public services. In addition, the budget halts the scheduled elimination of the state's tax on capital gains income, though it fails to restore the tax rate on such income to its prior level of 5.0 percent. While Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri (R) has vowed to veto the spending plan, that veto will likely be overridden. For more on how Rhode Island could strengthen its tax system, see the Rhode Island Poverty Institute's recent fact sheet.
Meanwhile, in Arizona, Governor Janet Napolitano (D) is expected to sign her state's budget into law soon. While that budget includes $11 million in tax cuts - including a state version of so-called section 529 education savings plans - these tax cuts are far smaller than those proposed by House Republicans, due to legislators' unwillingness to provide businesses with a 2.5 percentage point reduction in the state's corporate income tax.