Oklahoma’s Governor Mary Fallin finally unveiled her plan for eliminating the state income tax. Full elimination would take a number of years, but low-income families are likely to be hit hard right away when various refundable credits are repealed. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) plans to conduct a full analysis as soon as sufficient details are made available.
One Michigan lawmaker wants to take money away from Medicaid, education, and other programs to cover the cost of maintaining the state’s roads – costs that the state’s long stagnant gas tax can’t keep up with. This is not the only such proposal to redirect money to cover up for lawmakers who lack the political courage to raise their state’s gas tax. Nebraska, Utah, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Oklahoma have proposed or enacted similar raids that ITEP warned of in its recent report, Building a Better Gas Tax.
The Colorado legislature is debating a boondoggle of a bill which would create a sales tax holiday the first weekend in August. The facts are getting out that these events are expensive and don’t benefit the people who need them most.
The Virginia-Pilot has an excellent editorial on the efforts of some lawmakers to ramp up the level of scrutiny applied to billions of dollars in special interest tax breaks. As the Pilot points out, Richmond is increasingly forcing cities and counties to pick up costs the state can’t cover, yet lawmakers threw away $12.5 billion in corporate tax breaks without any evidence they are helping Virginians.
Two tax increase initiatives appear headed for California’s November ballot that Governor Jerry Brown fears will undermine support for his own initiative to temporarily raise the sales tax and income taxes on wealthier Californians. The competing measures are both permanent and superior in terms of fairness: a “millionaire’s tax” backed by labor groups who say it will raise $6 to $10 billion for education; and a $10 billion personal income tax hike on all Californians except for low-income families, backed by a wealthy civil rights attorney. But with three tax increasing options on the ballot, there’s a good chance the measures will cancel each other out, leaving California still in a fiscal wreck.
Photo of Jerry Brown via Randy Bayne and Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0