Tax Justice Digest News

In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately. 

Here we go again
The Trump Administration on Wednesday released a tax sketch that is a roadmap for redistributing wealth upward. ITEP Executive Director Alan Essig in a statement said, “Our policymakers owe working people more than tax cuts (for the rich) with unrealistic promises of economic growth.” Among other things, the plan would cut the statutory corporate tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent. Turns out many profitable Fortune 500 companies are already paying far less than the proposed statutory corporate tax rate. The tax sketch doesn’t include critical details such as how the administration proposes to pay for the plan. But, hey, at least the “biggest tax” cut plan wasn’t sketched out on a napkin.

Read ITEP’s tax reform principles for ideas on true tax reform.

3 Percent and Falling
ITEP today released the state companion report to its federal corporate study that examines effective income tax rates paid by profitable Fortune 500 companies from 2008 to 2015. Thanks to loopholes, subsidies and other tax giveaways, profitable corporations pay an average effective state tax rate of 2.9 percent, which is less than half the nationwide average 6.25 percent state corporate tax rate. Corporations’ declining state taxes come at a time when many states are grappling with how to fill budget gaps. Given these facts, it is hard to understand why some states continue to weigh how to further cut state corporate taxes. Read the study or read a brief blog summarizing the study.

STATE NEWS

Young Immigrants’ Tax Contributions Increase under DACA Protection
A new Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy report examined the state and local tax contributions of young immigrants eligible for DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals) and found that, collectively, they annually contribute $2 billion in state and local taxes, but this number would drop by nearly half without DACA protection. The report notes that employment rates go up for young immigrants receiving DACA protection (from 51 percent to 87 percent), and they experience increased wages. Read more

Income Tax Best Solution for Alaska Budget Woes
For years, Alaska was so awash in oil revenue that it didn’t have a state income tax, and it provided all state residents with a yearly payout. Due to market forces, this has changed, and the state is now weighing how to raise enough revenue to fund basic priorities. A new ITEP report looks at Alaska’s revenue-raising options and finds that for most Alaskans, a state income tax would take less from their bottom line than other revenue-raising alternatives. Read a blog about Alaska’s budget concerns or read the full analysis.

The State Rundown
This week, transportation funding debates finally concluded with gas tax updates in IndianaMontana, and Tennessee, and appear to be nearing an end in South Carolina. Meanwhile, Louisiana and Oregon lawmakers debated new gross receipts taxes, and Texas legislators considered eliminating the state's franchise tax. Read more

If you have any feedback on the Digest or tax stories you’re watching that we should check out too please email me rphillips@itep.org

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Tax Justice Digest: Resources for Tax Day 2017


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In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately. 

Every year around Tax Day, ITEP updates some of its key reports to help put the nation’s tax system in proper context. This year, as people around the country march to demand President Trump release his tax returns and as policymakers consider overhauling our federal tax system, these reports are especially topical. Read 10 Things You Should Know on Tax Day.

Who Pays Taxes in America Now—Who Will Pay under Possible Tax Reform?

The nation’s combined federal, state and local tax system is slightly progressive and relatively proportional (for now), meaning each income quintile’s total share of taxes is more or less on par with its total share of income.

 But ITEP analysts also examined what the tax system would look like if Speaker Paul Ryan’s so-called Better Way plan were enacted. It found that Ryan’s plan would cut taxes for every group, but would reserve the most lavish tax cuts for the top 1 percent. In fact, under Ryan’s  plan  the tax system  would redistribute income away from the bottom 99 percent and toward the top 1 percent. Read Who Pays Taxes in America in 2017 for a complete overview.

What about State Tax Systems?
The reason the nation’s combined federal, state and local tax system is relatively proportional is because the federal income tax is progressive. Every state and local tax system, however, is regressive, meaning lower-income people pay a higher effective state and local tax rate than the wealthy. Take a look at Fairness Matters: A Chart Book on State and Local Taxes, for an overview of tax systems in all 50 states.

The U.S. is Far Below Average When It Comes to Taxes We Pay Relative to GDP
Tax Day—when many taxpayers who waited until the last minute to file are writing checks to Uncle Sam and also their state governments—perhaps isn’t the best time to present these harsh facts, but compared to other advanced economies:

And while corporations argue that the U.S. tax system is too onerous and stifles competitiveness (in spite of the fact that profitable corporations are doing quite well), the truth is:

15 Reasons We Need Corporate Tax Reform—And We Don’t Mean Tax Cuts
Another new ITEP report examined 2016 financial filings to identify profitable companies that paid ZERO in federal taxes. The report highlights 15 U.S. corporations, including some common household names such as GE and Netflix, and identifies the tax breaks they used to zero out their tax obligations. For most of them, last year’s zero-tax liability wasn’t an aberration.

ICYMI:

Fortune 500 Companies Hold a Record $2.6 Trillion Offshore
A March 2017 ITEP corporate report, Fortune 500 Companies Hold a Record $2.6 Trillion Offshore, examines how much cash corporations are stashing offshore and, based on analyses of their financial reports, estimates how much they’re dodging in taxes ($780 billion).

The 35 Percent Corporate Tax Myth
Our wide-ranging, eight-year study of Fortune 500 companies found that the average effective tax rate for profitable corporations is 21.4 percent, barely more than half the statutory rate. Further, a broad swath of profitable companies paid ZERO federal taxes in at least one of the last eight years. Check out the corporate study for more details on how corporations avoid taxes.

Undocumented Immigrants Pay State and Local Taxes
In early March, ITEP updated its distributional analysis of Undocumented Immigrants’ State and Local Tax Contributions. According the report, undocumented immigrants contribute an estimated $11.74 billion in state and local taxes each year. This means that undocumented immigrants contribute 8 percent of their incomes in state and local taxes on average, which is on par with the rate paid by middle-income taxpayers. Read the full report

If you have any feedback on the Digest or tax stories you’re watching that we should check out too please email me rphillips@itep.org

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Tax Justice Digest: Offshore Cash, Gas Tax and BAT


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In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately. 

Corporations Offshore Cash Hoard Grows to $2.6 Trillion
U.S. corporations now hold a record $2.6 trillion offshore, a sum that ballooned by almost $200 billion over the last year as companies moved more aggressively to shift their profits offshore. A new report by ITEP finds that this growing offshore cash stockpile is allowing profitable companies to avoid up to $767 billion in U.S. taxes. Read more

About That Proposed Border Adjustment Tax
The business community is not unified on the proposed Border Adjustment Tax (BAT). ITEP examined tax rates paid by companies in pro- and anti-BAT lobbying coalitions and found that companies opposing the tax, on average, already pay close to the statutory tax rate, while companies supporting the BAT, on average, pay an average rate of 14.5 percent. Read more

April 1 Marks Record-Breaking Procrastination on the Federal Gas Tax
Not sure who the joke is on, but April Fool’s Day marks the 8,584th consecutive day (23.5 years) since Congress raised the federal gas tax. The previous record of 8,583 days was set on March 31, 1983, the day before lawmakers doubled the gas tax from 4 to 9 cents per gallon. The current rate of 18.3 cents a gallon was set during Bill Clinton’s first term. Now that infrastructure funding is back on the agenda in Congress, revisiting this extraordinarily outdated area of the tax code is a logical place to begin the search for revenue, writes ITEP research director Carl Davis. Read more

Seeking the Right Balance in Alaska
It’s been a little more than a year since Alaska Gov. Bill Walker proposed implementing a state personal income tax for the first time in 35 years, and the idea is now receiving close attention in the Alaska House of Representatives. Alaska is the only state to repeal a personal income tax, having done so after it struck oil at Prudhoe Bay in the 1970s. Since then, the state has funded its public services primarily with oil tax and royalty revenues. Read more

EITC on the Move in States
In 2015, six states adopted or strengthened their EITC (California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey and Rhode Island) followed by more expansions in Rhode Island and New Jersey in 2016. By the end of 2016, 27 states offered a state EITC, 22 of which were refundable. So far in 2017, we’ve seen proposals to establish EITCs in Georgia, Hawaii, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia, and a proposal to expand Minnesota and Maryland’s credits for adults without children in the home. Read more

State Rundown: More States Looking to Protect Revenues
This week West Virginia, Georgia, Minnesota, and Nebraska continued to consider regressive tax cut proposals, as the District of Columbia considered cancelling tax cut triggers it put in place in prior years, and lawmakers in Hawaii, Washington, Kansas, and Delaware pondered raising revenues to shore up their budgets. Meanwhile, gas tax debates continued in Oklahoma, West Virginia, and South Carolina. Read more

If you have any feedback on the Digest or tax stories you’re watching that we should check out too please email me rphillips@itep.org

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For frequent updates find us on TwitterFacebook, and at the Tax Justice blog.

In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately. 

State-by-State Analysis of GOP Health Care Plan
By now, it’s widely known that the GOP health care plan includes a $31 billion a year tax cut that mostly benefits the top 1 percent of taxpayers. ITEP this week published a new analysis that examines the state-by-state impact of the plan. View how the proposal would  impact your state

Amazon Will Collect Sales Tax in Every State by April 1
For decades, Amazon.com helped its customers dodge the sales taxes they owed to gain an advantage over its competitors. But as the company’s business strategy has changed, so has its tax collection practices—and as of April 1, Amazon will collect sales taxes in every state. How did we get here—and what’s left to do? Read more

Taxing the Gig Economy
Speaking of state tax laws evolving to keep pace with our ever-changing economy, states are facing another sales tax challenge as the gig economy grows. Services such as Uber and Airbnb are presenting regulatory challenges as the growth of these services has outpaced lawmakers’ ability to update state and local tax codes. Read more

State Rundown: Springtime Debates Blossom Nationwide
This week in state tax news saw major changes debated in Hawaii and West Virginia and proposed in North Carolina, a harmful flat tax proposal in Georgia, new ideas for ignoring revenue shortfalls in Mississippi and Nebraska, an unexpected corporate tax proposal from the governor of Louisiana, gas tax bills advance in South Carolina and Tennessee, and property tax troubles in Missouri, Nevada, and New Jersey. Read more

If you have any feedback on the Digest or tax stories you’re watching that we should check out too please email me rphillips@itep.org

Sign up to receive the Tax Justice Digest

For frequent updates find us on TwitterFacebook, and at the Tax Justice blog.

In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately. 

New Study Explores the 35 Percent Corporate Tax Myth
A comprehensive, eight-year study of profitable Fortune 500 corporations finds that, on average, the nation’s richest firms paid a 21.2 percent effective tax rate between 2008 and 2015, but a significant number (100) managed to pay no taxes in at least one year, 24 paid zero in four out of eight years, and 18 firms paid zero taxes over eight years.

