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This week we are bringing you news of proposed new (or increased) taxes in Missouri, Illinois, Louisiana, California and Oregon and the spread of ‘dark store’ tax avoidance practices across the states.  Thanks for reading the Rundown!

— Meg Wiehe, ITEP State Policy Director, @megwiehe

  • Missouri voters will officially be considering two proposals to increase state tobacco taxes, either by 60 cents per pack over four years or 6 cents over six years. A helpful breakdown of the two proposals and how revenues would be distributed is available here.
  • In Illinois, Cook County Board President is considering adopting a tax on sugary beverages to close a $174 million budget gap.
  • Members of the Governor’s Task Force for Transportation Infrastructure Investment are considering a gas tax increase as a viable way to meet Louisiana‘s infrastructure needs. The last time the state raised its gas tax was in 1984.
  • Cities across California may start taxing online video streaming services, following the lead of Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Chicago.
  • Among the parties weighing in on Oregon‘s gross receipts tax on large businesses (Measure 97) are former Oregon governors and the unlikely tax policy adviser Kansas governor Sam Brownback.
  • The “dark store” tactic – by which big-box retailers like Lowe’s are challenging their property tax valuations and undermining funding streams for schools and other local services – is spreading across the country and now hitting Alabama in a big way. Meanwhile, new Northern Michigan University-produced documentary “Boxed In” chronicles that state’s fight over the issue.

What We’re Reading…  

  • A new report from the Rockefeller Institute of Government warns of “slow and highly uncertain” revenue growth for states in FY 2017, which could foreshadow budget cuts ahead.
  • Pew Charitable Trusts reports that record money is being spent on state ballot campaigns across the nation in the leadup to November’s election.
  • The Center for American Progress released a tax simplification plan that will “work for everyone.”
  • California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office has released a report examining the impacts of Proposition 13—the landmark property tax limitations enacted back in 1978.
  • A new report from the Council of Economic advisors examining progress made on income inequality under President Obama includes the impact of tax policy changes such as an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and a rollback of the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthiest households.

If you like what you are seeing in the Rundown (or even if you don’t) please send any feedback or tips for future posts to Meg Wiehe at meg@itep.org. Click here to sign up to receive the Rundown via email.