ITEP Reports

Regressive and Loophole-Ridden: Issues with the House GOP Border Adjustment Tax Proposal

February 22, 2017

In the summer of 2016, House Republicans released a blueprint for tax reform that is likely to be used as the starting point for major tax legislation in 2017.[1] One of the most radical provisions is a proposal to shift the corporate tax code from a residence-based to a destination-based system through applying a border adjustment on exports and imports. This proposal has major flaws that would make it a challenge to implement. Further, it is inherently regressive, rife with loopholes and would violate international agreements.

State Gasoline Taxes: Built to Fail, But Fixable

February 9, 2017

Every state levies taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel, usually just called "gas taxes." These taxes are an important source of state revenue--particularly for transportation--but their poor design has resulted in sluggish revenue growth that fails to keep pace with state infrastructure needs. This ITEP Policy Brief explains how state gas taxes work, their importance as a transportation revenue source, the problems confronting gas taxes, and the types of gas tax reforms that are needed to overcome these problems.

Fairness Matters: A Chart Book on Who Pays State and Local Taxes

January 26, 2017

When states shy away from personal income taxes in favor of higher sales and excise taxes, high-income taxpayers benefit at the expense of low- and moderate-income families who often face above-average tax rates to pick up the slack. This chart book demonstrates this basic reality by examining the distribution of taxes in states that have pursued these types of policies. Given the detrimental impact that regressive tax policies have on economic opportunity, income inequality, revenue adequacy, and long-run revenue sustainability, tax reform proponents should look to the least regressive, rather than most regressive, states in crafting their proposals.

Alaska's Motor Fuel Tax: A National and Historical Outlier

January 25, 2017

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker recently proposed tripling his state's motor fuel tax rates.[1] While a variety of fuel types would be affected by this proposal, three-fourths (or $60 million) of the revenue raised each year would come from higher taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel--sometimes referred to as highway fuels--purchased by Alaska motorists. Absent any national or historical context, tripling Alaska's gasoline and diesel fuel tax rates may sound like a radical policy change. But an adjustment of this size is necessary because Alaska lawmakers have not updated the state's basic highway fuel tax rate since May 1970--almost 47 years ago.[2] Because of this inaction, Alaska's highway fuel tax has become an outlier when compared to other states' tax rates, or when compared to Alaska's own history. This brief discusses four ways in which Alaska's highway fuel tax is an outlier:

Multinational Corporations Would Receive Half a Trillion in Tax Breaks from Trump's Repatriation Tax Proposal

January 18, 2017

One of the central questions for lawmakers looking to reform the federal tax code this year is how to address the $2.5 trillion in earnings that U.S. companies are holding offshore to avoid taxes. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have supported proposals that would either require or allow companies to repatriate these earnings to the United States at a discounted tax rate. These proposals have ranged from letting companies repatriate their earnings tax-free to requiring them to immediately pay a discounted rate of 20 percent. All of the proposals would give corporations a substantial tax discount and forego much-needed revenue.