This is the first time ITEP has examined eight years’ worth of corporate data for profitable Fortune 500 firms. The study comes at a time when members of Congress and the Trump Administration have signaled corporate tax reform is a top priority and will focus on lowering the top corporate tax rate. Read more

The Not So Good and Very Awful Elements of the GOP Health Care Proposal
The jig is up. The GOP plan to repeal and replace (and allegedly improve) the Affordable Care Act is a farce of monumental proportions. Not only would repeal be extraordinarily costly based on the most conservative estimates, it would cut taxes on upper-income people while reducing access to care for lower-income people. If enacted, the plan would be successful solely for those whose broader ideological goal is to reduce taxes for wealthy people. Read more

International Women’s Day: A Tax Perspective
International Women’s Day draws attention to progress that has been made and the work that still needs to be done in advancing gender equality. Many campaigns on issues such as equal pay or paid family leave acknowledge that economic policies impact women and men differently. But we often overlook the role governments’ budgeting and taxation practices can play in advancing or preventing progress. Read more

The State Rundown: Much Ado about Consumption Taxes
This week brings more news of states considering reforms to their consumption taxes, on everything from gasoline in South Carolina and Tennessee, to marijuana in Pennsylvania, to groceries in Idaho and Utah, and to practically everything in West Virginia. Meanwhile, the fiscal fallout of Kansas's failed ‘tax experiment’ has new consequences as the state’s Supreme Court found the state is unconstitutionally underfunding public schools. Read more

If you have any feedback on the Digest or tax stories you’re watching that we should check out too please email me rphillips@itep.org

Sign up to receive the Tax Justice Digest

For frequent updates find us on TwitterFacebook, and at the Tax Justice blog.

New Study Explores the 35 Percent Corporate Tax Myth
A comprehensive, eight-year study of profitable Fortune 500 corporations finds that, on average, the nation’s richest firms paid a 21.2 percent effective tax rate between 2008 and 2015, but a significant number (100) managed to pay no taxes in at least one year, 24 paid zero in four out of eight years, and 18 firms paid zero taxes over eight years.

 

This is the first time ITEP has examined eight years’ worth of corporate data for profitable Fortune 500 firms. The study comes at a time when members of Congress and the Trump Administration have signaled corporate tax reform is a top priority and will focus on lowering the top corporate tax rate.  Read more

 

The Not So Good and Very Awful Elements of the GOP Health Care Proposal

The jig is up. The GOP plan to repeal and replace (and allegedly improve) the Affordable Care Act is a farce of monumental proportions. Not only would repeal be extraordinarily costly based on the most conservative estimates, it would cut taxes on upper-income people while reducing access to care for lower-income people. The plan is successful solely for those whose broader ideological goal is to reduce taxes on wealthy people. Read more

 

International Women’s Day: A Tax Perspective
International Women’s Day draws attention to progress that has been made and the work that still needs to be done in advancing gender equality. Many campaigns on issues such as equal pay or paid family leave acknowledge that economic policies impact women and men differently. But we often overlook the role governments’ budgeting and taxation practices can play in advancing or preventing progress.
Read more

 

The State Rundown: Much Ado about Consumption Taxes
This week brings more news of states considering reforms to their consumption taxes, on everything from gasoline in South Carolina and Tennessee, to marijuana in Pennsylvania, to groceries in Idaho and Utah, and to practically everything in West Virginia. Meanwhile, the fiscal fallout of Kansas's failed ‘tax experiment’ has new consequences as the state’s Supreme Court found the state is unconstitutionally underfunding public schools. Read more

New Study Explores the 35 Percent Corporate Tax Myth
A comprehensive, eight-year study of profitable Fortune 500 corporations finds that, on average, the nation’s richest firms paid a 21.2 percent effective tax rate between 2008 and 2015, but a significant number (100) managed to pay no taxes in at least one year, 24 paid zero in four out of eight years, and 18 firms paid zero taxes over eight years.

This is the first time ITEP has examined eight years’ worth of corporate data for profitable Fortune 500 firms. The study comes at a time when members of Congress and the Trump Administration have signaled corporate tax reform is a top priority and will focus on lowering the top corporate tax rate.  Read more

The Not So Good and Very Awful Elements of the GOP Health Care Proposal
The jig is up. The GOP plan to repeal and replace (and allegedly improve) the Affordable Care Act is a farce of monumental proportions. Not only would repeal be extraordinarily costly based on the most conservative estimates, it would cut taxes on upper-income people while reducing access to care for lower-income people. The plan is successful solely for those whose broader ideological goal is to reduce taxes on wealthy people. Read more

International Women’s Day: A Tax Perspective
International Women’s Day draws attention to progress that has been made and the work that still needs to be done in advancing gender equality. Many campaigns on issues such as equal pay or paid family leave acknowledge that economic policies impact women and men differently. But we often overlook the role governments’ budgeting and taxation practices can play in advancing or preventing progress. Read more

The State Rundown: Much Ado about Consumption Taxes
This week brings more news of states considering reforms to their consumption taxes, on everything from gasoline in South Carolina and Tennessee, to marijuana in Pennsylvania, to groceries in Idaho and Utah, and to practically everything in West Virginia. Meanwhile, the fiscal fallout of Kansas's failed ‘tax experiment’ has new consequences as the state’s Supreme Court found the state is unconstitutionally underfunding public schools. Read more

In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately. 

Undocumented Immigrants’ Tax Contributions
ITEP today released updated numbers on undocumented immigrants’ tax contributions. Collectively, they contribute $11.74 billion in state and local taxes and pay an average effective state tax rate of 8.6 percent. This report is particularly important in the context of national policy discussion about a border wall and mass deportation.
Read the report

In a blog post about the report and current political climate, Meg Wiehe, ITEP director of programs, notes that undocumented immigrants have become an easy scapegoat for our rigged economic system, writing, “Erroneously blaming undocumented immigrants for stagnating wages and the growing chasm between the rich and poor detracts from the real issue: too many of our elected officials are responsible for tax and other public policies that favor special interests and corporations.”
Read Meg’s blog

A Tempered Delivery Doesn’t Make a Statement True
On Tuesday evening during his first address to Congress, President Trump promised to cut taxes for corporations and the middle class. For the latter to be true, the president would have to push a proposal that radically departs from his campaign trail tax plan, which would bestow 58 percent of its benefit on the richest 5 percent of taxpayers. While the speech was light on details, ITEP analyst Richard Phillips fact-checked this and three other statements on taxes.
Read more

What to Do When Continual Budget Shortfalls Become Exasperating?
Before the 2010 Tea Party wave, Kansas was governed by a bipartisan coalition of moderates. That wave ushered in Gov. Brownback and a series of supply-side tax cuts that devastated state revenues and gave the state the dubious distinction of poster child for failed trickle-down economic theories. Now, the bipartisan coalition of moderates is back and emboldened, and they mean business.
Read about the Kansas legislature’s recent vote to rescind tax cuts

What Is Combined Reporting and Why Should You Care?
Combined reporting requires large companies operating in multiple states to add together all the profits of their various branches and subsidiaries into one single report and then follow existing rules for apportioning those profits to states in which they operate. This is tax speak for making it more difficult for corporations to hide profits and dodge taxes.
Read a brief blog or
Read the full report 

What to Watch in the States: State-Federal Relationship Shifting
State lawmakers will be making policy decisions amid a great deal of uncertainty about the future of federal tax and funding policies that are crucial to the states. How those federal debates shake out and how states prepare for and react to them will have lasting consequences for families and businesses in every state, and for the very nature of federalism in the United States. 
Read more

 

If you have any feedback on the Digest or tax stories you’re watching that we should check out too please email me rphillips@itep.org

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For frequent updates find us on TwitterFacebook, and at the Tax Justice blog.

 


Tax Justice Digest: The Problems with a Border Adjustment Tax


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In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately. 

Regressive and Loophole-Ridden: Issues with the House GOP Border Adjustment Tax Proposal
In recent weeks, the Republican congressional leadership’s effort to introduce a comprehensive tax reform bill has increasingly faced opposition from major business groups and skeptical lawmakers from across the aisle. The primary source of dissent thus far is that the most prominent tax framework, the House GOP’s “Better Way” tax blueprint, contains a radical provision to apply a border adjustment to pay for a cut in the corporate income tax rate from 35 to 20 percent. A new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) finds that this border adjustment tax would be regressive and loophole-ridden and would likely violate international trade agreements.
Read the Report
Read the Summary Blog Post


Private School Tax Subsidies Blur the Line Between Charitable Gift and Money Laundering
When is a charitable contribution not a “donation” at all? If a taxpayer manages to turn a profit on the deal, has anything altruistic actually occurred? The clear answer is no. But an ITEP report reveals that the federal government does not always agree, at least with regard to certain gifts to private K-12 scholarship funds. Released late last year, the report’s findings may gain renewed public interest because the newly confirmed Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, is a proponent of using public dollars for private school education and President Trump, according to reports, is considering a policy that would funnel federal dollars to private schools via federal income tax credits.
Read the Report
Read the Updated Blog Post


What to Watch in the States: Modernizing Sales Taxes for a 21st Century Economy

State lawmakers often find themselves looking for ways to raise revenue to fund vital public services, fill budget gaps, or pay for the elimination or weakening of progressive taxes. Lately, that search has led many states to consider reforming or expanding their sales taxes.
Read the Blog Post


Why, West Virginia, Why?

A recently introduced Senate Bill in West Virginia (SB 335) would ultimately eliminate the state’s personal and corporate income taxes, do away with the sales and use tax, and reduce the state’s severance tax. Under the plan, the revenue lost from this assortment of diverse taxes would be replaced by an 8 percent broad-based general consumption tax. The result: low- and middle-income West Virginians pay more, much more, while wealthy residents heavily benefit.
Read the Blog Post


'IMPROVE' Act Fails to Improve Tennessee's Regressive Tax Code

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposal (dubbed the IMPROVE Act) to raise the state’s gas tax while cutting three other taxes would essentially be a tax cut for the state’s wealthiest residents and a tax increase for the lowest-income Tennesseans.
Read the Blog Post


ITEP State Rundown: Regressive Tax Proposals Multiplying

This week saw a nearly successful attempt to right the fiscal ship in Kansas; regressive tax proposals introduced in West Virginia, Georgia, and Missouri; ongoing gas tax fights in Indiana, South Carolina, and Tennessee; and further tax and budget wrangling in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and beyond.
Read the full Rundown
 

If you have any feedback on the Digest or tax stories you’re watching that we should check out too please email me rphillips@itep.org

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For frequent updates find us on TwitterFacebook, and at the Tax Justice blog.


Tax Justice Digest: What to watch in the states, debunking the supply-side myth


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In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately. 

What to Watch in the States in 2017
State and federal gas taxes are the cornerstone of our nation’s transportation finance system. But far too many of these taxes are severely outdated and poorly designed. The good news is that state lawmakers are becoming increasingly aware of these problems. Nineteen states have raised or reformed their gas taxes since 2013 and more than a dozen states will debate doing so this year. Read What to Watch in the States: Gas Tax Hikes and Swaps

Or read an updated ITEP policy brief that explains why state gas tax revenues are falling short of the levels needed to build and maintain the nation’s infrastructure.

More than 30 states face budget gaps this year. In spite of this, lawmakers in many states are pursuing tax policies that will drain critical revenues from state coffers. Common sense, however, is prevailing in a smaller number of states where lawmakers are exploring meaningful income tax reforms that could improve the fairness and sustainability of their tax systems. Read What to Watch in the States: Further Attempts to Weaken or Eliminate Progressive Taxes

The Supply-Side Myth Debunked in Two Minutes
Here we go again … and again, and again. Members of Congress and the Trump Administration have signaled corporate and individual tax cuts are on the table this year. Lawmakers in several states, in spite of budget problems, are considering tax cuts.  In most instances, when analysts model the effect of these plans, they find that the wealthy receive a disproportionately large share of the benefit. Meanwhile, these supply-side economic policies eventually force cuts to vital programs and services while working people wait for the financial benefits to trickle down. If you haven’t already, watch ITEP’s two-minute video that debunks the supply-side myth.

