State Net Capitol Journal – May 12, 2014; Amazon Sales Suffer From Sales Taxes

Budget & Taxes AMAZON SALES SUFFER FROM STATE TAXES: Last year Amazon.com began collecting sales taxes on purchases by Tennessee residents because the Internet retailer operates distribution facilities in the state, including warehouses in Chattanooga and Charleston. The "Amazon tax"...

State Net Capitol Journal – May 19, 2014; States Souring On Property Taxes

Budget & Taxes STATES SOURING ON PROPERTY TAXES: Not for the first time, Pennsylvania Sen. David Argall (R) is backing a bill that would replace property taxes levied by school districts with higher state income and sales taxes. But this year, more than half of the state's senators are co...

State Net Capitol Journal – June 2, 2014; Pennsylvania Gambling Played Out?

Budget & Taxes PA GAMBLING PLAYED OUT? Born only eight years ago, Pennsylvania's gambling industry may already have reached maturity. The state legalized gambling in 2004. Its first two casinos opened in 2006. Four more opened the following year. Another two opened two years after that. And...

State Net Capitol Journal – June 9, 2014; Florida Hurricane Bonds On Rise

Budget & Taxes FL HURRICANE BONDS ON RISE: Six years ago, Florida's government-run property insurer, Citizens Property Insurance Corp., paid Warren Buffett's Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. $224 million in exchange for a guarantee that the company would buy bonds issued by...

State Net Capitol Journal – June 16, 2014; Battle Royal Over Hollywood Tax Breaks In States

Budget & Taxes SNCJ SPOTLIGHT: The bulk of the filming for the 2011 Hollywood blockbuster "Battle: Los Angeles" wasn't actually done in Los Angeles. It took place in Baton Rouge and Shreveport, Louisiana. And only six days of shooting for the upcoming "San Andreas," about...

State Net Capitol Journal – June 23, 2014; Federal Highway Trust Fund Running On Fumes

Budget & Taxes FEDERAL HIGHWAY TRUST FUND RUNNING ON FUMES: For quite some time, state and local transportation officials have been anxiously watching the federal highway trust fund shrink and waiting for Congress to do something about it. "We've seen it coming like a slow-motion train...

State Net Capitol Journal – July 7, 2014; Early Internet Gambling Revenues Disappointing

Budget & Taxes EARLY INTERNET GAMBLING REVENUES DISAPPOINTING: Last year Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey became the first states in the nation to legalize Internet gambling. But so far, their online gambling revenues have been falling far short of projections. New Jersey officials initially...

State Net Capitol Journal – July 14, 2014; Federal Highway Funding Bottleneck Forces States To Hit Brakes On Road Projects

Budget & Taxes FEDERAL HIGHWAY FUNDING BOTTLENECK FORCES STATES TO HIT BRAKES ON ROAD PROJECTS: With the specter of an empty federal Highway Trust Fund looming, states — which count on that fund for 15 to nearly 60 percent of their transportation budgets (see Bird's eye view) —...

State Net Capitol Journal – July 21, 2014; Philadelphia Cigarette Tax In Limbo

Budget & Taxes PHILADELPHIA CIGARETTE TAX IN LIMBO: The cash-strapped school district and city of Philadelphia have been pushing for a bill imposing a $2 surcharge on every pack of cigarettes sold in the city to provide enough funding to avert 1,300 layoffs and the ballooning of class sizes to...

State Net Capitol Journal – August 4, 2014; States Backing IRA-Style Plans For Workers Without Retirement Accounts

Budget & Taxes STATES BACKING IRA-STYLE PLANS FOR WORKERS WITHOUT RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS: Inspired by his Aunt Francisca — who spent much of her 74-plus years cleaning houses for people whose retirements were well-provided for but who had only Social Security to count on herself — California...

State Net Capitol Journal – August 11, 2014; Pennsylvania House Cancels Vote On Cigarette Tax

Budget & Taxes PA HOUSE CANCELS VOTE ON CIGARETTE TAX: The prospects for a cigarette tax bill providing emergency funding for Philadelphia schools were thrown into limbo last month when Republicans who control the state's Senate made some last minute changes to the measure (see PHILADELPHIA...

State Net Capitol Journal – August 18, 2014; Federal High-Speed Rail Investment Generating Lackluster Returns

Budget & Taxes FEDERAL HIGH-SPEED RAIL INVESTMENT GENERATING LACKLUSTER RETURNS: In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama spoke of a future in which sleek bullet trains whisk passengers all about the country at speeds of over 200 m.p.h. "Within 25 years, our goal...

