Uber-supply side economist Arthur Laffer and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback gave small business owners a “pep talk” earlier this week about the massive tax cuts that the Governor signed into law earlier this year. It’s part of the Governor’s PR Offensive to brand a regressive tax plan, that costs $2.5 billion over five years, as somehow fiscally sound.

Wednesday Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal released a statement that should make Louisianans nervous: “Our top priority next legislative session is to reform Louisiana's tax system so that we can make our tax code fairer, flatter, and lower for Louisiana families and businesses.” They already had to scrounge up “one time” money to fill state budget gaps; reducing revenues further by cutting taxes will only exacerbate Louisiana’s fiscal problems. 

California Governor Jerry Brown officially launched a campaign this week to gain support for his temporary income tax increase for the state’s wealthiest residents and permanent ¼ cent increase in the sales tax. It will be on California’s November ballot as Proposition 30.  At a press conference, Brown stressed that a rejection of his measure would trigger automatic budget cuts amounting to $6 billion less for K-12 schools and universities and called the measure an “opportunity to say 'yes' to our schools [and] about one simple question: Shall those who have been blessed beyond imagination give back 1, 2 or 3 percent for the next seven years, or shall we take billions out of our schools and colleges to the detriment of the kids standing behind us and the future of our state?"

Add this one to the long list of bad ideas put forth by New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie.  For the paltry sum of $120 million in cash up front, Christie is selling off the Garden State’s lottery.  The deal will require the buyer to increase ticket sales by at least 7.5 percent annually – or face a penalty.  This, Christie believes, will make the sale worthwhile. But the chosen vendor will have their work cut out: even in a record year, New Jersey’s lottery grew by only 1.2 percent (it raised $2.6 billion last fiscal year, a reported $31.5 million increase over the previous year).  

Utah policymakers have decided to get serious about their state’s deteriorating gas tax revenue. The crisis shouldn’t surprise anyone since Utah has had the same state gas tax rate for 14 years which has lost more than 30 percent of its value over time.  Rather than confronting that erosion in its value, Utah lawmakers have been raiding their general fund in order to pay for transportation. They need to increase the tax by at least 12.6 cents a gallon – and get other key recommendations from Building a Better Gas Tax from ITEP.

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