Dodging Tough Fiscal Decisions with State Tax Cut Triggers and Phase-ins
State lawmakers are increasingly turning to tax cut phase-ins and triggers as ways to take credit for cutting taxes without having to face the full consequences for years, decades, or in the case of term-limited lawmakers, maybe never. Read more

The State Rundown
For a comprehensive rundown of state tax news, check out the weekly State Rundown. This week’s rundown looks at policy debates in states facing budget challenges. Read more

If you have any feedback on the Digest or tax stories you’re watching that we should check out too please email me rphillips@itep.org

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For frequent updates find us on TwitterFacebook, and at the Tax Justice blog.


Tax Justice Digest: A Visual Tour of Who Pays, 2017 State Tax Trends


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In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately. 

New! A Visual Tour of Who Pays State and Local Taxes
To help inform 2017 statehouse debates, ITEP today released a chart book that examines how families at different income levels are affected by state and local tax codes. A few findings: all state tax systems are regressive; states without a personal income tax tend to tax lower-income people at higher rates, and flat taxes are beneficial for the wealthy. Read ITEP Research Director Carl Davis’s blog or view Fairness Matters: A Chart Book on Who Pays State and Local Taxes

More Regressive or Less Regressive? 2017 State Tax Policy Trends
While federal lawmakers have signaled individual and corporate tax changes are imminent, less publicized are upcoming state legislative actions on issues as varied as major revenue shortfalls, modernizing decades-old sales and gas tax policies, and flattening or even eliminating revenue sources as vital as the personal income tax. Read an overview of 2017 trends in state tax policy by Meg Wiehe, ITEP’s director of programs.

Playing Catch up with the Motor Fuel Tax
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has proposed tripling the state’s gas tax. In any other state, this might seem drastic. But Alaska hasn’t increased its gas tax in 47 years, and even if it triples its tax, it would remain below the 50-state average. ITEP released a new brief this week that examines how Alaska’s motor fuel tax is an outlier among states. Read ITEP Analyst Carl Davis’s blog or read the full brief, Alaska’s Motor Fuel Tax: A National and Historical Outlier.  

The State Rundown: Revenue Shortfalls and How to Avoid Them
This week’s rundown of state tax happenings brings more news of states facing budget crunches, a new state considering eliminating its income tax, and states that plan to raise gas taxes to fund transportation projects. Read the State Rundown.

The ITEP Inequality Index
One of the charts in ITEP’s new Fairness Matters chart book ranks the states by the most unequal to the least. Essentially, the inequality index examines whether the gap in families’ shares of income is wider or narrower after state and local taxes are applied.

If you have any feedback on the Digest or tax stories you’re watching that we should check out too please email me rphillips@itep.org

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For frequent updates find us on TwitterFacebook, and at the Tax Justice blog.


Tax Justice Digest: Kansas again, state budget woes, and corporate tax cuts


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In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately. 

Trickle-down policies did not and will not work

In December, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback told the Wall Street Journal that Donald Trump should take a page from his book and dramatically cut taxes. The problem with this recommendation is that for the last few years, his state has been the poster child for tax cuts gone awry. In a recent blog, ITEP Senior Analyst Lisa Christensen Gee outlines how Kansas’s regressive tax policies have led to a projected two-year, $1.1 billion budget shortfall. The state’s chronic fiscal mismanagement is not a model for other states, much less the federal government. Read more

There’s ‘gold in them there hills’
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are eyeing the $2.5 trillion corporations have stashed offshore as a potential source of revenue to fund the nation’s critical priorities. But there are problems with existing proposals.

President-elect Trump has proposed a 10 percent transition tax that would give multinational corporations a $514 billion tax break. Corporations owe more than $700 billion on their offshore profits. Trump’s plan would forego 70 percent of that revenue. In laymen’s terms, this means his plan would give away the store to corporations in exchange for a short-term revenue gain. Read ITEP’s new brief to learn more about Trump’s proposal and for a list of the 10 companies that stand to benefit most. Hint: Think tech and banking sectors.

In case you missed it, late last year ITEP published a comprehensive guide to repatriation proposals. Instead of giving corporations a tax break on their offshore cash, the piece concludes the best policy would be closing the loophole that allows corporations to indefinitely defer taxes on their offshore cash.

Public Says “No” to Tax Cuts, But Congress Says, “Yes”
A new blog by Richard Phillips, an ITEP senior policy analyst, argues that plans floated by Congress and the incoming Trump Administration would dramatically cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations and eliminate revenue necessary to meet the nation’s most basic priorities. In other words, if either blueprint for Ryan or Trump’s plans (or some combination of both) becomes law, the outcome will likely be the furthest thing from true “reform” of our tax system. Oh, and recent public opinion polling finds regardless of party affiliation, voters do not want tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Read more.

Or, if you’re into the vagaries of political wrangling, read Phillips’s piece on the state of play regarding federal tax policy.

State Rundown: Revenue Woes Piling up Faster than Solutions
There most certainly will be a lot of focus on federal tax policy this year, but various states will have to make critical tax and budget decisions this year as well. This week’s ITEP State Rundown highlights: states where there are revenue shortfalls, governors' budget proposals, and other tax news around the country. So far, most state legislative proposals are focused on slashing taxes and reducing public investments, despite public opinion and economic research showing the benefits of well-funded state services and progressive tax policies. Read more

If you have any feedback on the Digest or tax stories you’re watching that we should check out too please email me rphillips@itep.org

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Tax Justice Digest: State Tax Policy Plans for 2017


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Thank you for reading the Tax Justice Blog and Tax Justice Digest. We’re going on hiatus until Jan. 3, 2017, to recharge our brains and get into the holiday spirit with bad fruitcake and eggnog. Well, maybe not the latter two. But we will be revving up our tax analysis chops because next year we will head into one of the most significant federal tax battles in the last generation.

In the meantime, here’s our last Tax Justice Digest for 2016. 

But first, please consider supporting our work with a donation to ITEP this year.  It is more critical than ever for our research to inform tax policy debates in Washington, DC and in statehouses across the country next year.

Keep an Eye on State Estate Taxes in 2017
We know that Congress and the incoming Trump Administration have set their sights on eliminating the federal estate tax. A new ITEP research brief explains the role of state estate taxes in the 18 states that levy the tax, and a blog by ITEP policy analyst Dylan Grundman argues that states have a unique opportunity with the estate tax to ensure their tax systems are more progressive.

Governors’ Plans for State Taxes in 2017/2018
In advance of the new year, several governors have released tax and budget proposals for their states’ next two fiscal years. While these proposals are not necessarily indicative of nationwide trends we expect to see in 2017, some help to set a good example of progressive solutions to raising revenue and improving tax fairness. Read ITEP's State Policy Fellow Misha Hill's summary here.

ITEP Holiday Entertainment Guide
Oddly enough, we tax policy wonks have interests outside of tax policy, and in the spirit of the giving season, we’d like to share some of the podcasts, films and books we’ve enjoyed this year with you. If you have selections for us, please tweet at us @iteptweets! 

The State Rundown
This week’s rundown looks at how several states are taking the taxation of online sales into their own hands; new taxes in Philadelphia and the District of Columbia, and state budget woes in Oklahoma, Alaska, and Virginia. Read more

In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately.

About President-Elect Trump and Carrier Corp.’s 1,000-Jobs Deal
Where to start with this Carrier Corp. deal? Over a 15-year period, Carrier’s parent company paid an average 10 percent effective federal tax rate: that’s less than one-third of the statutory rate. To boot, the company likely is avoiding taxes on a $29 billion offshore cash hoard. In spite of this, the incoming Trump Administration has decided more tax breaks are a fair ransom for the company’s paper-thin promise to keep 1,000 jobs in the United States. ITEP Senior Fellow Matthew Gardner wrote two recent blog posts about this corporate claptrap.

Beyond the PR Spin: Carrier Corp. Holds American Jobs Hostage to Tax Breaks

A Few Things to Consider Before Giving Away the Store to Carrier Corp.

To learn more about how tax incentives for corporations primarily help corporations and their shareholders, read Tax Incentives: Costly for States, Drag on the Nation

Tax Cuts for the Rich Are the Main Feature, Not a Bug, of the Trump Tax Plan
Incoming Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made waves this week with his announcement that the tax plan proposed by his boss, President-elect Donald Trump, will not cut taxes for the wealthy, promising “no absolute tax cut” for upper-income families. This statement flies in the face of every available analysis of Trump’s tax plan. Read Matt’s blog diving deeper into the details of Mnuchin’s statement and Trump’s tax proposals.

Taxing $2.5 Billion in Offshore Profits: What’s Ahead for Repatriation?
Multinational companies collectively are hoarding $2.5 trillion in profits offshore and avoiding up to $718 billion in U.S. taxes. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle as well as the incoming Trump Administration view this offshore cash as low-hanging, revenue-producing fruit, and it is likely that lawmakers will come up with a plan this year to incentivize companies to “repatriate” this cash. Problem is that the proposals likely to gain traction are ill-advised, patchwork fixes. Read ITEP analyst Richard Phillips’ blog on repatriation, or if you have a few more minutes, read ITEP’s comprehensive guide to repatriation proposals.

We Count at Least Nine Problems with Trump’s Infrastructure Proposal
In theory, expanded investments in our nation’s infrastructure could generate wide support among the public and within Congress. Yet congressional negotiations on this issue have repeatedly broken down because of disagreements over how to fund those investments. Unfortunately, a flawed proposal for new funding put forth by President-elect Trump fails to offer a realistic path forward. Read ITEP’s new issue brief, Privatization, Waste, and Unfunded Projects: The Problems with Trump’s Infrastructure Proposal or read ITEP research director Carl Davis’s blog for a brief summary.

What Will Tax Reform Ultimately Look Like?
With something called “tax reform” moving full steam ahead in Congress, it not yet clear what exactly lawmakers mean by tax reform. Lawmakers are still struggling over fundamental questions such as whether tax reform should be revenue neutral and  bipartisan, and what the international tax system should look like. Read our blog exploring how these critical decisions might play out.

 

STATE TAX NEWS

State Tax Breaks for the Elderly Primarily Benefit the Wealthy, Drain State Coffers
No one wants to be poor in their golden years, and this is a likely reason that state tax breaks for the elderly are popular in multiple states. But an updated ITEP research brief finds that all too often, tax breaks for the elderly are poorly targeted and primarily benefit wealthier taxpayers. Read ITEP analyst Aidan Davis’s blog summarizing the brief.

The Road Ahead for State Tax Policy in 2017
While state and local elections didn’t receive as much national media attention as the presidential race, shakeups in statehouses will pave the way for significant tax policy debates in a number of states. In a recent piece, ITEP staff outlines states to watch in 2017

State Rundown: Figuring out How to Fund Roads, Millionaire’s Tax, Etc.
This week’s State Rundown features news about transportation and infrastructure funding in Indiana, California, and South Carolina, next steps for New York's millionaire's tax, moves toward comprehensive tax expenditure review in Ohio, continuation of the income tax reciprocity agreement between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and efforts for tax change in Nebraska and Arkansas.

 

If you have any feedback on the Digest or tax stories you’re watching that we should check out too, please email me rphillips@itep.org 

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For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.

In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately.

