Tax Law

    • 7 May 2012

    State Net Capitol Journal – May 7, 2012

    SNCJ Spotlight With Congress stalled, states work their own "Amazon tax" deals Like millions of Americans these days, Dena Davidson buys a lot of products online. From birthday gifts to home furnishings, she eschews crowded malls at every opportunity, preferring the comfort of shopping directly from her own living room. About half the time, she says, the final bill includes sales tax. This...
    • 23 Apr 2012

    State Net Capitol Journal – April 23, 2012

    Budget & Taxes A TALE OF TWO TAX STRUCTURES AND ONE CITY: Which is worse: high income taxes or high sales taxes? That's a question residents of the metropolitan area of Portland, Oregon ponder fairly regularly. Oregon has no sales tax, but it has one of the nation's highest income taxes, at 9.9 percent. Meanwhile, just across the Columbia River, lies the state of Washington, which has no income...
    • 16 Apr 2012

    State Net Capitol Journal – April 16, 2012

    Budget & Taxes CT PULLS PLUG ON MANAGED CARE FOR MEDICAID: The way states used to pay doctors and hospitals for treating Medicaid patients was by directly reimbursing them for the services they rendered. But spurred by criticism that the so-called "fee-for-service" method encouraged health care providers to rack up fees for unnecessary tests and procedures, states have been switching to managed care...
    • 9 Apr 2012

    State Net Capitol Journal – April 9, 2012

    Budget & Taxes RISKY PENSION INVESTMENTS NOT PAYING OFF: Hoping to boost their investment returns and shrink looming deficits, public pension systems across the nation have been turning to riskier investments, such as private equity and hedge funds. But their returns haven't been rising nearly as much as their management fees. In fact, in recent years, more traditional investments like stocks and bonds have...
    • 2 Apr 2012

    State Net Capitol Journal – April 2, 2012

    Budget & Taxes PENSION SANCTITY MAY BE TESTED IN CA BANKRUPTCY: Financially troubled Stockton, California is currently in mediation with its creditors to determine whether it will file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy process is typically a collective one in which the creditors of the distressed entity negotiate a plan under court supervision to share the losses equitably, more or less; some creditors...
    • 19 Mar 2012

    State Net Capitol Journal – March 19th, 2012

    Budget & Taxes WV COMMITS TO PAYING DOWN PENSION DEBT: West Virginia's unfunded pension liability - estimated at $10 billion last year - is one of the highest per capita in the nation. But the state became a standout on the issue in a very different way last month when lawmakers approved legislation proposed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) - SB 469 - dedicating $30 million per year in personal income tax revenues...
    • 12 Mar 2012

    State Net Capitol Journal – March 12th, 2012

    c Budget & Taxes FL JUDGE SIDES AGAINST STATE IN PENSION CASE: A Florida circuit court ruled last week that Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Republican legislative leaders' decision last year to cut public employee salaries to offset the state's contribution to their pension fund was an unconstitutional breach of contract. "The 2011 Legislature, when faced with a budget shortfall, turned to the...
    • 5 Mar 2012

    State Net Capitol Journal – March 5th, 2012

    Budget & Taxes STATES DIVERTING FORECLOSURE SETTLEMENT MONEY: Last month, the nation's five largest mortgage lenders signed a $25 billion settlement with the attorneys general of 49 states addressing loan servicing abuses that contributed to the foreclosure crisis. But even before the ink was dry on that agreement, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) announced his state would use part of its share of the settlement...
    • 21 Feb 2012

    State Net Capitol Journal -- February 20th, 2012

    Budget & Taxes SODA TAXES FIZZLE: Two years ago, when concern over obesity, especially among children, had states from California to New York debating excise taxes on soft drinks, it appeared as though they might become the new sin taxes of choice and follow the pattern of alcohol and cigarette taxes, now imposed in every state. But only one state, West Virginia, ended up passing a soda tax in 2010. And none of the...
    • 13 Feb 2012

    State Net Capitol Journal -- February 13th, 2012

    Budget & taxes STATES REACH FORECLOSURE DEAL WITH BIG BANKS: After more than a year of negotiations, federal officials, attorney's general of 49 states and five of the nation's largest banks agreed last week to a $25 billion settlement that could provide relief to more than 1 million struggling homeowners and help stop the downward slide of the housing market. Under the agreement, which grew out of an investigation...
    • 6 Feb 2012

    State Net Capitol Journal -- February 6th, 2012

    Budget & Taxes TO TAX OR NOT TO TAX: In his state of the state speech last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) called for a 10-percent across-the-board cut in the state's income tax. "This will send a loud signal," he said. "The New Jersey comeback has begun." The spending plan released last month by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), on the other hand, called for raising taxes...
    • 24 Jan 2012

    State Net Capitol Journal -- January 23rd, 2012

    BUDGET & TAXES INTERNET GAMBLING MAY NOT PROVIDE JACKPOT FOR STATES: The ruling last year by the Department of Justice authorizing New York and Illinois to sell lottery tickets to their residents via the Internet signaled a major shift in the federal government's longstanding opposition to Internet gambling and opened the door for states to legalize, license and tax it. Nevada immediately seized...
    • 17 Jan 2012

    State Net Capitol Journal -- January 17th, 2012

    Budget & taxes CA BUDGET PROPOSAL INCLUDES 'RANSOM NOTE' FOR VOTERS: California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) issued an ultimatum to voters in the $92.6 billion budget he proposed last week: approve $7 billion in temporary tax hikes at the polls in November or lose three weeks in the public school year. "It's the most expensive ransom note in California political history," said Dan Schnur...
    • 9 Jan 2012

