This week we are bringing you news confirming that Kansas’ years of tax cutting have been heavily tilted toward the rich, more lagging revenues in states including Arkansas, Texas and Minnesota, new problems for New Jersey’s budget, and a major new taxpayer boondoggle in Nevada. Thanks for reading the Rundown!
-- Meg Wiehe, ITEP State Policy Director, @megwiehe
- In Kansas, the Brownback tax cuts are under fire on several fronts. Revenue estimates weren't defective before the tax cuts. The tax numbers are in and it's confirmed ITEP’s findings that the bulk of Brownback's cuts helped the wealthy while increasing taxes for those with low-incomes. And new information shows that the governor and majority of lawmakers personally stand to benefit from the tax exemption for business pass-through income.
- Arkansas revenues are down for the third month in a row, but this isn't stopping Gov. Asa Hutchinson from talking tax cuts. He is expected to release an income tax cut proposal the day after the election. Other lawmakers appear more hesitant in light of unmet revenue expectations.
- Tax collections are also down in Texas and Minnesota the first quarter of fiscal year 2017. As state budgets struggle, local governments are also feeling the pressure due to decreased revenue sharing.
- The Joplin Globe takes a close look at Amendment 4, on which Missouri voters will decide this November. The amendment would constitutionally prevent the state from modernizing its sales tax to include the growing service sector.
- As we wrote last week regarding the tax deal in New Jersey, work can recommence on the state's infrastructure but much remains to be done to repair and improve its tax code. Moody's Investors Service shares our concerns, pointing out that the large and regressive tax-cut package passed along with the gas tax fix “will worsen the state’s existing budget challenge.”
- Lawmakers in Pennsylvania aim to rework the state's gambling tax after a state Supreme Court decision, ruling that the way casinos are taxed for local impact assessments is unconstitutional, drastically cut local aid.
- Lawmakers are in special session in Nevada to decide on whether to subsidize a new stadium for the NFL Raiders. The Senate has approved the measure with more than the required supermajority, despite persistent evidence that it's a major rip-off for taxpayers.
What We're Reading...
- A new study reinforces the need for tax policy and other public policy solutions to the vast and widening inequality we face. The report, using previously unavailable data on inequality and social mobility over multiple generations, reaches a disheartening conclusion: "Whatever you thought, it's worse." The Washington Post Wonkblog summarizes the findings here.
- Jeffery Sachs also discusses facing up to income inequality in a weekly series.
- The World Health Organization makes the case for taxing sugar sweetened beverages, urging countries to enact the tax to fight obesity and cut health care costs. Meanwhile, big soda is under scrutiny for using corporate philanthropy as a strategy to stop soda tax measures.
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