Same Tax Shenanigans, Different Day
The annual financial report that Apple released last week indicated two things: One, the company continues funneling money offshore to avoid U.S. taxes on a scale unmatched by any other U.S. company ($216 billion and counting); and two, in spite of the European Commission’s (EC) recent finding that Apple has used its Irish subsidiary for an elaborate profit shifting scheme to illegally avoid taxes, the company has no intention of admitting any wrongdoing. Read more

Federal Gas Tax Remains at 90s-era Rates, But States Are Increasing Theirs
Lawmakers in 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted gas tax increases or reforms since 2013 and more states will very likely follow suit next year. Check out ITEP Research Director Carl Davis’s recent post on which states have recently increased their gas tax.

Local Governments Put Tax Increases on the Ballot to Make up for Lost State Revenue
The strongest nationwide trend in local ballots is local governments asking voters to create new or raise local taxes to fill in for state funding that has been cut in recent years, often largely due to short-sighted recently enacted state tax cuts. Twenty-seven Ohio cities and villages will seek local income tax increases, and most of them cite state cuts as a primary reason. Atlanta, Ga., Boulder, Colo., Olympia, Wash., and several California cities also are voting on tax increases to fund services. Read more

Speaking of Ballot Measures, How about That Soda Pop Tax?
So-called sin taxes, such as cigarette taxes and alcohol taxes mostly are an accepted reality. But this new trend to consider taxing sugary beverages is more controversial. A new brief from ITEP looks at the advantages and disadvantages of taxing sugary beverages. Also, a recent blog post outlines which localities will vote on sugar taxes on Election Day.

Missouri Commission Eyes Reforms to the State Tax Code
Missouri’s tax code is in some ways stuck in the past, with income tax brackets that have not been adjusted for inflation since they were created in 1931. Even the state’s most recent tax changes enacted in 2014 are largely driven by outdated and debunked notions that slashing taxes on the wealthy is a path to economic growth. But the Missouri Study Commission on State Tax Policy has been taking a good hard look at these issues. Read more

If you have any feedback on the Digest or tax stories you’re watching that we should check out too, please email me rphillips@itep.org 

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For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.

In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately.

The Debate
During the presidential debate, both candidates seized on tax issues. CTJ analyst Richard Phillips attempts to make sense of the spin, by explaining the difference between a value-added tax (VAT) and a tariff and outlining how cutting taxes and debt reduction are opposing ideas. Read more

Trump’s Tax Plan
CTJ this week released a distributional analysis of Donald Trump’s latest tax proposal. The plan would add $4.8 trillion to the debt over a decade and reserves the greatest share of tax cuts (44 percent) for the richest 1 percent. Although the plan cuts taxes across the board, it increases taxes for some demographic groups. Read more

Increasing Transparency
When it comes to corporate tax data, the gatekeeper is a little known organization called the Financial Accounting Standard Board (FASB). ITEP used a comment letter this week to make the case to FASB for how more disclosure could help inform the public and lawmakers on how to best reform our tax code. Read more

State Rundown
This week’s state rundown discusses proposed new (or increased) taxes in Missouri, Illinois, Louisiana, California and Oregon and the spread of ‘dark store’ tax avoidance practices across the states. Read more

Offshore Tax Avoidance
Last week, Rep. Mark Pocan introduced the Corporate Transparency and Accountability Act, a bill that would require all publicly traded multinational companies to disclose their revenues, profits, taxes, and certain other operations information on a country-by-country basis (CbCR) to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Read more

If you have any feedback on the Digest or tax stories you’re watching that we should check out too, please email me rphillips@itep.org 

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For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.

How State Tax Policy Can Mitigate Poverty/Income Inequality
The U.S. Census next week will release new data on poverty and household income. ITEP staff has produced recent policy briefs that make the connection between state tax policy and poverty. Read more

Should the Public Pay a Few Thousand or $658,000 to Create One Job?
In a guest blog for taxjusticeblog.org, Good Jobs First Executive Director Greg LeRoy discusses his organization’s recent report, which finds that public investments in workforce development programs provide a bigger bang for taxpayers’ bucks than corporate subsidies and tax credits. Read more

A Growing Number of States Face Revenue Challenges
In this week’s ITEP State Rundown, analysts outline how a growing number of states are struggling to make ends meet and notes what, if anything, they are proposing to do about it. Read more

ICYMI

Apple Inc. Doesn’t Fall Too Far from the Tree
The late August news that the European Commission ordered Apple to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes to the Irish government once again brought the tech giant’s tax avoidance to the forefront. ITEP’s Matt Gardner, who spends a lot of time examining at Fortune 500 corporations' financial disclosures, says the $14.5 billion in back taxes are a fraction of the story. He also took umbrage with Apple CEO Tim Cook’s corporate spin that attempted to portray Apple as a victim. Read his piece, How Apple CEO Tim Cook Makes Data Crunchers Appreciate the Power of Words. And, finally, writing for The Guardian, Gardner stated that the United States should take a page from the EC’s book and crack down on corporate tax avoidance.

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Tax Justice Digest: Apple -- 2016 in State Taxes -- New Briefs!


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In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately.

In Spite of Tim Cook’s Protests to the Contrary, Apple is a Champion Tax Dodger

Apple has been in the news a lot lately and not because a new iPhone is about to be released, but because of the tech giant’s tax-dodging ways. CTJ Director Bob McIntyre makes the case that Apply is the poster child for why we need to close offshore tax loopholes. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently tried to justify his company’s $215 billion in offshore cash. Read CTJ’s take on Cook’s disingenuous argument here

2016 in State Tax Policy

2016 was quite the year in state tax policy. The tax-cutting craze sparked by the election of many anti-tax lawmakers in November 2010 has subsided somewhat—at least for now. Read about state tax debates in 2016 and ITEP tax policy debate predictions for 2017.

Updated ITEP Policy Briefs!

ITEP analysts recently put together an updated explanation of how the “federal offset” makes state tax cuts a lousy deal for many taxpayers. ITEP also updated its primers on the importance of indexing state income taxes to inflation, and on the folly of regressive tax preferences that favor capital gains income over salaries and wages. Stay tuned for more updates on topics ranging from estate taxes to “neovoucher” tax credits for private K-12 education.

State Tax Rundown

This week’s Rundown highlights tax and budget news in New Jersey, Minnesota, Illinois, California and Colorado. Be sure to check out the What We're Reading section for the latest on marijuana laws, state film tax credits, and a new income inequality report. Read the Rundown.

If you have any feedback on the Digest or tax stories you’re watching that we should check out too, please email me kelly@itep.org

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For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.


Tax Justice Digest: Winning the Gold for Tax Reform


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In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately.

Ridiculous Olympic Tax Break Would Complicate the Tax Code
As thousands of athletes compete in the Rio Olympics later this week, U.S. lawmakers appear to be competing for the most ridiculous legislative tax proposals. One gold medal contender is Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), whose proposed plan to make cash prizes won by Olympic athletes exempt from the federal income tax. Read our take here.

Fiscal Policy Shake-up Comes to Energy States
The sharp decline in oil and other energy prices in recent years has saved consumers hundreds of dollars annually at the pump but also has left states that rely on energy-sector revenue clamoring to come up with policy ideas to make up for lost revenue. Here's Aidan's full piece.

Microsoft's $39 Billion Tax Holiday Continues--But Ratings Agency Cries Foul
Stern warnings from credit rating agencies are generally not shrugged off lightly. Yet Microsoft has a straightforward, if crass, reason for ignoring Moody’s advice: tax avoidance. Matt's analysis is here. 

Treasury Regs Aim at Ending an Estate Tax Dodge for the Very, Very Wealthy
Earlier this week, the U.S. Treasury Department proposed new regulations designed to prevent wealthy business owners from avoiding estate tax liability by artificially undervaluing their assets. Since congressional action does not appear to be forthcoming, Treasury’s draft regulations are an important step in preserving the estate tax. What you need to know about the new regs. 

State Rundown: Looming Revenue Shortfalls and Short-Sighted Tax Reform Talk
This week’s Rundown features a reiterated commitment to no new taxes in New Mexico, talk of a special revenue session in Oklahoma, tax debates in Mississippi, and a looming budget shortfall in Missouri. Read the Rundown here.

If you have any feedback on the Digest or tax stories you’re watching that we should check out too please email me kelly@itep.org
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For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.


Tax Justice Digest: Democratic Platform -- Tim Kaine -- Sales Tax on Services


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In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately.

The 411 on the 2016 Democratic Party Platform

Much has been made of the Democrats’ platform. CTJ staff took a look and concluded that the platform represents a “meaningful victory for progressives.” For our full analysis click here.

Tim Kaine’s Record: Largely Progressive With Some Bumps Along the Way

Hillary Clinton’s VP pick Tim Kaine is a sitting senator and former Virginia governor. CTJ took a look at his tax record and concluded that while he has supported progressive tax reform efforts, he’s occasionally taken stances that are at odds with those efforts. Here’s CTJ’s full look at Sen. Kaine’s tax record.

Sales Taxes Should Apply to Services, but Politics Keeps Getting in the Way

ITEP research director Carl Davis writes that loopholes in most state sales tax codes that exempt services like haircuts, carpet cleaning, massages, and swimming pool maintenance make sales taxes less adequate, less sustainable, and less fair. Read Carl’s blog post and find links to ITEP’s latest policy brief on the issue here.

State Rundown Stalemates and Tax Cut Talk

This week's Rundown features an ongoing stalemate in New Jersey, talk of new tax cuts in Arkansas, "tampon taxes," and the taxation of fantasy sports. Be sure to check out the What We're Reading section for new research on public attitudes toward tax and budget issues.

Read the Rundown here.

If you have any feedback on the Digest or tax stories you’re watching that we should check out too please email me  kelly@itep.org

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For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.


Tax Justice Digest: GOP Platform -- New Trump Video -- State Taxes


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In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately.

The Most Egregious Tax Policy Proposals in the 2016 Republican Party Platform

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, tax cuts for the rich do not deliver on trickle-down promises. This fact matters little, apparently, as the RNC policy platform includes ill-advised tax cuts that would exacerbate rising income inequality and add to annual federal budget deficits. Read more.

Donald Trump's Tax Plan: How to Sell a Dream

We keep hearing that conservative economists are working with Donald Trump’s campaign to propose a less costly tax plan—that would still cut taxes for the rich, of course. We’ve yet to see said plan, so Trump’s proposal at the moment still stands. Check out our new explainer video that briefly explores why Trump’s profligate tax cut proposal, which would cost just as much as all discretionary spending, is problematic and unrealistic.  Watch the CTJ video here.

Political Conventions Spark Better Tax Policy

The sharing economy service Airbnb is no stranger to controversy, from equal access for all patrons to customers reporting income earned via the service. A new blog by ITEP research director Carl Davis takes a look at how, in preparation for the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, Cleveland and Pennsylvania took swift action to ensure that their lodging taxes applied to Airbnb apartment and room rentals. Read Carl’s blog post.

CTJ to SEC: Beef Up Reporting Requirements

U.S. banks report to the Federal Reserve far more offshore subsidiary companies than what they report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Bank of America, for example, reported to the SEC that it has 21 tax haven subsidiaries, but it reported 109 to the Federal Reserve. The bigger number of the two is likely the truth. BofA and other big banks get away with underreporting subsidiary information to the SEC because the agency allows corporations to forego disclosing certain data if corporations deem it too onerous. SEC today closed its comment period on reporting requirements. CTJ submitted comments. If reading technical comments isn’t your thing, read this recent blog post or this recent report that make a strong, compelling case for why SEC should require corporations to be forthright about their offshore subsidiaries and holdings.  Read CTJ’s comments here.

