Research DirectorItemized deductions are problematic tax subsidies that need to close. The mortgage interest deduction, for instance, is often lauded as a way to help middle-class families afford homes and charitable deductions are touted as incentivizing gifts to charitable organizations. But the dirty little secret is that itemized deductions primarily benefit higher-income households while largely failing to achieve their purported goals.
Senior FellowLast year, the Walton family's fortune grew by $100 million a day. This level of wealth is particularly obscene in the context of the Walmart Corporation’s dark store strategy. The company works nationwide to reduce its property tax assessments, which, when successful, deprives local communities of revenue necessary to fund education, libraries, parks, public health and other services.
Research DirectorA House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing on Tuesday will explore a highly controversial provision of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that prevents individuals and families from writing off more than $10,000 in state and local tax (SALT) payments on their federal tax forms each year. The focus of the hearing will be whether the cap negatively affects state and local revenue streams that fund schools, firefighters, and other services. There are at least three ways this could happen though only one of those is plausible, and it’s not the one that the organizers of this hearing likely expected.
Policy AnalystThe Montana Senate this week stopped a bill to restructure the state's temporary tribal tax exemption program, making tribal governments the only sovereignties on which Montana levies a tax and making it more difficult for leaders to buy back illegally seized land. Still, the success of the bill in the House is troubling.
Affordable housing advocates across the nation are attempting to address the problem at the local level, but they often face political and community opposition. These challenges are currently playing out in Baltimore, which is turning into a case study in how the best-planned civic interventions run into tough road blocks when it comes to tax increases versus moneyed special interest who seek to block those tax increases.
Senior State Policy AnalystState and local tax systems in 45 states worsen income inequality by making incomes more unequal after taxes. The worst among these are identified in ITEP’s Terrible 10. Washington, Texas, Florida, South Dakota, Nevada, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Wyoming hold the dubious honor of having the most regressive state and local tax systems in the nation. These states ask far more of their lower- and middle-income residents than of their wealthiest taxpayers.
Research DirectorAdding a property tax deduction back into the Senate bill may sound like a compromise, but a new analysis performed using the ITEP Microsimulation Tax Model reveals that the amount of state and local taxes deducted by Maine residents would plummet by 90 percent under this change, from $2.58 billion to just $262 million in 2019. In short, this change is much more symbolic than substantive.
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