Just Taxes Blog by ITEP

State Rundown 10/4: Ballot/Election Season in Full Swing

October 4, 2018

South Carolina lawmakers have finally passed a federal conformity bill in response to last year’s federal tax-cut legislation. Voters in many states are hearing a lot about tax-related questions they’ll see on the ballot in November, particularly residents of Florida, Montana, and Oregon, where corporate donors and other anti-tax interests are spending major sums to alter policy in their states. And states continue to work on ensuring they can collect online sales taxes and, in some states, online sports betting taxes.

— MEG WIEHE, ITEP Deputy Director, @megwiehe

Major State Tax Proposals and Developments:

  • SOUTH CAROLINA legislators passed a federal conformity bill that Gov. Henry McMaster is expected to sign. The bill decouples from several business tax changes, creates a new dependent exemption worth $4,110 per child (doubled for children under six), and adjusts income tax brackets for inflation. —DYLAN GRUNDMAN

State Roundup:

  • Online retailers selling to CALIFORNIA buyers will have to wait until 2019 to know how they may be impacted by the Supreme Court ruling in Wayfair, as lawmakers have adjourned for the year and Gov. Jerry Brown isn’t pressing for the issue to be wrapped up before the end of his term.
  • NEW JERSEY Phil Murphy unveiled his economic development ideas for the state this week, which include new tax credits, investments, and technical assistance to promote affordable housing and what he says is an overall “more diverse and inclusive economy.”
  • NEW YORK’s state tax department is looking closely at the recently revealed tax fraud allegations against President Trump and his family.
  • The DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA’s sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products took effect this week.
  • A recent MICHIGAN poll shows that leading up to the November elections, voters are more concerned with fixing roads and other infrastructure than with cutting taxes.
  • WISCONSIN lawmakers are waiting until the week after the election to take up a tax incentive package for Kimberly-Clark. The deal aims to prevent a plant closure—purportedly saving 500 jobs at the cost of tens of millions of dollars to taxpayers.
  • Those Wisconsin policymakers may want to seek advice from their counterparts in RHODE ISLAND, who are learning a great deal from the state’s high-quality evaluations of its own business tax subsidy programs.
  • Tax collections in KANSAS are up for the first quarter of the new fiscal year.

On (and Off) the Ballot:

  • A new study in MICHIGAN estimates the state could bring in half a billion new dollars in revenue over five years if voters approve a ballot initiative to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana.
  • Big tobacco continues to invest more money in an effort to defeat MONTANA Initiative 185 to raise the cigarette tax, making it the highest funded ballot initiative in the state’s history.
  • Corporate donors also continue to invest heavily in anti-tax measures in OREGON, including initiatives to require a supermajority for any revenue raising measure and a prohibition on the taxation of food.
  • FLORIDA residents are hearing a lot about tax-related ballot questions they’ll be deciding on in November. For example, a realtors’ group has spent over $5.5 million to promote the continuation of a valuation cap on non-homestead property, and the League of Women Voters is alerting voters that the proposed supermajority requirement for revenue increases is a bad deal for the state.
  • NEVADA voters will have a chance to vote on a sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products in November.
  • Teachers and others in HAWAII are showing their support of a proposed amendment to improve school funding.
  • The two candidates for the NEBRASKA governorship are offering competing property tax reduction plans, and two key farm groups have announced they support the plan from challenger Bob Krist over incumbent Pete Ricketts.
  • Texas oil companies are pumping money into efforts to defeat a carbon tax initiative in WASHINGTON state.

What We’re Reading…

  • Education Week reports that increased support for funding schools via tax increases is gaining momentum around the country.
  • org shows that by many measures, economic inequality is worse today than it was 100 years ago, in 1918, as the country entered the roaring twenties. The Great Depression followed soon thereafter.
  • StateNet has the latest on states taking advantage of their newly granted ability to tax online sports betting. Revenues are expected to be modest and volatile.
  • States are also in the process of ensuring they are able to collect the taxes on online sales that have been due to them all along, but that were unenforceable until a recent Supreme Court decision. Ten more states’ policies are going into effect this week.

If you like what you are seeing in the Rundown (or even if you don’t) please send any feedback or tips for future posts to Meg Wiehe at [email protected]. Click here to sign up to receive the Rundown via email.


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