Pennsylvania Passes Revenue Plan Necessary to Fund State Budget

ITEP senior analyst Aidan Russell Davis shares both the good and bad news from the recent budget agreement reached by Pennsylvania lawmakers. Read Aidan’s blog post.

State Rundown

In this week's Rundown we highlight state tax news in Alaska, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Cleveland. Read the Rundown and check out our “What We’re Reading” section here.

Shareable Tax Analysis:

 

If you have any feedback on the Digest or tax stories you’re watching that we should check out too please email me  kelly@itep.org

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For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.


Tax Justice Digest: Microsoft -- LinkedIn -- LA, NC and PA Update


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In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately.  

Corporate Tax Watch: LinkedIn and Microsoft

How is Microsoft buying LinkedIn? By borrowing $26 billion and essentially using its $108 billion in offshore cash as collateral. CTJ Director Bob McIntyre writes about this perfectly legal tax dodging deal here.  

LinkedIn has a tax avoidance problem. The company generates tax breaks faster than it can use them. Read how this could be a gain for Microsoft.

Our Take on Menu of Louisiana Tax Proposals

Louisiana lawmakers are in their second special session of the year to address the state’s budget shortfall before the new fiscal year begins July 1. ITEP Senior Analyst Lisa Christensen Gee reminds us that fiscal duct-tape should be avoided and reviews the key tax proposals here.

Guest Blog Post: North Carolina Senate Measure Increases Costs and Hurts Communities

Cedric Johnson from the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center writes about the push by some North Carolina Senators to change the constitution to cap the state’s income tax rate. Read Cedric’s guest post here.

IRS Should Strengthen its Country-by-Country Reporting Rules

Offshore tax avoidance costs governments worldwide hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenue. The IRS just issued new rules about the need for country-by-country reporting, but those rules don’t go far enough. Read more.

Pennsylvania: Budget Countdown

Will Pennsylvania’s budget be ready by July 1? Here’s the latest on where things stand in Harrisburg from ITEP Senior Analyst Aidan Russell Davis.

State Rundown

In this week's Rundown we highlight state tax news in: Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Missouri, North Carolina, and West Virginia. We are also debuting a new feature: News We’re Watching. Read the full State Rundown here.

Sharable Tax Analysis

ICYMI: CTJ recently wrote a thoughtful piece on what real tax reform looks like. Check out the three guiding principles for tax reform here 

If you have any feedback on the Digest, please email me  kelly@itep.org

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For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.


Tax Justice Digest: Good News in Washington -- Comedy & Tragedy in Illinois -- Wrap Up


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In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately. 

Good News from Washington State

The Washington State Supreme Court last week unanimously ruled unconstitutional an initiative designed to force lawmakers to pass a constitutional amendment requiring supermajority support for all future revenue increases. ITEP Senior Analyst Lisa Christensen Gee writes about why this ruling is so important.  

Comedy or Tragedy in Illinois?

White Sox and Cubs fans are likely to agree on one thing; the lack of a state budget is a disgrace. Here’s ITEP’s resident White Sox fan, Lisa Christensen Gee, on the comedy and tragedy that is Illinois fiscal policy.

Tennessee and Oklahoma Wrap Up

Lawmakers in Oklahoma failed to rise to the challenge of dealing with a $1.3 billion shortfall. Instead, legislators balanced the state’s budget with one-time funds and by reducing the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (a move called “deplorable” by the New York Times). Read Aidan Russell Davis’s full piece here.   

Tennessee’s legislative session is over and Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law Senate Bill 47, which eliminates the state’s Hall Tax, a tax on dividend and interest income. ITEP Senior Policy Analyst Dylan Grundman describes the impact of eliminating this progressive revenue source.

Member Day Wrap Up: The Good and the Bad

Over the past few weeks, the Tax Policy and Health subcommittees of the House Ways and Means Committee held Member Day hearings, in which Representatives pitched their favorite pet tax reform proposals to their colleagues in hopes of moving some of the measures forward. Here’s CTJ’s take on proposals that members brought forward.  

State Rundown: Austerity Budgets by Choice

For an update on state tax happenings in Alaska, Louisiana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, check out this edition of ITEP’s State Rundown.

New Brief: State Treatment of Itemized Deductions

ITEP’s newly updated policy brief on State Treatment of Itemized Deductions offers a menu of options available to states interested in reforming these regressive income tax breaks. Read this blog post to learn how itemized deduction reform can address both issues of tax fairness and revenue adequacy. 

Shareable Tax Analysis:

ICYMI: ITEP’s State Tax Policy Director Meg Wiehe is now on Twitter. You can follow her here: @MegWiehe

If you have any feedback on the Digest, please email me  kelly@itep.org

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Tax Justice Digest: Millionaire Myth -- Corporate Tax Watch -- State Rundown


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In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately. 

Millionaire Migration Myth Debunked for Good?

A new study provides the best evidence yet that progressive state income taxes are not leading to any meaningful amount of “tax flight” among top earners. Read ITEP research director Carl Davis’ full analysis of this important study here.

Google and Tax Avoidance

How does Google’s restructuring open the door to tax avoidance? Through some creative accounting and “Delaware Alphabet Soup.” We explain all the details here.

Corporate Tax Watch: Icahn Enterprises, Airbnb and Coca Cola Enterprises

Read this edition of Corporate Tax Watch to see how tax reform could benefit Carl Icahn, more on the taxes Airbnb may (or may not) be paying, and how earnings stripping is impacting Coca Cola’s bottom line.

The Nation’s Most Irrational State Tax Break Falls Out of Favor

ITEP research director Carl Davis writes that the state income tax deduction for state income taxes paid is losing favor in the handful of states that offer this bizarre and circular deduction. Davis writes that Oklahoma’s deduction is on the chopping block; and rightfully so given that its mere existence was a legislative accident. Read the full post here.

State Rundown: Bad Ideas, Worse Budgets

This week’s state tax policy rundown focuses on tax happenings in Kansas, New York, Minnesota, Tennessee and Massachusetts. Read the full Rundown.

ICYMI: Dana Milbank’s recent column in the Washington Post raised some serious questions about why Donald Trump may not be releasing his tax returns. CTJ Director Bob McIntyre told Milbank he’d “be shocked if he (Trump) isn’t pretty much writing off his whole life.” Read Milbank’s full column.

If you have any feedback on the Digest, please email me  kelly@itep.org

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For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.


Tax Justice Digest: Trump -- Millionaire Migration -- Boom Goes Bust


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In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been working on lately:

CTJ’s Take on Trump’s Missing Tax Return and Evolving Tax Plan:
Donald Trump is the first major presidential nominee to not release a full tax return in 40 years. CTJ Director Bob McIntyre writes that Trump may be trying to hide from the public’s view the numerous ways that the tax system is already rigged in favor of wealthy individuals. Read the piece.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee flip-flopped on his plan to give massive tax breaks to the wealthy before flipping back. Here is CTJ’s take on Trump’s musings.

Tax Migration Myth Refuses to Die
This ITEP piece sets the record straight on the millionaire migration myth. The fabulously wealthy simply do not migrate from state to state in search of low tax rates. Read the full post here.

If It Sounds Too Good to be True…. It Probably Is
Corporate integration sounds like it could be a good thing. After all, integrating implies streamlining and increased efficiencies, but when it comes to taxes and corporate integration the term is simply a ruse for more corporate tax cuts. Read more about Sen. Orrin Hatch’s corporate integration proposal .

Paying for the Boom in Alaska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wyoming
The five states most reliant on the energy sector for economic growth are facing huge budget shortfalls, brought on in part by short-sighted tax cuts made by lawmakers that failed to prepare for this decline. Read ITEP Senior Analyst Aidan Russell Davis’s cautionary tale for other states.

ITEP State Rundown: New Jersey, Oklahoma, Vermont and State Estate Taxes
This week’s Rundown features working family tax credit debates in New Jersey and Oklahoma and a wrap up of Vermont's legislative session. Read the full Rundown.

Shareable Tax Analysis:

ICYMI: Tax havens may be legal, but there's something really wrong when American corporations say they earn $46 billion in the Cayman Islands when the entire economy of the Cayman Islands is just $3 billion. For more on tax havens read CTJ’s recent analysis of the 10 most obvious corporate tax haven countries.

If you have any feedback on the Digest, please email me here: kelly@itep.org

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For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.


Tax Justice Digest: Income Tax in Alaska -- Koch Brothers in Tennessee-- and More


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In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, blog posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Alaska’s Historic Income Tax Proposal
In an attempt to help solve Alaska's $4 billion budget shortfall Gov. Bill Walker introduced his New Sustainable Alaska Plan, which proposes a personal income tax in the state for the first time in 35 years. ITEP analyzes the new income tax in this new report.

Koch Brothers Kudzu Spreading in Tennessee
Tennessee has one of the most unfair tax systems in the nation. Now, thanks to a Koch Brothers-backed lobbying effort, the state is about to pass legislation that will require the rich to pay even less. Read more.

Missouri Voters Reject Billionaire’s Campaign to Squash Local Taxes
Rex Sinquefield, a Missouri billionaire, is on a relentless quest to squash local and state taxes in Missouri, spending millions of his own money this year on a campaign to persuade St. Louis and Kansas City residents to vote to end their cities’ earning taxes. Missouri voters rejected his agenda. For more on this tax justice win read ITEP Senior Analyst Dylan Grundman’s post.

Mississippi Tax Cut Madness
Despite a plea from one of the state’s largest newspapers to “Stop the Madness,” Mississippi lawmakers this week passed costly tax cuts that will phase in over the next 12 years. Read the details here.

And That’s a Wrap! Maryland Legislative Session Ends
This legislative session, Maryland lawmakers grappled with reducing income tax rates and also expanding the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit for childless workers. These tax cuts, that at one time seemed inevitable, never came to fruition. Read ITEP Senior Analyst Dylan Grundman’s take on Maryland’s session.

ICYMI: ITEP Senior Analyst Lisa Christensen Gee wrote an op-ed for USA Today called Undocumented immigrants pay up on Tax Day. Lisa writes, “It may come as a surprise to some that just like almost everyone else, undocumented immigrants pay taxes. They pay property taxes and sales taxes, and many also pay taxes on their incomes. In fact, on average, they pay a higher share of their incomes in state and local taxes than taxpayers in the top 1%.”

If you have any feedback on the Digest, please email me here: kelly@itep.org

To sign up to receive the Tax Justice Digest in your inbox click here.

For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.


Tax Justice Digest: Tax Day Edition -- Who Pays? -- Corporate Tax Dodgers -- 5 Things to Know


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In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

 Just in time for Tax Day, CTJ and ITEP have prepared a variety of materials that answer common Tax Day questions.

 Who Pays Taxes?
Short answer: Everyone.
CTJ is the only think tank that collectively analyzes all taxes (federal, state, local, excise, etc.) to calculate total effective tax rates. In this April 2016 update, CTJ finds that each income group’s share of total taxes is more or less on par with their share of all income.

Profitable Corporations Still Managing to Pay $0 in Federal Income Tax
Eight U.S. corporations, including some common household names like Netflix, paid effective federal tax rates of zero in 2015, a new CTJ report finds. For most of them, last year wasn’t an aberration. Over a five-year period, these companies managed to pay little or nothing in federal income taxes. Read more.

