“We can never know about the days to come.” The economy is strong, and 47 percent of pro-Republican ads have been about economic issues like taxes and jobs. GOP candidates and their backers bought more than 570,000 television spots that talked about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Democrats, by contrast, targeted health care with most of their ads. President Trump preferred to focus on illegal immigration in his closing argument ahead of the mid-term elections. Said Trump, “"They all say 'speak about the economy, speak about the economy… Sometimes it's not as exciting to talk about the economy."
“But we think about them anyway.” Meanwhile, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow asserts that President Trump will veto any Democratic effort to raise taxes, should the GOP lose control of the House. Thing is: Few Democrats have expressed any interest in doing that. Kudlow added he’d oppose any tax increases as part of a bipartisan deal to reduce the national debt. Few Democrats are talking about that either.
“And I wonder if I’m really with you now.” There’s a ballot measure in Montana, advanced by hospitals and health advocacy groups, to raise tobacco taxes to continue the state’s expanded Medicaid program beyond 2019. Ballot initiative I-185 would add a $2 per pack tax on cigarettes, and a tax on other tobacco products including a new tax on e-cigarettes. Cigarette makers are furiously opposing the tax and the Medicaid extension, especially since the health program includes a benefit to help people quit smoking.
“Or just chasin’ after some finer day.” Will San Francisco Bay voters decide to tax big corporations to help pay for housing and transportation—both of which are under strain because of rapid job growth? There are two sides to consider: Maybe it’s the best available revenue source. Or maybe it’s a misguided effort.
“I tell you how easy it feels.” In Washington and Oregon, will voters say “yes” to what backers claim is an effort to preserve affordable groceries? What if saying “yes” means saying “no” to soda taxes? Taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages won big two years ago. These two voter initiatives, heavily funded by the soft drink industry, would ban taxes on sugary drinks. Have tastes changed?
“I rehearsed those words…” The Wall Street Journal offers (paywall) a handy guide to everything you need to know about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act before the end of 2018.
“I'm no prophet and I don't know nature's ways.” In case you missed them last week, TPC’s TaxVox blog has some new posts on: making sure gig workers pay the right amount of tax; the ups and downs of California’s gas tax; and what the latest economic numbers tell us about the TCJA.
“These are the good old days?” The first edition of the Urban Institute’s State Tax and Economic Review by TPC’s Lucy Dadayan finds that total state tax revenue from all sources grew strongly in the final quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018. The largest increases were in individual income tax revenues. State government tax revenue grew mostly in response to income shifting due to the TCJA and other one-time factors. A handful of states facing falling revenues at the end of fiscal year 2017 enacted significant tax increases,projected to bring in $8.8 billion additional revenue in fiscal year 2018.
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Posts and comments are solely the opinion of the author and not that of the Tax Policy Center, Urban Institute, or Brookings Institution.
- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.