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Author: Rueben, Kim

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State Economic Monitor: July 2014 (Series/State Economic Monitor)
Norton FrancisKim RuebenRichard C. Auxier

The latest edition of the Tax Policy Center's State and Local Finance Initiative's State Economic Monitor reports that states are still struggling to emerge from the lingering recession. The good news is that nearly all states experienced economic growth in 2013, and only one state has an unemployment rate above 8 percent. But few states have fully recovered from the 2007 downturn, and new problems are arising. State tax revenues were down in the first quarter, driven by a significant decline in income tax revenue, and a non-government forecast estimates that the revenue drop may become even more severe. The Monitor also reviews the health of other aspects of state economies such as total employment, real earnings, and housing. This edition’s special supplement highlights a new Urban Institute report on public pension plans.

Published: 07/09/14
Availability:   PDF


Who Benefits from Tax-Exempt Bonds?: An Application of the Theory of Tax Incidence (Research Report)
Harvey GalperJoseph RosenbergKim RuebenEric Toder

This paper applies tax incidence theory to estimate the distributional effects of the exemption from federal income tax of interest on state and local bonds and the President's proposal to limit the benefit of the exemption to the 28 percent rate. When one accounts for the effects of changes in rates of return, the exemption still primarily benefits higher-income individuals, though less so than under the traditional approach that assigns all the benefit to holders of tax-exempt bonds. How states and localities respond to lower borrowing costs can either shift benefits to low-income households or increase the net benefit to high income households.

Published: 09/27/13
Availability:   PDF


Finding Just the Right Tax Rate (Commentary)
Kim Rueben

In a contribution to the New York Times' Room for Debate, Kim Rueben argues if the tax rate for marijuana is too high, people will continue to buy weed from the guy on the street. However, setting the tax rate too low leaves revenue on the table and use might boom.

Published: 05/23/13
Availability: HTML


Analysis of Specific Tax Provisions in President Obama's FY2014 Budget  (Research Report)
Benjamin H. HarrisJim NunnsKim RuebenEric ToderRoberton Williams

This document reviews several notable tax proposals in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget. These include a 28 percent limit on certain tax expenditures, a cap on tax preferences for retirement savers with high balances, a minimum tax ("Buffett Rule") on high-income taxpayers, alternative incentives for infrastructure investment, and a new measure of inflation ("chained CPI") for indexing tax parameters.

Published: 05/08/13
Availability:   PDF


What Federal Tax Reform Means for State and Local Tax and Fiscal Policies (Testimony)
Kim Rueben

Kim Rueben's testimony before the Senate Finance Committee on federal tax reform and what it means for the tax and fiscal policies of states.

Published: 04/25/12
Availability:   PDF


Gas Taxes, Gas Prices, and Fuel Economy (Article/Tax Facts)
Kim RuebenYuri Shadunsky

Gas prices have increased substantially since the beginning of this year, continuing their upward trend since 1990. American drivers are pushing the federal and state governments to implement policies to lower gas prices. But gasoline taxes have not contributed to the increase in gas prices. Rather than bringing pump prices down, lowering gasoline taxes or having gas tax holidays will mostly shift gasoline purchases across state lines or encourage people to fuel up during the gas tax holidays. Such proposals will siphon away revenues from already cash-strapped states and do little to help consumers and the economy.

Published: 04/24/12
Availability:   PDF


Gasoline Taxes and Rising Fuel Prices  (Research Report)
Kim RuebenYuri Shadunsky

Gas prices have increased substantially since the beginning of this year, continuing their upward trend since 1990. American drivers are pushing the federal and state governments to implement policies to lower gas prices. But gasoline taxes have not contributed to the increase in gas prices. Rather than bringing pump prices down, lowering gasoline taxes or having gas tax holidays will mostly shift gasoline purchases across state lines or encourage people to fuel up during the gas tax holidays. Such proposals will siphon away revenues from already cash-strapped states and do little to help consumers and the economy.

Published: 04/24/12
Availability:   PDF


California's Initiative Turns 100: What's the Single Best Thing We Can Do to Improve the Initiative Process? Make it harder. (Commentary)
Kim Rueben

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of California's initiative process. In 1911, California famously adopted the direct initiative process and ballot box decision-making has become almost as synonymous with the Golden State as beaches, hi-tech innovation, and Hollywood. While 75% of voters in California still see direct initiatives as a good thing, a similar percentage thinks it could use some tweaking. In honor of the anniversary, Zócalo Public Square garnered commentary on the initiative process.

Published: 10/12/11
Availability: HTML


Tax Proposals in the 2012 Budget  (Research Report)
Benjamin H. HarrisElaine MaagDonald MarronJim NunnsJoseph RosenbergKim RuebenEric ToderRoberton Williams

President Obama's 2012 Budget contains a number of tax provisions that would cut taxes for low- and middle-income households and raise taxes on wealthier taxpayers. This resource guide describes the tax proposals, offers more detailed commentary on key provisions, and links to tables showing the distributional effects of the overall proposal and various elements of the plan.

Published: 03/28/11
Availability: HTML | PDF


State Revenue Responses to Fiscal Shortfalls (Article/Tax Facts)
Kim RuebenRitadhi Chakravarti

The current economic downturn has resulted in a sharp decline in state tax revenues. Forty-six states faced budget shortfalls when passing their fiscal year (FY) 2011 budgets, and 17 states reported shortfalls of more than 20 percent. According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, in tandem with budget cuts, 40 states enacted legislation to raise tax revenues in some form between fiscal years 2009 and 2011.

Published: 12/10/10
Availability: HTML | PDF

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