Say What? GE and Verizon Defend Tax Record
This week CEOs of General Electric and Verizon wrote op-eds claiming that their companies actually do pay their “fair share” of taxes. CTJ analysts took a close look at both companies’ tax records over the last 15 years and set the record straight in this new post.

Five Things You Should Know on Monday
Myths about taxes and Tax Day abound. This new brief from CTJ outlines five facts you should know on Tax Day. For example, the U.S. statutory corporate income tax rate is 35 percent, but many companies pay at a much lower rate. Click here to learn four other Tax Day facts.

Think U.S. Taxes Are High Compared to Other Developed Nations?
Check out this informative video, Taxes and the U.S. Economy. Compared to other developed nations, tax collections as a share of the U.S. economy are substantially below average. The data from the video comes from this recent CTJ report.

What about State Taxes?
ITEP analyzes state and local taxes in all fifty states. Regrettably, all 50 states have regressive tax systems that tax the poor far more than the rich. Click here to see how taxpayers at different income levels are impacted by your state’s tax structure.

Where are US Companies Stashing Profits?
CTJ finds that American corporations are using tax gimmicks to shift profits earned in the U.S. to subsidiaries located in tax haven countries to avoid paying corporate taxes. In some of these countries the U.S. profits actually exceed the tax haven country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Shareable Tax Analysis:

 

ICYMI: The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is an especially important tax credit designed to help low-wage workers move out of poverty and achieve economic security. Here’s ITEP’s latest brief on the EITC’s effectiveness as an anti-poverty tool.

If you have any feedback on the Digest, please email me here: kelly@itep.org

To sign up to receive the Tax Justice Digest in your inbox click here.

For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.

 


Tax Justice Digest: Panama Papers -- Pfizer -- US Ranking


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In the Tax Justice Digest we recap the latest reports, posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

 This week CTJ and ITEP weighed in on the Panama Papers leak, new U.S. Treasury regulations to combat inversions and Pfizer’s subsequent decision to give up its effort to become Irish and avoid billions in U.S. taxes.  

Tax Dodging Madness
A new CTJ report finds that American corporations are using various tax gimmicks to shift profits earned in the U.S. to subsidiaries located in tax haven countries to avoid paying corporate taxes. In some of these countries the U.S. profits actually exceed the tax haven country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Panama Papers and How the Global Elite Play by a Different Set of Rules
In a CNN commentary, ITEP Director Matt Gardner weighs in on America’s problems with tax avoidance and anonymous shell companies. Read his full piece here. In a separate piece for Quartz, he argues that when heads of state use anonymous shell companies, it’s a “potent symbol of their elite privilege.”

Treasury Regs a Step Forward, But Congress Still Must Act
The Treasury Department’s new regulations strike at the core of one of the main reasons for corporate inversions—avoiding taxes on profit hoards stashed offshore. In a statement and U.S. News and World Report opEd, CTJ director Bob McIntyre lauds Treasury’s action but argues it’s up to Congress to close loopholes that enable rampant corporate tax avoidance. “Unfortunately, the current majority in Congress apparently doesn't need an excuse to do nothing. It's up to us voters to rectify that,” he wrote. 

Two New CTJ Reports: Comparing U.S. Taxes With Those of Other Developed Countries
This week CTJ released two new reports that compare how the U.S. ranks in terms of other developed countries when it comes to taxes. Spoiler alert: U.S. corporate taxes as a percentage of the economy are comparatively low, and total U.S. tax receipts as a share of the economy are less than the OECD average.  

The U.S. Is One of the Least Taxed Developed Countries

U.S. Corporate Taxes Are Below Developed Country Average

State News:
Tax justice advocates in Georgia are breathing a sigh of relief after dangerous tax cut proposals fell flat this legislative session. Read ITEP Senior Analyst Dylan Grundman’s full blog post.

State sales taxes are often the source of much contention. Policy analysts of all political stripes agree that a broad sales tax base is best. But the reality is often quite different. Here’s ITEP’s take on the shifting landscape of sales tax bases.

Shareable Tax Analysis:

 

 

 

ICYMI: Tax Day is right around the corner! CTJ is gearing up to release new Tax Day focused data and reports. Be sure to closely follow Citizens for Tax Justice on social media for the latest. (Facebook  and Twitter).

If you have any feedback on the Digest, please email me here: kelly@itep.org

To sign up to receive the Tax Justice Digest in your inbox click here.

For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.


Tax Justice Digest: Dear Treasury -- Higher Ed Tax Breaks -- Kicking Can Down the Road


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Thanks for reading the Tax Justice Digest. In the Digest we recap the latest reports, posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. 

Dear Treasury, Act to Stop Inversions
This week CTJ joined with 54 other organizations in signing a letter to the Treasury Department detailing actions it could take to curb inversions. CTJ’s Director Bob McIntyre also wrote his own letter to Treasury that you can read here.

Corporate Tax Watch: How Is This Legal?
ITEP’s Director Matt Gardner scratched beneath the surface of data solutions provider IHS’s proposed inversion. Seems the company’s tax accountants and attorneys have weaved quite a complex web: the company claims only 0.6 percent of its profits are domestic even though 60 percent of its customers are U.S.-based. Read our take on the company’s likely motivation for abandoning its U.S. citizenship.  

McIntyre Op-ed: No Free Lunch in Tax Policy
CTJ Director Bob McIntyre is exasperated with one-sided tax policy discussions. In an op-ed published in The Hill (Tall Tales and Half Analyses), he explains why analyses of tax cut proposals that don’t also talk about the spending and budgetary impacts should be met with a healthy dose of skepticism. “Across-the-board tax cuts would benefit all Americans in the same way that “dropping hundred dollar bills from a helicopter would benefit all those beneath it,” he wrote. “However, in the long-run, tax cuts of this magnitude will have to be paid for, and it won’t be pretty.” Read Bob’s full op-ed here.

New Brief: Tax Breaks for Higher Education Could Do More for Working Families
Every state that levies a personal income tax has at least one tax break for higher education expenses, but often these credits are poorly targeted and, in the end, not the best way to ensure more people have access to higher education. Read ITEP’s Higher Education Income Tax Deductions and Credits in the States brief.

Three States Kick Can Down Crumbling Road on Transportation Funding
Legislators in Indiana, South Carolina and West Virginia all started the year on the right foot, looking at serious proposals to raise new revenue for transportation. Sadly, legislators in all three states did little to permanently fix their states’ transportation problems. For more details read ITEP’s blog post.

Pennsylvania Finally Has a Budget, But There is More Work to be Done.
We’ve kept our eyes on the Pennsylvania budget standoff for some time. Unfortunately, the measure slated to become law on Monday represents a missed opportunity. Read ITEP Senior Analyst Aidan Russell Davis’s take here.

Shareable Tax Analysis: 


If you have any feedback on the Digest, please email me here:   kelly@itep.org To sign up to receive the Tax Justice Digest in your inbox click hereFor frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.



Tax Justice Digest: Ted Cruz Tax Plan -- Nabisco -- Progressive Budget


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Thanks for reading the Tax Justice Digest. We hope you are having a great week. In the Digest we recap the latest reports, posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

New CTJ Report: Ted Cruz's Tax Plan Would Cost $13.9 Trillion, While Increasing Taxes on Most Americans

This week CTJ released a report detailing the cost of Sen. Ted Cruz’s tax plan. Despite proposing the largest tax cut of any candidate ($13.9 trillion), Cruz’s tax plan would increase taxes on 60 percent of Americans. Read all the details here.

State Tax Rundown: Luck of the Double Irish 

This week our Rundown takes a close look at the DuPont/Dow merger along with tax and budget happenings in West Virginia and Florida. We also offer a list of states where legislative sessions have ended. Read our St. Patrick’s Day edition of the Rundown.

Corporate Tax Watch: Nabisco

In a recent blog post, ITEP’s Executive Director Matt Gardner makes a good case for why Nabisco deserves even closer scrutiny after deciding to lay off 600 works in its Chicago plant. Turns out the company is also likely dodging taxes thanks to offshore subsidiaries. Click here for all the details.

Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget

CTJ’s Senior Policy Analyst Richard Phillips offers his take on the budget released earlier this week from the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Richard writes the budget has “important policy ideas that, shamefully, have no chance of passing in the current political climate. Read his full post here.

Shareable Tax Analysis:

 

 

ICYMI: CTJ recently updated its analysis of Trump’s Tax Plan so now you’ll be able to find the cost distribution of the tax plan by income level and the net effect of paying for the tax cut in one report. The full report is here.  

 


If you have any feedback on the Digest or just want to send some lucky greetings email me here: kelly@itep.org

To sign up to receive the Tax Justice Digest in your inbox click here.

For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.

 


Tax Justice Digest: Free Lunch? -- State Tax Drama -- Corporate Tax Watch


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Thanks for reading the Tax Justice Digest. In the Digest we recap the latest reports, posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. 

New CTJ Report: Large Majority of Americans are Net Losers Under GOP Candidates’ Tax Plans Over the Long Term
This week CTJ released a report that takes a radically different approach to analyzing the presidential candidates’ tax proposals. It provides an analysis of how Americans would be affected if Congress eventually passed legislation to pay for the tax cuts Bottom line: the idea that tax cuts don’t have to be paid for is a myth.  Read the full report here.

State Tax Drama: Louisiana, Illinois, and Pennsylvania
This week ITEP took a close look at three major state tax policy debates that continue to make headlines. Progress was made this week in Louisiana, but the budget situation in both Illinois and Pennsylvania flounders. Read our post, Budget Woes and Partisanship here. 

Corporate Tax Watch: Wendy's, Duke Energy, Citrix
ITEP’s Executive Director Matt Gardner examined three well-known companies this week in Corporate Tax Watch. Whether they’re selling burgers or energy, profitable companies find ways to cook the books and dodge taxes. Read the latest here.  You can get Corporate Tax Watch emails by signing up here.

Shareable Tax Analysis: 

 

ICYMI: Last week CTJ released a report that revealed U.S. corporations now hold a record $2.4 trillion offshore, a sum that ballooned by more than $200 billion over the last year as companies moved more aggressively to shift their profits offshore. The full report is here  

If you have any feedback on the Digest or the fine work of CTJ and ITEP send it here:  kelly@itep.org

To sign up to receive the Tax Justice Digest in your very own inbox click here. 

For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.

 

 


Tax Justice Digest: Corps Hold Trillions Offshore -- Tax Cut Fever -- ICYMI


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Thanks for reading the Tax Justice Digest. In the Digest we recap the latest reports, posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. 

New CTJ Report: Corporations Hold $2.4 Trillion Offshore
Today CTJ released a new report which shows that U.S. corporations now hold a record $2.4 trillion offshore, a sum that ballooned by more than $200 billion over the last year as companies moved more aggressively to shift their profits offshore. The full report is here.

Tax Cut Fever in Georgia
This week Senior ITEP Analyst Dylan Grundman wrote about the tax cut fever that seems to have infected Georgia lawmakers. ITEP’s analysis of the various bills being debated shows that the biggest winners are the wealthiest Georgians. Here’s hoping lawmakers take the equivalent of fiscal Tylenol and lower their tax cut fever fast.

