Deputy DirectorEven in this slow year for candidate elections, the decisions that voters in states and cities make could strengthen or weaken revenue for needs in their communities and could change how taxes are distributed across the income spectrum. In the places where tax fairness is on the ballot, much is at stake.
Policy AnalystConcerns over property tax affordability have been at the forefront this year as housing prices have climbed and property tax bills have often increased along with them. As lawmakers mull a range of property tax cuts, circuit breakers are the best possible approach—and these policies are receiving far too little attention in the states.
State Policy AnalystDespite mixed economic signals for 2023, including a possible recession, many state lawmakers plan to use temporary budget surpluses to forge ahead with permanent, regressive tax cuts that would disproportionately benefit the wealthy at the expense of low- and middle-income households. These cuts would put state finances in a precarious position and further erode public investments in education, transportation and health, all of which are crucial for creating inclusive, vibrant communities where everyone, not just the rich, can achieve economic security and thrive. In the event of an economic downturn, these results would be accelerated and amplified.
Deputy DirectorVoters in Massachusetts and Colorado raised taxes on their wealthiest residents to fund schools, public transportation and school lunches for kids while making their tax codes more equitable. And voters in West Virginia defeated a proposal to deeply cut taxes, mostly for businesses, and drain the coffers of county and local governments.
Research DirectorThe big problem with the Index is that it peddles a solution that not only falls short of the goal of generating business investment, but one that actively harms state lawmakers’ ability to provide the kinds of public goods – like good schools and modern, efficient transportation networks – that businesses need and want.
Policy AnalystWith both assessments and appraisals being unfair, homeowners of color are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to determining the worth of what is, for most homeowners, their most valuable asset.
Property tax circuit breakers are effective because they provide property tax relief to families whose property taxes surpass a certain percentage of their income. If a family in a gentrifying area sees their property tax bill (or their rent) surge to an unaffordable level, a circuit breaker credit kicks in to offer relief. This targeted approach assists low- and middle-income families without significantly reducing overall tax revenue.
Dylan Grundman O'Neill
Senior Policy AnalystCalifornians are voting now on Proposition 15, which would require commercial and industrial property worth $3 million or more to be taxed based on an up-to-date assessment of full market value. Proposition 15 is sound tax policy that would raise much needed revenue and help to advance racial and economic justice.
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.
State Policy DirectorState 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.
- Corporate Taxes
- Earned Income Tax Credit
- Education Tax Breaks
- Federal Policy
- Fines and Fees
- Inequality and the Economy
- Local Income Taxes
- Local Policy
- Local Property Taxes
- Local Refundable Tax Credits
- Local Sales Taxes
- Personal Income Taxes
- Property Taxes
- Refundable Tax Credits
- Sales, Gas and Excise Taxes
- SALT Deduction
- State Corporate Taxes
- State Policy
- Tax Analyses
- Tax Basics
- Tax Credits for Workers and Families
- Tax Reform Options and Challenges
- Taxing Wealth and Income from Wealth
- Trump Tax Policies
- Who Pays?