    State Net Capitol Journal -- January 9th, 2012

    Budget & taxes STATES SEEKING BIGGER PENSION FUND RETURNS: Over the past few years, states have been cutting pension benefits for public workers in an effort to get a handle on unfunded pension liabilities estimated at between $1.26 trillion and $3 trillion collectively. Now some states are beginning to take a look at the other side of the equation: investment returns. The shift in focus could be...
    • 20 Dec 2011

    State Net Capitol Journal -- December 20, 2011

    Budget & taxes NY RAISES TOP TAX RATE: This month New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) agreed to do what he had repeatedly said he would not: raise taxes on his state's highest earners. Under the agreement passed by the Legislature, those making over $2 million will actually pay less next year than they do now (8.82 percent versus the current effective rate of 8.92 percent), but only because the state's so-called...
    • 5 Dec 2011

    State Net: Budget & Taxes, December 5, 2011

    SUPERCOMMITTEE STALEMATE SETS UP AUTOMATIC CUTS: As part of the deal reached by Congress in August raising the federal debt ceiling, a bipartisan supercommittee was charged with the Herculean task of figuring out by November 23rd how to reduce the federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade. As many had predicted, the gridlock that has plagued Congress as a whole also afflicted the six Democrats and...
    • 20 Nov 2011

    State Net Capitol Journal--November 21, 2011

    ENTERPRISE ZONES HAVE BECOME ENTERPRISE IN CO: In 1986, Colorado lawmakers created the Enterprise Zone Program to encourage economic development in struggling parts of the state by giving tax breaks to businesses that bring capital or jobs to "economically distressed areas." More than two decades later the program has expanded considerably - some say too much. Originally, there were eight enterprise zones in...
    • 14 Nov 2011

    State Net Capitol Journal--November 14, 2011

    SUPPORT GROWS FOR ABOLISHING INCOME TAXES: On September 24th, 1980 then-Alaska Gov. Jay Hammond (R) signed a bill into law abolishing the state's personal income tax. In the 31 years since, not a single governor has duplicated that action. But that trend could soon be coming to an end. Last month, backers of a constitutional amendment to eliminate Missouri's personal income tax began collecting signatures to place...
    • 7 Nov 2011

    State Net Capitol Journal, November 7, 2011

    CO VOTERS IN NO MOOD FOR TAX HIKES: Colorado voters had only one statewide initiative on their ballot last Tuesday (November 1st): Proposition 103. And they were very clear how they felt about the measure - which sought to raise income and sales taxes for five years to provide $2.9 billion for education - voting it down by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. Backers of the proposal conceded defeat less than an hour after the polls...
    • 24 Oct 2011

    Budget & Taxes: State Net, October 24, 2011

    ND WEIGHS DOING AWAY WITH PROPERTY TAXES: In stark contrast to most of the rest of the country, times are pretty good in North Dakota. So good, in fact, the state is considering becoming the first in the nation to abolish property taxes. Spurred by the growth of state spending - which has doubled from $2 billion to $4 billion since 2005 - a citizens' group called Empower the Taxpayer got a proposed constitutional...
    • 17 Oct 2011

    State Net Capitol Journal October 17, 2011

    A TALE OF TWO ECONOMIC POLICIES: Four years ago, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) enacted the largest tax cut in his state's history. The state now has the country's second lowest unemployment rate, at 4.2 percent. In May, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (D) enacted the largest tax hike in his state's history. The unemployment rate in that state, 9.1 percent, is also now among the lower ones in the nation...
    • 10 Oct 2011

    Budget & Taxes--State Net October 10, 2011

    MS JOBS PROGRAM COULD BE NATIONAL MODEL: President Obama is still trying to sell his jobs plan to America, but there's a program in Mississippi that is already creating jobs. And some analysts say it could be a model for the nation. The Subsidized Transitional Employment Program and Services, or STEPS, pays some of the cost of workers' salaries in the hope that employers will keep them on after the state money...
    • 3 Oct 2011

    Budget & Taxes – State Net, October 3rd, 2011

    GRANHOLM'S ECONOMIC WARNING FOR NATION: Years before the start of the Great Recession, Michigan was struggling with its own economic downturn, precipitated by the decline of the U.S. auto industry. The state's economy doesn't look quite as bad now, if only because the fiscal health of the rest of the nation has deteriorated so much. But Jennifer Granholm, who served as Michigan's governor...
    • 19 Sep 2011

    Budget & Taxes – State Net, September 19th, 2011

    HAVE HOMELAND SECURITY GRANTS GONE TO WASTE? In the years since 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security has poured $34 billion into states to help them address the threat of terrorism. But on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks, questions are being asked about whether states are really safer after all that spending. Colorado received about $354 million in homeland security grants since 2002...
    • 12 Sep 2011

    Budget & Taxes – State Net, September 12th, 2011

    RI CONSIDERING RADICAL PENSION REFORM: Estimated at somewhere between $6.8 billion and $9 billion, Rhode Island's unfunded pension liability is far from the largest in the country. That dubious distinction belongs to California, with an unfunded liability of $59.5 billion, according to a 2010 study by the Pew Center on the States. But with barely a million residents, Rhode Island does have the largest...