Carl Davis

Research Director

Carl Davis

Areas of Expertise

tax modeling state taxes federal taxes cannabis taxes school voucher credits gas taxes dynamic scoring

Carl is the research director at ITEP, where he has worked since 2008. Carl works on a wide range of issues related to state, local, and federal tax policy. He has advised policymakers, researchers, and advocates on tax policy issues in nearly every state. Much of his work pertains to tax incidence analysis, which illuminates how tax policies vary in impact across income level and race. He has contributed to five editions of ITEP’s flagship Who Pays? report, which measures effective tax rates by income level in every state, and was the project lead on the most recent edition of the study.

Carl has been deeply involved in building out ITEP’s growing portfolio of work at the intersection of taxes and race. This included advising the organization’s economists and analysts in their successful effort to attach racial identifiers to ITEP’s tax microdata, as well as authoring reports demonstrating the positive, and negative, effects that tax policy has on racial disparities.

As research director, Carl is responsible for steering ITEP’s work to new or underexplored areas and has written about proposals to legalize and tax cannabis sales, to implement vehicle-miles-traveled taxes, and to update the tax treatment of the “gig economy.” He has also investigated the connection between state taxes and economic growth, options for improving transportation funding through gas tax reform, the pitfalls of expansive tax subsidies for seniors, and promoting housing affordability with property tax circuit breakers.

Carl has conducted extensive research into tax credits for people who contribute to organizations that give out vouchers for free or reduced tuition at private K-12 schools. That research helped reveal the profitable tax shelters that these credits create for some upper-income people and was heavily cited in the run-up to an IRS regulation that curtailed use of those shelters.

Prior to assuming the role of research director, Carl worked as an analyst for ITEP and used its proprietary microsimulation tax model to perform tax incidence and revenue analyses for lawmakers and advocates across the country. Carl also previously worked as part of the State Economic Issues team at AARP. He holds bachelor’s degrees in both economics and political science from Virginia Tech and a Master’s in Public Policy from George Washington University.

Follow Carl on Twitter @carlpdavis

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