Budget & Taxes

Seattle to Repeal Recently Approved ‘Head Tax’ | 06-15-2018

Last month Seattle, Washington’s City Council unanimously approved a tax on the city’s largest employers to help address its homelessness problem. The Seattle area has the third-largest homeless population in the country, and the city spent...

New Jersey Moves Ahead With Sports Betting | 06-15-2018

New Jersey Gov. Philip Murphy (D) signed a bill last Monday ( AB 4111 ) providing for the regulation and taxation of sports betting in the state. The legislation brought an end to a years-long battle to help the state’s struggling casinos that led...

Budgets in Brief - June 18 2018 | 06-15-2018

MANY STATES SHORT ON UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FUNDS: Twenty-eight states don’t have enough money in their unemployment insurance trust funds to get through the next economic downturn, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Labor . Eleven...

UT Sales Tax Revenue Eroding | 06-08-2018

Over the past 45 years, taxable sales as a proportion of consumer services have declined more in Utah than in nearly any other state, according to a new report from the Utah Foundation. The state actually had the same amount of per-capita sales tax revenue...

IL Gov Achieves Budget Milestone | 06-08-2018

For the first time since taking office three years ago, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) approved a full state budget. Joined at a signing ceremony by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, the governor said the $38.5 billion spending plan was the result...

Budgets in Brief - June 11 2018 | 06-08-2018

LA BOOST TAX BREAK FOR WORKING POOR: LOUISIANA lawmakers approved legislation expanding a tax break for the state’s working poor, after members of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus withheld support for a renewal of the state tax until...

IRS Warns States Against Dodging SALT Deduction | 06-01-2018

After Congress imposed a $10,000 limit on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction with the federal tax overhaul it passed last year, high-tax states like California and New York began strategizing ways for their taxpaying residents to get around the...

CA Pot Sales Lagging Predictions | 06-01-2018

California is on pace to take in $1.9 billion in revenue from medical and recreational marijuana sales in 2018, according to a recent projection from the cannabis industry analytics firm New Frontier Data. While that sum is substantial, it’s only...

Budgets in Brief - June 4 2018 | 06-01-2018

HI ECONOMY HEATING UP: HAWAII’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism revised its projection for visitor spending this year up to 8.6 percent, nearly double its previous estimate of 4.5 percent. The big increase is due to record...

Supreme Court Okays Sports Betting | 05-18-2018

In a landmark decision last week, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a quarter-century-old law barring states from legalizing wagering on professional and amateur sports. New Jersey argued that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA...

Battle Over Tax Hikes in OK | 05-18-2018

In March, as an uprising over teacher pay and classroom funding was spreading across the country, the Oklahoma Legislature passed and Gov. Mary Fallin (R) signed a package of tax hikes on cigarettes, energy production and motor fuel ( HB 1010 b ) to help...

Budgets in Brief - May 21 2018 | 05-18-2018

CA GOV PROPOSES LAST STATE BUDGET: CALIFORNIA Gov. Jerry Brown (D) unveiled the final budget of his tenure, a plan calling for $199.3 billion in total spending and projecting an $8.8 billion surplus, $7.6 billion of which would be deposited into two...

State Pot Revenues Surging But Still Relatively Insignificant | 05-11-2018

Between 2014 and 2017, tax revenues from the sale of marijuana shot up about 400 percent in Washington. In Colorado they surged about 900 percent. But the $314 million and $223 million in marijuana tax revenues, respectively, in the two states that were...

States See Year-End Tax Revenue Bump | 05-11-2018

State and local tax collections increased by 9.4 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively, in the final quarter of 2017, roughly three times the average quarterly growth rate for the last year, according to a report by the Rockefeller Institute of Government...

Budgets in Brief - May 14 2018 | 05-11-2018

CA ECONOMY NOW WORLD’S 5TH LARGEST CALIFORNIA’s economy has surpassed that of the United Kingdom to become the world’s fifth-largest, according to data released this month by the U.S. Department of Commerce. California’s 2017...

Drug Industry Pushing Back on Opioid Taxes | 05-04-2018

With America’s deadly opioid epidemic continuing to spread , state lawmakers are trying out a new strategy to combat it: taxing the manufacturers and distributors of the drugs, which include frequently prescribed painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin...

Cities’ Love Affair With Sports Stadiums Over | 05-04-2018

In the two decades from 1991 to 2010, over 100 new stadiums opened across the country. Most of them were financed at least in part with public money. The boom was fueled by demand from sports teams and their fans for a more elevated spectator experience...

