The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
Et tu, Utah? GOP leaders want to increase the state’s gasoline tax. The state faces an $11 billion budget gap for transportation projects slated through 2040. Its House GOP caucus has endorsed an increase of as much as 10 cents a gallon in the state’s gasoline tax. They’re even willing to tie the tax to inflation. Republican Senate President Wayne Niederhauser admitted, “I feel like we just need to buck up and increase the gasoline tax.” Under his proposal, counties would also be allowed to boost their sales tax by a quarter of a percent to fund local road projects. The plan would also raise registration fees on electric or alternative-fuel vehicles since those vehicles’ owners pay little or no gasoline tax.
Connecticut’s poorest make a bigger contribution to state and local taxes than top earners. A new report from the Connecticut’s Department of Revenue Services shows that 725,202 households that earn up to $48,000 a year paid $3.5 billion in state and local taxes. As for the 4,003 households with incomes over $2 million? They paid $1.9 billion. DRS commissioner Kevin Sullivan noted that the data highlight the state's reliance on income taxes and the regressive nature of Connecticut’s sales tax.
US households are reporting a declining share of income from wages and salaries. The latest TPC Tax Fact by Bob Williams and Lydia Austin, shows that the composition of reported income on federal tax returns has changed a lot since 1952. While wages and salaries remain by far the biggest source of reported income, their share dropped from 80 percent in 1952 to 71 percent by 2012. Investment income rose steadily from the 1950s through the mid-1980s but has fallen somewhat since in part due to low interest rates. Business income sagged from the ‘50s to the mid-‘80s but has rebounded since, probably because so many business owners report income on their 1040s.
The “Saving American Workers Act” won’t save tax dollars. The House is expected to pass the bill this week in its ongoing effort to dismantle Obamacare. Under the Affordable Care Act, employers must insure their full-time employees, defined as working 30 hours per week. The House bill would redefine “full-time” to mean 40 hours per week. The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that the bill would increase budget deficits by $18 billion between 2015 and 2020 and by $53 billion between 2015 and 2025. They also estimate that about 1 million fewer people would receive employer-sponsored health insurance, while between 500,000 and 1 million more would end up on Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The White House threatens to veto the measure.
Next week on the Hill… New House Ways & Means Chair Paul Ryan starts his tenure with a hearing next Tuesday on the state of the US economy and policies that could promote job creation and economic growth. Worth remembering: Income tax changes have little impact on economic growth.
Meanwhile, down under: Drop a carbon tax, see a boost in the power sector’s carbon emissions. Australia’s carbon tax was repealed last July, and since then its main electricity grid’s emissions intensity has grown 11 percent. Emissions have risen by 3.9 million tons since June. Australia’s main climate change policy since the carbon tax repeal relies on an AU$2.55 billion fund to pay polluters to reduce emissions. If the power sector decides to reduce its now growing emissions, the fund may dwindle quickly.
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