How Iowa’s tax law gets worse and worse, episode 7,433. From TheGazette.com (my emphasis):
Gov. Terry Branstad and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, traveled to college campuses Tuesday offering their plan for making higher education affordable and reducing student debt.
The GOP team proposed offering fixed-price degrees or $10,000 bachelors degree for popular major at public universities to cut costs for al limited number of in-state students and tax credits for being volunteers in qualifying community activities during stops at Iowa State University in Ames and Drake University in Des Moines.
Say that again, slowly: “tax credits for being volunteers in qualifying community activities.” Paid volunteerism. What a wonderful concept, like non-alcoholic whiskey.
To reduce debt that is among the nation’s highest for college students, Branstad and Reynolds said they would work with the Legislature in 2015 to create a state tax credit that would allow students to reduce debt by participating in volunteer activities within their community through a qualified Student Debt Reduction Organization.
Details and specifics of the tax credit would be worked out so it would encourage community volunteerism while also maintaining the strength of other successful tax credit programs, such as the Student Tuition Organization Tax Credit, [campaign spokesman Tommy] Schultz said.
It’s something cooked up to sound good in a re-election campaign. Well, cooked-up may be too strong a term, when it is admittedly only half-baked (details and specifics to be worked out). You would give the Department of Revenue a new job of supervising “Student Debt Reduction Organizations.” These organizations would be set up by non-profits and government agencies to spend state money.
Can you think of any way this will end well? Does anyone really think the “volunteer” time will be well used? Or that these local communities will have useful projects for all these “volunteers?” And does anyone doubt that local politicians will find ways to use these “volunteers” to help them get re-elected?
But it sounds good. “Promote civic involvement.” And the Iowa tax law gets another barnacle.
Another fallacy of the Governor’s plan: the idea that the reason college isn’t “affordable” because there aren’t enough government programs and tax credits to subsidize it. Yet every few years there is a new subsidy or tax credit, on top of the old ones. Pell Grants, student loan subsidies, Lifetime Learning Credits, HOPE Credits, American Opportunity Tax Credits, student loan interest deductions… all touted as making college “more affordable.” Yet somehow tuition keeps outpacing inflation. It should be obvious by now that higher education just raises prices to soak up the subsidies. More subsidies and tax credits are the problem, not the solution.
An Iowa man angry about his property taxes was fatally shot during a public meeting Tuesday after he pulled a gun from a briefcase and pointed it at the county assessor, law enforcement officials said.
Francis Glaser, a former Maquoketa city manager, had become agitated and vocal about his property taxes going up during a weekly meeting of Jackson County’s board of supervisors in Maquoketa, a town about 30 miles south of Dubuque.
It apparently involved a tax incentive.
Paul Neiffer, Will Tax Inversion Debate Yield Permanent Section 179
I never knew who he was, but the machine that his company made had a profound influence on tax and accounting practice , at least in my neck of the woods. Mr. Kay was responsible for the Kaypro.
I never used a Kaypro, but I am probably indebted to Mr. Kay. With my penmanship, I could never have survived in accounting without computers.
Richard Auxier, Nearly All States Play the Lottery, But None Are Big Winners (TaxVox). “Playing the lottery can be fun. But politicians selling lotteries as a panacea for education spending are just as disingenuous as lotto advertisements promising big wins. And states pushing instant and electronic games on their poorest residents are doubling-down on a bad bet.”
David Brunori, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly — Florida Governor Rick Scott’s Tax Ideas (Tax Analysts Blog)
Matt Gardner, Wisconsin Contemplates Property Tax Shift from Business to Homeowners. (Tax Justice Blog). Business don’t ultimately pay taxes. They merely collect them on behalf of customers, employees and owners.
Kyle Pomerleau, New Earnings Stripping Bill is Fundamentally Unserious (Tax Policy Blog). Of course it is. That doesn’t mean it won’t pass someday.
TaxProf, The IRS Scandal, Day 489. Today’s roundup includes this from the Washington Post about Commissioner Koskinen’s duplicity in handling the scandal:
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen testified this summer that he played no part in spreading word of the agency’s controversial missing e-mails to the Treasury Department or the White House. But one of his closest advisers apparently did.
And he wonders why Congress doesn’t want to give him all the money he asks for.
Career Corner. How Failing the CPA Exam Might Actually Help You Succeed (Adrienne Gonzalez, Going Concern)