The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
Everything is bigger in Texas, except tax relief for its low-income residents. Tax cuts are a sure bet in the Lone Star state this year, but it’s hard to provide tax relief to everybody without a state income tax. TPC’s Richard Auxier explains that Texas’ reliance on sales and property taxes makes its taxation especially regressive. He shows how the two competing tax cut bills in the Texas legislature would direct more of state's limited funds to the rich than to the poor.
Meanwhile, Alabama continues to debate tax increases. GOP Governor Robert Bentley wants $541 million in tax increases, but House Republicans have proposed raising taxes by just $150 million. Democratic lawmakers sponsor the two biggest tax increases endorsed in the Republicans' plan: hikes in taxes on cigarettes and businesses. The Senate has a plan to raise money too, but without new taxes. It’s betting on a lottery and casinos.
Michigan’s tax increase plan traveled a rocky road to a dead end. It’s back to the drawing board for GOP Governor Rick Snyder and the legislature. Their compromise plan to raise funds for road repairs—consisting of 10 bills that first required passage of complicated ballot measure Proposal 1—failed on Tuesday. The proposal would have boosted the 6 percent state sales tax to 7 percent, eliminated the tax from motor fuel sales, and raised other fuel taxes. It would have raised $1.3 billion in additional road funding.
Senate Finance tax reform working groups are wrapping up their work. Earlier this year, panel chair Orrin Hatch and ranking Democrat Ron Wyden assigned their colleagues to working groups to develop tax reform proposals. They are due to complete their assignments in just a couple of weeks and are beginning to report their conclusions to Hatch and Wyden. But it is unclear whether the panel will ever make the recommendations public.
The IRS has a new cybercrime investigation unit. It will focus on the fraudulent use of stolen data to claim tax refunds. The recent run of health insurance and bank data breaches have made the IRS especially worried about tax refund fraud.
And India moves closer to tax reform. Reuters reports that the largest democracy’s lower house of parliament passed a bill to replace an assortment of federal and state taxes with a single nationwide sales tax. But there is strong opposition in the upper house. The bill also needs approval from more than half of India's 29 states.
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