Super Tuesday: Round Up
In preparation for Tuesday’s contest we put together this helpful guide to the presidential candidates’ tax plans. Since it seems likely that taxes will be a central issue in this campaign,  we hope you’ll turn to this resource often.

State Rundown: Bills Moving Forward and Back
This week our Rundown focused on the Arizona House adopting an optional flat tax for low-income residents, an Indiana Senate committee approving a transportation bill after removing a gas tax increase and income tax cut, and a convoluted sales tax change that went into effect in North CarolinaClick here for the Rundown. If you’d like the latest state tax policy news to arrive in your inbox click here to sign up for the Rundown!

Shareable Tax Analysis:

ICYMI: As presidential candidates make highfalutin claims about the economic effects of their tax plans, we wanted to remind you that all tax models are not created equal. Here’s ITEP’s Research Director Carl Davis’ take on the Tax Foundation’s TAG (Taxes and Growth) model. Carl concludes that it “takes an exaggerated view of the impact that taxes have on the economy.” 

Happy March! Spring is coming! I really love hearing from readers. If you have any feedback on the Digest or the fine work of CTJ and ITEP send it here:  kelly@itep.org


To sign up to receive the Tax Justice Digest in your very own inbox click here.

For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.

 


Tax Justice Digest: Undocumented Immigrants Pay Taxes -- Pfizer -- TN Hall Tax


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Greetings! Thanks for reading the Tax Justice Digest. In the Digest we recap the latest reports, posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

New ITEP Report: Undocumented Immigrants’ State and Local Tax Contributions
If we could send sound with this email you’d hear a drum roll! This week ITEP released its popular report showing that the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States pay $11.6 billion annually in state and local taxes. Want to know more and how much undocumented immigrants pay in your state? Click here for a helpful map and the full report.

Tax Breaks for Manufacturing . . . Death?
Great title, right? In his thoughtful piece, ITEP Executive Director Matt Gardner examines the manufacturing deduction and the tobacco companies who “manufacture” cigarettes. Tobacco companies benefited from the deduction and avoided an astonishing $1.3 billion in taxes over the last five yearsRead the full post here.

How Pfizer Could Get Away With Avoiding $35 Billion in Taxes
This week Americans for Tax Fairness released a new report, based in part on CTJ research, which found that Pfizer has likely understated the size of its permanently-reinvested offshore stash by a factor of two. In fact, Pfizer may avoid paying as much as $35 billion on its offshore profits, if its proposed inversion goes ahead as planned. Read all the gory details here.

New Report: Tennessee Hall Tax Repeal Would Overwhelmingly Benefit the Wealthy
Senior ITEP Analyst Dylan Grundman took a close look at a bill in the Tennessee legislature that would eliminate the Hall Tax, the state’s limited income tax on interest and dividends that generates $341 million per year. The wealthy would win in a big way if the tax is eliminated. Read the full report here.

Guest Blog: Income Tax Cuts to Offset Gas and Cigarette Tax Increases? There are Better Ways
Senior ITEP Analyst Lisa Christensen Gee published a post in the Indiana Institute for Working Families’ blog. Her piece describes the ITEP analysis of a proposal that would hike the state’s gas and cigarette taxes and reduce the personal income tax rate. Lisa concludes that “the bill undermines revenue potential for infrastructure improvements, deprives the state of revenue needed for other critical investments, and exacerbates the unfairness of Indiana taxes (Indiana has the tenth most unfair tax system in the country).” Click here for ITEP’s full analysis and Lisa’s post.

Corporate Tax Watch: Facebook and Verisign
This week ITEP Director Matt Gardner took a close look at Facebook and Verisign’s tax filings. Here’s his piece. If you’d like to get Corporate Tax Watch emails - sign up here.

Shareable Tax Analysis: 

ICYMI: Just a month ago we joined with groups across the country in celebrating EITC Awareness Day. For a refresher on who is helped by the Earned Income Tax Credit, click here.

Enjoy your last February weekend! If you have any feedback (ideally tax or Tax Justice Digest related) send it here:  kelly@itep.org To sign up to receive the Tax Justice Digest in your very own inbox click here.

For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.

Tax Justice Digest: Saying Goodbye -- Corporate Tax Watch -- Gas Taxes


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Greetings! Thanks for reading the Tax Justice Digest. In the Digest we recap the latest reports, posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

We begin with some sad news. This week we said goodbye to Rebecca Wilkins, CTJ’s former legal counsel, who died after a four-year battle with cancer. Rebecca was immensely talented. Here’s our remembrance.

Ten Corporations Would Save $97 Billion in Taxes Under “Transition Tax”
President Obama’s budget proposal includes a one-time "transition tax" on the offshore profits of all U.S.-based multinational corporations. His plan would tax these profits at a 14 percent rate immediately, rather than at the 35 percent rate that should apply. This amounts to a huge tax cut bonanza at the expense of American taxpayers. Read CTJ’s full report here.

Sign up for Our New Resource: Corporate Tax Watch
Many of our readers are especially interested in taxes paid (or not) by corporations. To feed your need for more corporate tax information we are launching Corporate Tax Watch – sign up for the emails here. Sign up and you’ll receive occasional updates about corporate taxes delivered right to your inbox.

Speaking of Corporate Tax Watch… This week ITEP’s Director Matt Gardner took a close look at Carrier Corporation and its parent, United Technologies. The company is drawing the well-deserved ire of presidential candidate Donald Trump and Indiana Governor Mike Pence after announcing that Carrier will move 2,100 jobs from Indiana to Mexico next year. Gov.  Pence reportedly is assigning part of the blame for Carrier's move to our nation's "high federal corporate tax rates." Read Matt’s blog post here debunking that claim.

2016 State Tax Policy Trends: Nine States Seriously Considering Gas Tax Increases
This week ITEP’s research director, Carl Davis, reports that nine states (AlabamaAlaskaCaliforniaHawaiiIndianaMississippiMissouriNew Jersey, and South Carolina) are considering raising their gas taxes. Raising the gas tax in a responsible way that simultaneously offers low income tax relief is a good thing. However, Carl warns that “too many of these long-overdue gas tax updates are only being considered on the condition that they are coupled with an equal, or larger, cut in other taxes.” Read his full post. Also, here’s an interesting piece in USA Today that cites Carl and offers grim news about the state of our nation’s bridges.

Oklahoma Facing Showdown Over Income Tax Cuts?
Oklahoma has become yet another regrettable example of what happens when state policy is driven by income tax cuts. For more on the drama in OK, check out our post here.

Tax Policy Issues with Legalized Retail Marijuana
ITEP’s Carl Davis gave testimony before the Vermont Senate Committee on Finance about the tax issues surrounding taxing marijuana. Among Carl’s recommendations, “Vermont lawmakers should take care not to allow the state’s finances to become overly dependent on marijuana.” Read the full testimony here.

State Rundown: Cuts and Crises
For the latest on important state tax policy debates, check out this week’s State Rundown.  
Here’s a sneak peek of this week’s edition: Despite their revenue shortfall, lawmakers in West Virginia are moving forward with their corporate tax cuts. North Carolina lawmakers are once again talking tax cuts. Pennsylvania lawmakers are barely talking – after legislative leaders declared Gov. Wolf’s budget bill DOA. Louisiana Gov. Edwards is threatening that if his state doesn’t balance its budget the end of college football is near.

Shareable Tax Analysis:

 

Heads Up: Next week, ITEP will be releasing an update of our 2015 report, Undocumented Immigrants’ State and Local Tax Contributions. The report details the current state and local taxes paid by undocumented immigrants and shows how much more they would pay under the administration’s 2012 and 2014 executive actions as well as under comprehensive immigration reform. The updated report will be available here on Wednesday.

Enjoy your Friday and the weekend!  Don’t hesitate to send me feedback at:  kelly@itep.org

To sign up to receive the Tax Justice Digest in your very own inbox click here.

For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.


Tax Justice Digest: Voodoo Economics -- Corporate Tax Watch -- Social Contract


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Read the Tax Justice Digest for recent reports, posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Here’s our weekly wrap up of tax debates:

Tax Foundation Revives Voodoo Economics
Carl Davis, ITEP’s Research Director, takes a close look at the Tax Foundation’s TAG (Taxes and Growth) model and concludes that it “takes an exaggerated view of the impact that taxes have on the economy.” For more on the flaws of the TAG model read the full paper here.

Our Take On President Obama’s Last Budget
This week President Obama released his budget, which contains $3.2 trillion in tax increases over the next ten years, most of which would fall on corporations and wealthy taxpayers. But the President also lets corporations with lots of offshore income off the hook with a proposed “transition tax.” The transitional tax would actually give $97 billion in tax cuts to just ten of our country’s biggest tax avoiders. Click here for more on the President’s budget

Carl Davis, ITEP’s Research Director, took a close look at the President’s proposed oil tax that would add an additional $10.25 to the price of a barrel of crude oil. Read more about it here.  

Corporate Tax Watch: Celanese Corporation
Celanese is a Fortune 500 company that makes engineering polymers (go ahead and Google that – we weren’t sure what they are either). Come to find out, these polymers are critical components used in a variety of industries: agriculture, pharmaceutical, aerospace, and even the automotive industry. Despite what we don’t know about engineering polymers, we do know that the company generates 30 percent of its profits from just four small tax haven companies. Click here for more on Celanese and its use of tax havens.

Bernie’s Tax Plan
CTJ staff analyzed the Sanders health care tax plan and found that his proposal would raise $13 trillion and yet increase after-tax incomes for all income groups except the very highest. Read CTJ’s full report on the plan (PDF). Don’t have time to read the full report? Here’s the CliffsNotes version.

Internet Tax Ban is a Defeat for Good Tax Policy
Congress just passed a permanent ban on taxing internet access. Here’s our take on why this ban is wrongheaded.

2016 State Tax Policy Trends:
Shifty Tax Proposals
This week ITEP Senior Analyst Lisa Christensen Gee took a careful look at the many states that are debating whether to reduce one tax to pay for increasing another tax. Tax shift proposals in Arizona, Mississippi, Indiana, Georgia, New Jersey and South Carolina are highlighted in this piece.

Addressing Poverty and Inequality Through Tax Breaks for Working Families 
ITEP Senior Analyst Aidan Russell Davis examines low-income tax credit debates in states across the country. We know that low-income credits are a vital tool for keeping low income families above the poverty line. Click here for more on how states are enhancing and protecting their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – and check out our updated policy brief on EITCs here.

Shareable Tax Analysis:

ICYMI: This week our State Rundown focused on states with shortfalls specifically: Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana. To get a copy of the Rundown in your mail box sign up here

What a full week! Have a super weekend. Don’t hesitate to send me feedback at:  kelly@itep.org

Sign up to receive the Tax Justice Digest in your very own inbox.


Tax Justice Digest: Caymans -- 2016 Trends -- Gas Taxes


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Read the Tax Justice Digest for recent reports, posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Happy Friday to you! Thanks for reading.

Tax Policy, Chickens, and Accounting Tricks
The Cayman Islands has a $3 billion economy, yet U.S. multinationals claim they earn $51 billion there annually. ITEP’s Executive Director Matt Gardner recently visited the island as part of a BBC2 documentary.  Read about his experience in the notorious tax haven and watch a clip of the documentary.