State Net Capitol Journal – September 1, 2014; States Easing Way For Crowdfunding

Budget & Taxes Budget & Taxes STATES EASING WAY FOR CROWDFUNDING: Over the past three years, a dozen states have enacted laws or regulations allowing startups to raise investment capital through crowdfunding without having to go through all the regulatory hoops companies with shareholders...

State Net Capitol Journal – September 8, 2014; Performance-Based Budgeting Catching On Again In States

Budget & Taxes PERFORMANCE-BASED BUDGETING CATCHING ON AGAIN IN STATES: "Performance-based budgeting," which started to catch on among state governments in the 1990s but fell out of favor during the Great Recession, is reportedly making a comeback. And not everyone is happy about that...

State Net Capitol Journal – September 22, 2014; States Keeping Eye On Billionaires

Budget & Taxes STATES KEEPING EYE ON BILLIONAIRES: When the wealthiest Americans sell large quantities of stock or suffer big losses, it can have a significant impact on the finances of the states where they reside, especially if those states are small and collect taxes on income or capital gains...

State Net Capitol Journal – September 29, 2014; States Taxing Tourists

Budget & Taxes STATES TAXING TOURISTS: State and local governments across the country are increasingly looking at charging seasonal residents higher property taxes than year-round residents for the privilege of enjoying their locales' scenic beauty and mild winter weather. "Hit the...

State Net Capitol Journal – October 6, 2014; Yoga Community Takes Exception To DC'S 'Yoga Tax'

Budget & Taxes YOGA COMMUNITY TAKES EXCEPTION TO DC'S 'YOGA TAX': A tax on health club businesses, dubbed the "yoga tax," went into effect in the District of Columbia last week. The funny thing about the new tax is that the yoga community doesn't think it should apply...

State Net Capitol Journal – October 13, 2014; Switch To 401k-Style Retirement Plan Could Cost NJ Billions

Budget & Taxes SWITCH TO 401K-STYLE RETIREMENT PLAN COULD COST NJ BILLIONS: States across the country have been shifting new public employees from defined-benefit pension plans to 401k-style plans in an effort to get a grip on their ballooning public pension costs. But New Jersey's switch...

State Net Capitol Journal – October 20, 2014; Gas Tax 'On the Table' In NJ

Budget & Taxes GAS TAX 'ON THE TABLE' IN NJ: Since pledging in 2011 to use more cash and less debt to pay for his state's transportation needs, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has put only $66 million of the $1.2 billion he pledged to put into the state's transportation fund...

State Net Capitol Journal – November 3, 2014; Massachusetts Casino Study At Odds With Experience Of Other States

MA CASINO STUDY AT ODDS WITH EXPERIENCE OF OTHER STATES: Supporters of a November ballot measure in Massachusetts (Question 3) aimed at repealing the 2011 law authorizing as many as three resort casinos and a slots parlor in the state issued a press release last month predicting the law would reduce...

State Net Capitol Journal – November 10, 2014; North Carolina Department of Transportation Looking For Ways To Boost Earnings

NC DOT LOOKING FOR WAYS TO BOOST EARNINGS: North Carolina's Department of Transportation wants to start operating more like a business. It's already planning to sell advertising and naming rights for DOT ferry boats and highway-helper trucks to help defray its operating costs. And the state's...

State Net Capitol Journal – November 17, 2014; High Court Considers Double Taxation Issue

Budget & Taxes HIGH COURT CONSIDERS DOUBLE TAXATION ISSUE: The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments last week in a case involving a Maryland couple who sued that state over how it taxed the income they earned outside the state. The couple alleges Maryland's practice of offering only a partial...

State Net Capitol Journal – November 24, 2014; No Marketplace Fairness Act This Year

Budget & Taxes NO MARKETPLACE FAIRNESS ACT THIS YEAR: States hoping for a piece of the estimated $23 billion-plus a year in uncollected state sales taxes on Internet purchases — at least in the form of the federal Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) — probably won't get their wish this...

State Net Capitol Journal – December 8, 2014; Necessity Of Georgia’s Income Tax Cap

Budget & Taxes NECESSITY OF GA'S INCOME TAX CAP: Last month Georgia became the first state in the nation to make it unconstitutional to raise its income tax, when voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment A, capping the state's top rate at its current 6 percent. Georgia's fiscal...

State Net Capitol Journal – December 15, 2014; Inventory Tax Costing Louisiana Millions

Budget & Taxes INVENTORY TAX COSTING LA MILLIONS: Every year Louisiana businesses pay hundreds of millions of dollars in inventory taxes to parish governments. The state then issues them a full refund. The state's inventory tax refund program, approved by the Legislature more than two decades...