Business Tax VOX

  • Why the government shouldn't tell people how to use food stamps

    Restricting food stamps to use on certain foods is only fair if we put restrictions on dozens of other programs that assist people —to attend school, save for retirement, buy homes, take care of their children. Instead, let’s trust Americans to use that assistance as they see fit and not tell them how to live their lives. 

  • Rubio-Lee hints at tax reform's troubling direction

    Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Mike Lee have introduced what should probably be thought of as the first major set of tax proposals in the 2016 Presidential election season. While their proposals are unlikely to be enacted, they hint at the troubling direction that tax reform debates seem to be headed.

  • States want to cut taxes on pensions, proving bad ideas never die

    Retirement income free of state taxes continues to seduce politicians, despite threadbare evidence that it would serve to lure seniors to their states. The idea of excluding pension income from state tax is misguided, but it's hardly new.

  • Rubio-Lee tax reform plan would add trillions to the debt

    The tax reform plan from Marco Rubio and Mike Lee is filled with a lot of interesting and credible ideas, but the specifics would add trillions to the nation's debt over the next decade. 

  • Does the tax code reduce income inequality?


    Since it’s (almost) Tax Day, that April 15 deadline for filing tax returns, it’s a good time to ponder a very simple question: How much does the US tax system shrink the gap between rich and poor?

  • Ferguson city finances: not the new normal

    A recent DOJ investigation into the city of Feguson and its police department highlighted a 'focus on revenue rather than … public safety needs.' Even among smaller American cities still recovering from the recession, such a focus is far from normal. 

  • One solution to California's drought: tax water

    California desperately needs its residents and businesses to use less water. So rather than trying to curb water use through a complex maze of regulation, why not just raise the price though a new state-wide tax on all users?

April 19, 2015

Photos of the weekend

Participants in the Tweed Run ride their bicycles over Westminster Bridge in central London, Saturday. The Tweed Run is an annual event in which the participants wear vintage clothing and ride their bicycles though city centers worldwide.

More Tax VOX
  • Rubio-Lee tax reform plan would add trillions to the debt

    The tax reform plan from Marco Rubio and Mike Lee is filled with a lot of interesting and credible ideas, but the specifics would add trillions to the nation's debt over the next decade. 

  • What if we funded public school like Obamacare?

    A public school system funded the same way we pay for the ACA's exchanged-based insurance would drastically reduce direct spending for public schools and the taxes without directly affecting educational resources. But it would make life much more complicated for taxpayers and tax administrators.  

  • Why Republican governors are flirting with tax hikes

    Is 2015 the year of reluctant GOP tax hikes or triumphant GOP tax cuts? It depends. Republican governors are open to new tax revenue—as long as it is never, ever from individual income taxes.

  • A better way to link the Affordable Care Act and tax season

    The Obama Administration has created a special ACA enrollment season for this year only, but it's a limited fix to a bigger problem: finding better ways to use tax filing season as an ACA enrollment incentive. 

  • The Affordable Care Act and tax filing season: a view from the trenches

    This is the first filing season when taxpayers must navigate the new provisions of the ACA on their 1040s. And, as we are learning, sorting through all the necessary paperwork is hard to do, even for those of us whose day jobs are in tax policy.

  • Do tax breaks help small business? Not as much as lawmakers think.

    For decades, policymakers have enthusiastically supported special tax breaks for small businesses, including start-ups. But there is a wide gap between the professed support for small businesses and what the tax code does for (and to) start-ups in the real world.

  • Obama would end tax breaks for college sports. Good for him.

    President Obama's FY16 budget proposal would cut federal subsidies for premium seats at college sporting events. Federal subsidies ought to provide national benefits and there’s no evidence that boosting attendance in high-priced court-side or skybox seats does that.

  • What would a Jeb Bush presidency mean for taxes?

    Jeb Bush gave a speech this week that exposed some interesting internal conflicts in the former Florida governor’s campaign platform. On one hand, Bush called for government to help working class families. On the other, he demanded that government stay out of the way and let markets grow the economy.

  • State and local budgets still reeling from the Great Recession

    The latest Census of Governments shows us a lot about just how hard local governments were pounded by the Great Recession. It describes a powerful double-whammy: Local governments not only suffered deep declines in their own tax revenues but they also faced steep cuts in state aid. 

  • Taxes dispute: Are accrued capital gains income the year you die?

    When it comes to capital gains taxes, policymakers and experts disagree on what actually counts as income. The dispute centers on the President’s proposal to tax accrued, but unrealized, capital gains at death.