Surveying Gas Taxes: Two Updated Resources
Did you know that the federal government hasn’t raised the gas tax in 22 years? (Next week look for President Obama to propose a new $10 per barrel tax on crude oil.)  Lawmakers in some states have been more eager to enact reforms. ITEP’s Research Director, Carl Davis took a close look at state gas taxes in two new updated policy briefs.

2016 State Tax Policy Trends:
Budget Surpluses and Misguided Economics Drive Calls for Tax Cuts
This week ITEP Senior Analyst Dylan Grundman took a careful look at the many states that are debating whether to cut taxes because of a budget “surplus.” This is part two in our seven-part series on 2016 state tax policy trends.

States Considering Raising Revenue in Both Big and Small Ways
ITEP State Tax Policy Director Meg Wiehe gets us up to speed on the more than 16 states that are considering raising revenue this year. This is part three in our seven-part series on state tax policy trends.  

State Tax Rundown:This week’s State Rundowns examine developments in IdahoIndianaKansasNew YorkOhioOklahomaOregon, Kansas, and Indiana. ITEP also provides a helpful listing of State of the State addresses that happened this week. Read our Rundowns here.

Shareable Tax Analysis: 



ICYMI: ITEP’s Research Director, Carl Davis offered his insights to the Vermont Senate Committee on Finance about how best to evaluate tax expenditures. Here’s what he had to say about this often overlooked component of tax codes. 

Thanks so much for those of you who emailed this week! I’m always eager to hear from readers:  kelly@itep.org

For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.


Tax Justice Digest: Apple -- Star Wars -- Gifts for You


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Read the Tax Justice Digest for recent reports, posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Happy Holidays! We wish you and yours a cookie filled and relaxing end to your 2015. Sit back and take a deep breath, we’ve got a jammed packed Tax Justice Digest for you this week:

Extenders Bill Passes

Late last week Congress passed the extenders bill - a package of legislation mostly made up of tax breaks for businesses that have actually already expired. Citizens for Tax Justice weighed in on the package and urged lawmakers to reject the deficit-financed $690 billion tax cut deal.

Apple CEO Gets It Wrong on Tax Avoidance
This week the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy weighed in on Tim Cook’s 60 Minutes interview in which he responds to questions about the company’s history of tax avoidance by saying that raising the issue is simply “political crap.”

Inquiring Minds….   
Ever wonder how CTJ analyzes tax proposals? This post about ITEP’s microsimulation tax model should help answer your questions.

Our Gifts to You: 8 Book Recommendations and Tax Wars
We are a wonky bunch during work hours, but after hours and on weekends we go crazy and read some pretty entertaining books. Here’s a list of 8 books we read this year that we recommend. Enjoy.

The new Star Wars movie is getting rave reviews (our staff who saw it enjoyed it too). Here’s our take on Star Wars and taxes. We call it Tax Wars.  

State News

Looking Back on 2015: This year states enacted a mix of tax policy changes—some good and some bad.  But there were more than a few bright spots worth highlighting.  Here are five tax policy trends from 2015 that we hope will keep on giving into the new year.

Predictions for 2016: As the year comes to a close, several tax bills are already being debated in states across the country. In the new year we will write more about state tax policy trends for 2016, but in the meantime, here are some of the big state tax policy developments happening now.

Shareable Tax Analysis:


ICYMI: If we were another type of organization we’d be ringing a bell or selling citrus, but instead we’ll just provide you with this link if you’d like to donate to CTJ or ITEP. We greatly appreciate donations of all sizes – thanks!

We’ll be taking a break from the Tax Justice Digest until the new year, but I’d love to hear from you anytime: kelly@itep.org

For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.


Tax Justice Digest: To Read -- Delaware -- Big Alaska News -- Star Wars


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Read the Tax Justice Digest for recent reports, posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Recommended Weekend Reading
Last week, we told you about the congressional debate over the tax extenders. This week the debate raged on without resolution, and Congress is expected to continue the debate through the weekend. ICYMI: CTJ has two recent extender related reports--Evaluating the Tax Extenders and Why Lawmakers Should Say No to Tax Extenders--that are easy and helpful reads.

The Joint Committee on Taxation this week released its Tax Expenditure Report (a report we adore) that allows anyone to understand how much federal deductions, exemptions and credits cost. ITEP’s Executive Director Matt Gardner fills us in on all the reasons we should spend at least part of our weekend reading this report. 

Donald Trump and That Broken Clock…
Earlier this week, Donald Trump criticized Amazon chief Jeff Bezos for allegedly using his purchase of the Washington Post as a tax dodge. Trump's claim that Bezos is using the Post's losses to reduce Amazon's profit is clearly wrong since the newspaper is owned by Bezos, not Amazon. But here’s the part that Trump gets right: his criticism draws attention to the fact that Amazon pays a low effective corporate tax rate and has dodged $1 billion in taxes thanks to various loopholes. Check out our full commentary on Amazon’s tax avoidance strategies.

Delaware: A Homegrown Tax Haven
This week ITEP released its deep dive into all that is wrong with the way Delaware taxes corporations. Two fun tidbits from the report:

1)    Delaware actually had more companies incorporated than state residents in 2014.

2)    Setting up a company in Delaware requires less information than signing up for a library card.

There’s lots more to read about Delaware, including what states and Congress can do to improve tax fairness and transparency, in Delaware: An Onshore Tax Haven.

State News

Jaw-Dropping, Fireworks Worthy, Big News in Alaska
Alaska is the only state to ever repeal a personal income tax and has been without one for 35 years.  But this week, Gov. Bill Walker proposed a plan to remedy the state’s massive revenue shortfall by, among other things, instituting an income tax equal to 6 percent of the amount that Alaskans pay in federal income taxes. Read commentary from ITEP’s Carl Davis on this big news.

Connecticut Lawmakers Cave to Threats from General Electric Yet Again
This week, the governor and legislature once again put GE’s interests over the health and well-being of the state’s residents. ITEP’s State Tax Policy Director Meg Wiehe tells about the budget deal reached in Hartford this week.

Hope in Louisiana? 
ITEP’s Meg Wiehe is cautiously optimistic that tax reform in 2016 is possible in Louisiana thanks to a new governor and who he appointed as his commissioner of administration. Read about this New Hope here (sneaky Star Wars reference, you’re welcome).

Shareable Tax Analysis:

Delaware and tax 

ICYMI: ‘Tis the season for crossing things off lists. Giving back to your favorite tax policy think tanks is something that you may not have crossed off that list yet, but never fear! The link for giving is here!

Questions, holiday greetings?  Email Kelly Davis at: kelly@itep.org


Tax Justice Digest: Extenders -- Facebook -- Grover -- International Tax Avoidance


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Read the Tax Justice Digest for recent reports, posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.


Call to Action: The Time is Now
We feel like a broken record, but the tax news on the federal level is (still) all about tax extenders - a package of legislation mostly made up of tax breaks for businesses that have actually already expired. Congress shouldn’t resurrect these misguided and costly giveaways. Instead they should opt for supporting another kind of extender – the extensions to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. Working families in every state benefit from these credits and you can find out just how many by clicking on our interactive map.

You can use this link to contact your representatives
 and tell them to support working family tax credits.

Memo to Mark Zuckerberg: Charity Begins At Home
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made waves this week with his announcement that he will eventually give away virtually all of his wealth for charitable purposes. But for those familiar with the tax avoidance tactics practiced by Facebook, it should come as no surprise that Zuckerberg’s approach to philanthropy is set up to avoid tax liability. Read CTJ’s full take on the issue.

The International Community Gets It Right. Will We?
Last month, leaders of the 20 largest economies in the world approved an action plan developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that, could help ensure that multinational corporations pay their fair share in taxes. Oddly enough not all U.S. lawmakers think making corporations pay their fair share is a good thing.  Here are CTJ’s thoughts on the two congressional hearings that took place this week which basically gave some lawmakers an opportunity to showboat for corporate special interests.

Grover and the Gas Tax
ITEP’s transportation funding expert Carl Davis has written a clever piece about the connection (or lack of one) between the notorious “no new taxes pledge” and congressional aversion to hiking the gas tax.

State News:
Illinois Needs a Budget
Here it is December and the home state of the Bears, Cubs, Red Birds, Salukis (we could go on) still doesn’t have a budget. According to ITEP’s Sebastian Johnson, the state’s political leaders lack the urgency to make it happen.

State Rundown: Who Needs a Budget
In this week’s rundown read all about how Pennsylvania doesn’t have a budget and how likely it is that tax cuts will be debated in Mississippi and Florida in the new year.

Shareable Tax Analysis:



ICYMI:   We talk a lot about tax reform, but what does tax reform actually look like? Check out CTJ’s three guiding principles for tax reform.   

Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving! Thanks for reading. Questions, suggestions, just want to say hi? Email your mostly fearless Tax Justice Digest compiler anytime at kelly@itep.org


For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.

 

 


Tax Justice Digest: Presidential Crazy Talk - Corporate Tax Watch - Many Secrets


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Read the Tax Justice Digest for recent reports, posts, and analyses from Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. For frequent updates find us on Twitter (CTJ/ITEP), Facebook (CTJ/ITEP), and at the Tax Justice blog.

Tax Cut Crazy Talk
When presidential candidates release tax reform proposals that promise to drastically slash taxes across the board and also generate strong economic growth, the only appropriate response is a heavy sigh and a plea to stop. Read our round up of the presidential candidates and their crazy talk.

Speaking of Crazy Talk: Rubio’s Tax Plan
CTJ took a closer look at Marco Rubio’s tax proposal and found that the senator’s plan would give the biggest tax cut to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans and balloon the deficit by $11.8 trillion over a decade. Read the full analysis here.

Corporate Tax Watch: Apple and Pfizer
This has been a busy week for corporate tax monitoring. CTJ reports that Apple now holds $186.9 billion in offshore cash and moved a record $50 billion offshore just last year. The company has avoided $56.9 billion in federal income taxes thanks to these offshore holdings- that’s a lot of iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

CTJ staff is also keeping an eye on Pfizer because the company seems to be having an identity crisis. The company now wants to be Irish to avoid paying U.S. taxes (they tried to become a British company, but that didn’t work out). Read about Pfizer’s issues here.

The United States is a Top Secrecy Jurisdiction
Sometimes, ranking near No. 1 is not a badge of pride. The United States is the third biggest offender - just after Switzerland and Hong Kong - on the Tax Justice Network's 2015 Financial Secrecy Index when it comes to facilitating financial secrecy and tax evasion. Read about this grim ranking here.

State News:
State Rundown: Spooky Appointments, Phantom Tax Increases
Read all about who New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appointed as state treasurer, the outcome of elections in Louisiana, a “rain tax” in Maryland, and fixing unintended consequences in Ohio. Yes, this is a litany of teasers, but we think this edition of the rundown is that good and deserves a full read.

Shareable Tax Analysis:

ICYMI:   Now that the nights are starting earlier, why not get a jump on some good bedtime reading? Check out ITEP’s Guide to Fair State and Local Taxes. It’s riveting. We promise. You’ll learn all about state tax structures and what states get right and wrong when it comes to raising revenue.


This week’s Tax Justice Digest was full of compelling reads. Thanks for sticking with us until the end. Suggestions? Email: kelly@itep.org

Thank you for visiting Tax Justice Blog. CTJ and ITEP staff will soon retire this domain. But ITEP staff are still blogging! You can find the same level of insight and analysis and select Tax Justice Blog archives at our new blog, http://www.justtaxesblog.org/

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