This week we bring you updates on major revenue shortfalls looming in Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania, as well as gas tax changes taking effect in some states and being debated in others.
-- Meg Wiehe, ITEP State Policy Director, @megwiehe
- Oklahoma lawmakers are weighing options to close the state's $870 million shortfall. Up for discussion are tobacco and gas tax increases, expanding the sales tax to a range of services, and enacting a soda tax. At the same time, there's discussion among lawmakers and a push from the state Auditor to repeal the tax cut trigger that has been chipping away at the state's personal income tax.
- Pennsylvania lawmakers are turning their attention toward the state's budget deficit. However, steps to address it are unclear as Republicans renewed their pledge to avoid tax increases and Gov. Tom Wolf says he will not seek major tax increases to balance the budget.
- A new coalition in Nebraska is pushing for a shift from sales to property taxes, but most lawmakers remain focused on the state's $900 million budget gap.
- Mississippi is in dire need of revenue to repair and maintain its crumbling roads and bridges, but there are doubts that the legislature can come to agreement on a fix despite two obvious options: raising the state's outdated gas tax, or repealing last year's misguided tax cuts.
- South Carolina continues to debate gas tax increases as well, with proposals that include a slowly phased in 10-cent increase and an authorization of county-level gas tax increases.
- Several states saw increases in their gas taxes starting Jan. 1, including large increases in Pennsylvania and Michigan and smaller adjustments in Nebraska, Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana and Florida.
- Amazon began collecting sales tax on purchases made by residents of Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Utah on Jan.1.
- Californians saw a 0.25 percent sales tax cut take effect on Jan. 1 with the expiration of the temporary tax increase approved by voters as part of Proposition 30 four years ago.
- With Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback advocating that his failed tax policies should be adopted at the national level, federal lawmakers would be wise to follow the lead of Kansas lawmakers, the Kansas electorate, and pundits in not buying it.
What We're Reading...
- Governing explores how federal-state tensions may play out in 2017, including federal budget and tax cuts that are likely to worsen state budget shortfalls. The magazine also offers a list of five public finance topics to watch: tax reform, budget shortfalls, tax break transparency, pension contributions, and online sales taxes.
- The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center released its Fair Share Tax Plan for Pennsylvania. The plan is intended to offer equitable revenue solutions to the state’s deficit and it received significant news coverage across the state.
- Pew reviews the status of debates in various cities, and one state, considering a "Netflix Tax" on digital entertainment.
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