ITEP Reports

State Estate and Inheritance Taxes

July 21, 2014

For much of the last century, estate and inheritance taxes have played an important role in helping states to adequately fund public services in a way that improves the progressivity of state tax systems. While many of the taxes levied by state and local governments fall most heavily on low-income families, only the very wealthy pay estate and inheritance taxes. Recent changes in the federal estate tax, however, culminating in the "fiscal cliff " deal of early 2013, have forced states to reevaluate the structure of their estate and inheritance taxes. Unfortunately, the trend of late has tended toward weakening or completely eliminating state estate taxes. This policy brief discusses inheritance and estate taxes and how states can adopt these important components of a progressive tax structure.

Sales Tax Holidays: An Ineffective Alternative to Real Sales Tax Reform

July 21, 2014

Sales taxes are an important revenue source, comprising close to half of all state revenues in 2013. But sales taxes are also inherently regressive because the lower a family's income, the more of its income the family must spend on things subject to the tax.

Pay-Per-Mile Tax is Only a Partial Fix

May 28, 2014

The gasoline tax is the single largest source of funding for transportation infrastructure in the United States, but the tax is on an unsustainable course. Sluggish gas tax revenue growth has put strain on transportation budgets at the federal and state levels, and has led to countless debates around the country about how best to pay for America's infrastructure.

STAMP is an Unsound Tool for Gauging the Economic Impact of Taxes

May 21, 2014

The Beacon Hill Institute (BHI), a free-market think tank located at Suffolk University, frequently uses its State Tax Analysis Modeling Program (STAMP) to perform analyses purporting to show that lowering taxes, or not raising them, will benefit state economies. But STAMP suffers from a number of serious methodological problems and should not be relied upon by anybody seeking to underĀ­stand the economic impacts of state tax policies.

The Federal Gas Tax: Long Overdue for Reform

May 20, 2014

The federal gas tax is a critical source of funding for the nation's transportation system, but its design is fundamentally flawed. In recent years, the consequences of those flaws have become increasingly obvious, as the federal government has struggled to fund a 21st century transportation network with a gas tax that has predictably failed to keep pace with the nation's growing infrastructure needs. This ITEP Policy Brief explains how the federal gas tax works, its importance as a transportation revenue source, the problems confronting the gas tax, and the reforms that are needed to overcome these problems.