It’s all in the spin. My headline is just as accurate as the headline in the Des Moines Register on the tax plan announced by Senator Jack Hatch, a Democratic candidate for Iowa Governor. The Register’s article, though, spins the way the candidate would like: “Jack Hatch’s income tax plan would give break to all but most wealthy Iowans.” From the article:
Hatch’s plan would get rid of federal deductibility, which allows taxpayers to deduct federal taxes from their state return. His plan would also raise filing thresholds. It would raise the per-child tax credit from $40 to $500. Married couples who are both employed would get a new $1,000 a year tax credit.
And Iowa’s eight rates and brackets, which range from 0.36 percent to 8.98 percent, would be reduced to four.
The top rate would fall slightly to 8.8 percent, although the income at which that rate begins would be raised by 26 percent, according to an analysis of Hatch’s plan by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency. The lowest rate would be 3 percent.
Taxes would go up for Iowans who make an adjusted gross income above $200,000, the Legislative Services Agency analysis says. The wealthiest taxpayers would see a small drop in the highest marginal tax rate, but their taxes would go up because they’d lose federal deductibility.
There are two things I hate about this plan and the way it is covered. First, it makes no mention that a tax on “the wealthy” is really a tax on business. Most business income is now reported on individual returns:
And 72% of that is reported by taxpayers with AGI over $200,000:
Cutting through the soak-the-rich stuff, what he’s really proposing is a great big tax increase on business. How that helps Iowa’s economy isn’t explained — I suppose because it doesn’t.
The other part I hate is the whole idea that hurting “the rich” on behalf of “the middle class” is presumed to be just fine. Heck, let’s go shoplifting at Wal-Mart, they have plenty of money — and it’s for the middle class!
I suppose I couldn’t expect Sen. Hatch to embrace the Tax Update’s Quick and Dirty Iowa Tax Reform Plan. I suspect it makes too much sense for any politician to embrace it.
This would be a good thing for Iowa: The Benefits of Independent Tax Tribunals (Cara Griffith, Tax Analysts Blog):
States are increasingly turning to independent tax tribunals. Most states now have either a judicial-branch tax court or an administrative-level tax tribunal that is independent of the state’s tax authority. Taxpayers and practitioners have pressed states for independent decision-making bodies for several reasons, including that the judges or administrative law judges who write decisions are impartial and knowledgeable in tax issues and that the opinions should more consistently and transparently apply the tax law because they will be published.
Iowa, unfortunately, has only administrative tribunals and regular courts. The judges know little about taxes, especially income taxes, and tend to defer to the State, even when it tortures law and logic.
TaxProf, NY Times: The Marginal Tax Rate Mess. Even the New York Times is noticing the high implicit marginal tax rates on means-tested welfare programs, like the earned income tax credit:
As a result of losing eligibility for means-tested benefits, low-income and middle-income families sometimes experience much higher marginal effective tax rates (sometimes exceeding 90 percent) than those at the top of the income distribution. Phase-outs for any one program may not be large, but participation in several programs creates a cumulative effect.
They “help the poor,” as long as they stay that way.
Joseph Henchman, Remembering the Deceased Iowa Pumpkin Tax You Helped End (Tax Policy Blog).
Jana Luttenegger, Social Security Benefits to Increase in 2014 (Davis Brown Tax Law Blog)
Me, IRA is to startup funding as dynamite is to kindling. My new post at IowaBiz.com, the Des Moines Business Record Business Professionals Blog.
Christopher Bergin, What’s a UDITPA? (Tax Analysts Blog)
Andrew Lundeen, Scott Hodge, The Income Tax Code Is More Progressive than It Was 20 Years Ago (Tax policy Blog). “The top 1 percent of taxpayers pay a greater share of the income tax burden than the bottom 90 percent combined, which totals more than 120 million taxpayers. In 2010, the top 1 percent of taxpayers—which totals roughly 1.4 million taxpayers—paid about 37 percent of all income taxes.”
Tax Justice Blog, Bruce Bartlett Is Wrong: New Conclusions on the Corporate Income Tax Change Nothing. Nothing ever changes at TJB!
Government officials defend increased funding for their agencies. Iowa police chiefs defend traffic cameras (KWWL.com)
Tags: Andrew Lundeen, Cara Griffith, Christopher Bergin, EITC, iowa tax policy, Jack Hatch, Jana Luttenegger, Jennifer Jacobs, Joseph Henchman, Kay Bell, Phil Hodgen, Quick and Dirty Iowa Tax Reform Plan, Robert D Flach, Scott Hodge, Tax Justice Blog, TaxGrrrl, TaxProf