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This week we’ve got updates on tax and budget news in Oregon, Louisiana, Nebraska, Alabama and California. Be sure to check out the What We’re Reading section for links about the latest on Kansas, an editorial from the Wall Street Journal and a new report from The Brookings Institution. Thanks for reading the Rundown!
— Meg Wiehe, ITEP State Policy Director, @megwiehe
- With rising costs currently projected to outpace new revenue, Oregon faces the challenge of cutting $1.35 billion in services from the 2017-2019 budget or raising additional revenue. Taxpayers will have a significant say on this matter in November as they decide the fate of ballot Measure 97 (formerly IP 28), a proposed increase to the corporate minimum tax on large businesses.
- Although Louisiana lawmakers held three sessions in 2016 to resolve several budget deficits, their solutions will provide only momentary relief as the state is projected to face a $1.5 billion deficit in 2018 when many of the temporary taxes passed this year expire.
- The new fiscal year in Nebraska is off to a sputtering start, with revenues already running 7.6 percent behind the forecast, contributing to rumblings about a special session this fall to balance the books before legislators start debating the next two-year budget in January. State agencies are already being told to identify potential 8-percent cuts for that upcoming budget cycle. Unsurprisingly, none of this has deterred the state Chamber of Commerce from calling for further tax cuts that would only make these matters worse.
- Alabama‘s legislature convened this week to begin its special session on the state’s $85 million Medicaid funding gap, the governor’s proposal to create a state lottery system to fill that gap, distribution of settlement money from the BP oil spill, and possibly raising the state’s outdated gas tax. Keep an eye on the Tax Justice Blog for more on these developments later in the week.
- A proposed bill to exempt Olympic medal bonuses from the income tax went nowhere in California this week, but legislation to temporarily exempt diapers from the sales tax was approved by the legislature and awaits the Governor’s approval.
What We’re Reading…
- Kansas Center for Economic Growth’s Duane Goossen spells out the unavoidable pressure point Kansas has been marching toward—whether to cut services even deeper or raise revenue.
- The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board comes out against what it creatively calls “regressive taxation”–you know, income transfers “from the private economy to the privileged government class.”
- The Brookings Institution released a report outlining the challenges states face when relying too heavily on oil, natural gas, and coal taxes.
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