We retired Tax Justice Blog in April 2017. For new content on issues related to tax justice, go to www.justtaxesblog.org
Slow but steady progress toward enforcing state sales taxes on online purchases continues. Amazon.com has agreed to begin collecting sales taxes in Pennsylvania, and the state’s Revenue Department plans to start auditing and penalizing other online retailers with a physical presence in the state that fail to collect the tax.
Promises from Iowa lawmakers to flatten and lower income tax rates and roll back business property taxes are worrisome. But when House Republicans and the governor recently sketched out their ideas for pursuing this agenda, they actually (and deliberately) “offered no specifics on any of their tax relief and reform commitments.” The state requires a balanced budget, so these tax cuts will need to be paid for and the choices available are limited: cut services or increase other taxes
While state lawmakers love to offer tax breaks in the name of job creation, Missouri might be learning to resist the urge. Governor Jay Nixon has asked his Tax Credit Review Commission, which he created in 2010 to provide an independent review of the state’s many tax credits, to update its 2010 report, which was harshly critical of many Missouri tax credits. While the original report’s advice was never followed because the state legislature was unable to agree on paring back these tax breaks, House lawmakers are now signaling their interest in critically reviewing the tax breaks the state currently provides in the name of job creation – welcome news since there is remarkably little evidence (PDF) that state tax breaks are an effective job-creation strategy.
Last weekend, Louisiana shoppers took advantage of the Second Amendment sales tax holiday, which allows the purchase of guns and ammunition tax free. Read why sales tax holidays are silly (PDF) and a political racket.