Jeff Stier, Iowa should tread carefully on e-cigarette rules, on the weird impulse to restrict and tax water vapor:
Restricting the use of e-cigarettes, known as “vaping” for the vapor they emit, would undermine the very goal of this law.
First, it wouldn’t reduce exposure to environmental smoke, better known as second-hand smoke, because there is no smoke. There isn’t even any first-hand smoke.
More important, a ban on vaping in public places would damage public health because it would make e-cigarettes a less convenient alternative to cigarette smoking. It would also send the implicit (and incorrect) message that they are also equally dangerous, not only to the user, but to those exposed to the vapor.
All true. There are two explanations for the why politicians have their dresses over their heads over what amount to very small room vaporizers.
First, because people vaping look a little like smokers, and smoking is a great sin these days, they must be sinning, and sin must be stopped. For the children!
The second explanation is more cynical, so it probably is true. The state has a nicotine addiction. Iowa collected $227 million in tobacco taxes in 2013. If smokers use e-cigarettes to quit, that money dries up. We can’t have that.
Tax Analysts’ headline ($link) on its story about the tax proposals in the State of the Union doesn’t exactly scream Hope and Change: ”Obama Proposes EITC Expansion in State of the Union, Otherwise Reiterates Old Tax Proposals.”
One hopes that Congress will do something to keep 20-25% of the EITC from being issued “improperly” to grifters before it increases the theft pot. We can expect the President’s other tax proposals to go nowhere, as they went nowhere when he was in better political shape. The dead-on-arrival proposals include disallowing more of the Section 199 deduction for f0ssil fuels and tax credits to “build fuel infrastructure” and to subsidize alternative fuels.
His budget also provides for a hodgepodge of other tax incentives. His revenue-raisers include repealing LIFO inventories, slower depreciation for aircraft, changing grantor trust rules so they are treated the same for income and tax purposes, and limiting the size of retirement accounts — all doomed absent an unlikely comprehensive tax reform.
Related: Tax Policy is MIA in the State of the Union (Howard Gleckman, TaxVox). “The president perfunctorily restated his support for business tax reform but added no new twist to make his plan any more acceptable to congressional Republicans.”
Good Jobs First, a left-side think tank, has released Show us the Subsidized Jobs, a report on state tax incentives. Iowa only scores 27%, largely because there is no online disclosure of recipients of the Industrial New Jobs Training program and the Iowa New Jobs Tax Credit. I would give Iowa zero percent, because these hidden subsidies wouldn’t exist in a well designed tax system. They should be repealed and replaced by the Tax Update’s Quick and Dirty Iowa Tax Reform Plan.
Broadbandits. Speaking of corporate welfare, SSB 3319 was introduced yestarday in the Iowa Senate. Among other ways to pay providers for something they will do anyway if customers want it, the bill includes a 3% credit on the cost of “new installation of broadband infrastructure.” Just one more step away from simplicity and transparency.
David Henderson, Marginal Tax Rates: Singing Taxman to My Class:
Think about the Beatles’ earnings. Late 1963 was when they first started making real money. Then in 1964, they hit it big. Presumably they didn’t spend it all but started investing, figuring that they would get interest and dividends on their investments. They probably did. But those returns would be taxed at the 95% rate. When would they start noticing this? Probably some time in 1965. Thus the 1966 song.
And we all know what an economic dynamo the UK was then.
Martin Sullivan, The Obama Administration’s Backdoor Bailout of Puerto Rico (Tax Analysts Blog):
But here’s a little secret that the powers that be inside and outside government don’t want you to know: The Obama administration has already provided a multibillion-dollar bailout to Puerto Rico. Nobody in the major media outlets has noticed because the issue is highly technical.
And because Look! Justin Bieber!
William Perez, Filing Requirements for Tax Year 2013
Leslie Book, Corbalis v Commissioner: Tax Court Holds it Has Jurisdiction to Review Interest Suspension Decisions (Procedurally Taxing)
Scott Hodge, President Obama Signs Executive Order to Increase Minimum Wages Paid by Federal Contractors (Tax Policy Blog). Spending our money to show us how generous he is.
Tax Justice Blog, Has the Tax Code Been Used to Reduce Inequality During the Obama Years? Not Really. They’ve tried, but it doesn’t work.
Jeremy Scott, BEPS Project Should Include Digital Economy Permanent Establishment (Tax Analysts Blog). Should companies be taxable in a country because they have a “digital permanent establishment”? I say they shouldn’t be taxed at all.
TaxProf, The IRS Scandal, Day 265
Robert D. Flach is a sensible man:
I did not watch the State of the Union address last night. Instead I watched the wonderful film GAMBIT with Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine on TCM.
I ate a delicious dinner and had pie for dessert, with the TV off. My view of the whole SOTU thing is well-reflected here.
Career Corner: You Can Run But You Can’t Hide. Therefore, Sabotage Your Coworkers (Going Concern)