Just Taxes Blog by ITEP

State Rundown 9/26: States Cleaning Up from Florence, Gearing Up for November

State Rundown 9/26: States Cleaning Up from Florence, Gearing Up for November

September 26, 2018

Meg Wiehe
Meg Wiehe
Deputy Director

Affordable housing efforts made news in Minnesota and Virginia this week, as tax breaks for homeowners and other victims of Hurricane Florence were made available in multiple states. Meanwhile, New Jersey is still looking into legalizing and taxing cannabis, and Wyoming continues to consider a corporate income tax. And gubernatorial candidates and ballot initiative efforts will give voters in many states much to consider in the November elections.

— MEG WIEHE, ITEP Deputy Director, @megwiehe

State Roundup:

  • A corporate income tax continues to be debated in WYOMING as the state’s Joint Revenue Committee works to put together a framework of how it would work in practice.
  • LOUISIANA ended the fiscal year with a budget surplus thanks to better than anticipated performance of revenues from income taxes. What to do with the money? Lawmakers will decide during the 2019 session, but in the meantime here are some thoughts on what not to do.
  • Conservative organizations in TEXAS are eyeing 2019 as an opportunity to continue to push for the repeal of the state’s franchise tax and to apply even more restrictions on the ability of local governments to raise property taxes.
  • The latest proposal to legalize cannabis in NEW JERSEY would apply a 10 percent tax to such purchases.
  • Tax benefits are available for those affected by Hurricane Florence in FLORIDA, MISSISSIPPI, and SOUTH CAROLINA.
  • In an effort to promote more affordable housing, some landlords in Minneapolis, MINNESOTA are getting property tax breaks in exchange for capping rents over the next 10 years.
  • Advocates working to reduce evictions in VIRGINIA are pushing a package of tax incentives and rental assistance to help improve housing affordability and keep people in their homes.

On (and Off) the Ballot:

  • Gubernatorial candidates in WISCONSIN are both talking tax cuts for the middle class, with varied commitment to detail. Gov. Scott Walker has proposals to cut taxes for seniors, college students, and parents, while challenger Tony Evers advocates broadly for tax cuts for working families.
  • There is increasing talk of movement towards graduated income tax rates in both the Chicago mayoral and ILLINOIS gubernatorial elections. For an argument in support of the state adopting a graduated income tax, read here.
  • KANSAS gubernatorial candidates have very different ideas about the future of education funding in the state.
  • Efforts to repeal 2017 gas tax increases in CALIFORNIA continue to heat up as we move closer to the election. Some highlights: suddenly all sides of the debate seem to be concerned about the impact of the policy on low-income families; advocates for the repeal suggest diverting funds for a high-speed rail project to replace lost revenue should the gas tax repeal pass; and a columnist agnostic toward gas tax repeal speaks to the larger dangers of the ballot initiative to create inflexible constraints on taxation that will impede effective governance in the future.
  • Many COLORADO voters will face multiple education funding questions on the ballot this November as they are presented with both a $1.6 billion statewide education funding initiative (Amendment 73) and local bond issues totaling $1.5 billion. In addition to passing resolutions in support of Amendment 73, many school districts have specified what priorities they would spend new statewide funds on.
  • With a recent poll showing a gas tax increase to fund education at a statistical tie, UTAH Gary Herbert is weighing in hoping to tip the scales in favor of the initiative.
  • Ballot season is alive and well in WASHINGTON state, with dollars and opinions cranking out right and left in hopes of influencing outcomes on topics like carbon taxes, the taxation of food and soda, and local control.

What We’re Reading…

  • While many states are working through the implications of collecting taxes from online sales, it’s all the more complicated in states that don’t have a sales tax.
  • One consequence of the federal deficit is limited capacity to aid states during future economic downturns.
  • An editorial published in Florida explores “the downside to Florida’s low taxes,” pointing out that the state has some of the lowest tax collections by several measures and also performs poorly in measures like school quality and mental health.
  • An Op-Ed from a former Nebraska Senator makes the case for treating tax expenditures with the same “fine-toothed comb” approach applied to state spending bills.

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