Budgets in Brief - May 7 2018 | 05-04-2018

NJ SUPREME COURT BLOCKS STATE FUNDING FOR CHURCHES The NEW JERSEY Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the state Constitution expressly prohibits the use of public money for the benefit of churches, invalidating Morris County’s practice of giving...

Supreme Court Divided on Internet Sales Taxes | 04-20-2018

Last week the Supreme Court began deliberating South Dakota v. Wayfair , a closely watched case concerning whether states should be allowed to tax sales to in-state customers by out-of-state businesses, such as internet retailers. The case is a...

KY Broadband Internet Project Threatening State’s Economy | 04-20-2018

In 2015 Kentucky began a public-private project to extend high-speed internet across the state, the first such effort in the nation. But that project, Kentucky Wired, which was initially projected to be completed by late 2018, has run into delays due...

Budgets in Brief - April 23 2018 | 04-20-2018

TN HOUSE PUNISHES MEMPHIS FOR REMOVING CONFEDERATE STATUES: The TENNESSEE House voted last week to strip $250,000 earmarked for the planning of bicentennial celebrations in Memphis next year from the state’s fiscal 2018-19 budget. That action...

States Look to Reinsurance Pools to Curb Rising Healthcare Costs: | 04-13-2018

Not long ago Minnesota’s health insurance exchange, MNsure, was in critical condition. Premiums were skyrocketing and health insurance companies were fleeing the market. But last year the state’s Legislature approved $542 million in funding...

DC Looking to Pare Back Federal Estate Tax Break | 04-13-2018

The federal tax overhaul pushed through Congress by the Republican majority in December doubled the exemption threshold for the estate tax levied on property and other assets transferred from deceased individuals to their heirs - earning it the epithet...

Budgets in Brief - April 16 2018 | 04-13-2018

MD APPROVES BIG INTENTIVE PACKAGE TO LURE AMAZON: MARYLAND lawmakers approved the largest incentive package in the state’s history, as much as $8.5 billion, in an effort to convince Amazon to build its second headquarters in Montgomery County...

MA Looks to Cut Medicaid Drug Spending | 04-05-2018

Seeking to mitigate fast-rising prescription drug prices, Massachusetts health leaders have asked the Trump administration for permission to limit the number of drugs that will be covered in its Medicaid program, including “drugs with limited or...

KY, OK Teachers Protest Pay, School Funding | 04-05-2018

Rejecting a recently-approved pay hike as inadequate, almost 300,000 teachers in Oklahoma went out on strike last week seeking even greater raises and a significant increase in state education funding. The strike came less than a week after Gov. Mary...

Budgets in Brief - April 9 2018 | 04-05-2018

HICKENLOOPER SIGNS CO BROADBAND TAX BILLS : Seeking to bolster broadband buildout in the Centennial State, COLORADO Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) signed SB 2 , which allocates $115 million in state funds toward extending high-speed broadband service to...

States Consider Taxing Drug Companies to End Opioid Epidemic | 03-30-2018

Last month, President Trump proposed several policies to fight the opioid crisis, including making drug dealers subject to the death penalty . A few states are advocating going after the drug makers instead and imposing a somewhat milder sentence: a tax...

Budgets in Brief - April 2 2018 | 03-30-2018

AZ BANS LOCAL SODA TAXES: ARIZONA Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed HB 2484 , prohibiting local governments in the state from imposing extra taxes on sodas or other sugary beverages, as some left-leaning cities in other states, including San Francisco and...

Surge in Online Sales Tax Bills in States | 03-16-2018

Legislation is under consideration in at least nine states providing for the collection of sales taxes on remote purchases, according to the National Association of State Legislatures. The bills include Oklahoma SB 337 , passed by that state’s...

VA Gov Calls Special Session on Budget | 03-16-2018

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has ordered state lawmakers back to Richmond on April 11 for a special session on the state budget. The governor’s call came days after the General Assembly adjourned its regular session on March 10 without sending...

Budgets in Brief - March 19 2018 | 03-16-2018

POT LEGALIZATION HAS POSITIVE IMPACT ON CO COUNTY: A study by researchers at COLORADO State University-Pueblo found that the marijuana industry had a net positive impact of over $35 million on Pueblo County in 2016, despite increasing costs for law...

Will WV Teacher Strike Have Ripple Effect? | 03-08-2018

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) ended a nine-day statewide teacher strike last week by signing legislation ( HB 4145 ) that grants Mountain State public workers and school personnel a 5 percent pay raise. Those pay hikes go into effect with the new...

Budgets in Brief - March 12 2018 | 03-08-2018

MARTINEZ SIGNS NM BUDGET: NEW MEXICO Gov. Susana Martinez (R) signed off on a $6.3 billion budget that includes pay raises for teachers, some state employees, judges, police and increases overall spending by about 4 percent. (SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN)...

Obamacare Opponents Take Aim at Law - Again | 03-02-2018

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act are taking yet another run at the law, using the same Supreme Court ruling that previously upheld its constitutionality. In that 2012 decision the justices found that the ACA’s individual mandate, requiring...

Supreme Court to Consider Online Sales Tax Case | 03-02-2018

At 10 a.m. on April 17, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in South Dakota v. Wayfair . The case revolves around a law passed in South Dakota in 2016 , requiring out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases from customers located...

GA Senate Committee Penalizes Delta for Cutting Ties with NRA | 03-02-2018

Georgia’s Republican-dominated Senate Rules committee voted last week to strip a $50 million jet fuel tax exemption out of a larger tax-cut proposal already passed by the House ( HB 918 ). The move came in response to the announcement by Delta Airlines...

Budgets in Brief - March 5 2018 | 03-02-2018

MI HOUSE PASSES ‘BRAIN DRAIN’ TAX BREAK: The MISSISSIPPI House passed a bill last week that would provide graduates of four-year colleges and universities in the state who stay and work within its borders a three-year exemption from state...

Trump Releases Infrastructure Plan | 02-16-2018

President Trump unveiled his long-awaited infrastructure plan last week. In broad terms the plan calls for using $200 billion in federal funding to stimulate $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investment over the next decade. The $200 billion includes $100...

MN Weighing Opioid Tax | 02-16-2018

At a news conference last week, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL) and a bipartisan group of lawmakers called for a tax on prescription opioids. The $20 million per year that the proposed levy of a penny per pill would potentially generate would go toward...

Budgets in Brief - February 19 2018 | 02-16-2018

POT SALES SET ANOTHER RECORD IN CO: Marijuana sales reached a record $1.5 billion in COLORADO in 2017, topping the previous record of $1.3 billion set in 2016. About $1.09 billion came from sales of the drug for recreational use and the rest came from...

‘Split Roll’ Property Tax Ballot Measure Proposed in CA: | 02-09-2018

A proposed initiative for California’s November ballot would make a big change to Proposition 13, the landmark Constitutional amendment approved by the state’s voters in 1978, limiting property taxes to 1 percent of a property’s market...

Job Vacancies Taking Toll at State Agencies | 02-09-2018

Job vacancies at government agencies are up from coast to coast. About 11 percent of the positions in Maryland’s executive branch are currently unfilled, about twice the rate in 2010. Between 15 and 17 percent of the clerk positions at courts that...

Budgets in Brief - February 12 2018 | 02-09-2018

WI GOV OPEN TO GAS TAX: WISCONSIN Gov. Scott Walker (R) said last week he was willing to raise the state’s gas tax to provide additional funding for transportation, as long as the tax increase was offset by other tax cuts. His statement came...

States to Take on More of Infrastructure Funding Burden | 02-02-2018

In his State of the Union address last week, President Trump called upon Congress to approve a plan that provides “at least $1.5 trillion” for infrastructure. “We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways and waterways...

Three States Challenging Federal Tax Overhaul | 02-02-2018

The Democratic governors of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York said last week they intend to file a joint lawsuit challenging the Republican tax overhaul plan signed into law last month. The governors allege that elements of the plan, particularly its...

Amazon Tax Bill Divides AL Cities and Counties | 02-02-2018

A bill introduced in the Alabama Legislature is pitting the state’s cities against its counties, with online giant Amazon in the middle. The measure, SB 130 , would allow Amazon, which currently has no brick-and-mortar presence in the state, to...

Budgets in Brief - February 5 2018 | 02-02-2018

TX POTENTIALLY FACING BIG MEDICAID BILL: Despite a healthy economy, TEXAS could face a $2.5 billion Medicaid shortfall in 2019. State lawmakers underfunded the program during last year’s regular session and then in a special session over the...

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear SD Remote Sales Tax Case | 01-19-2018

As we predicted in our legislative preview last month, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case from South Dakota revolving around a law passed there in 2016 requiring out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases from customers located...

VT Proposes First-in-the-Nation Bitcoin Tax | 01-19-2018

A bill ( SB 269 ) introduced this month by Vermont Sen. Alison Clarkson (D) would let companies operate digital currency systems like bitcoin in the state and allow the state to tax them a penny per transaction. The companies would pay the tax in whatever...