Tax Policy

No state in the Midwest relies more heavily on the sales tax than South Dakota. And in a state where more than half of total tax collections come from this revenue source, it comes as no surprise that lawmakers are trying to address a growing collection problem: the inability to bring in sales and use taxes from purchases made over the Internet.

Question of the Month: Which states require supermajority votes in the legislature to pass tax increases? According to Americans for Tax Reform, entering this year, 16 states required a supermajority vote for taxes to be raised. 

This Act establishes a credit against the state income tax for people or companies that donate the right to withdraw water from streams to the state water conservation board for the purpose of reducing the amount of water that is withdrawn from the streams. The Act specifies that the state water conservation board will approve the credits by issuing certificates to water rights owners who permanently transfer water rights to the water conservation board.

While fiscal concerns usually top the list of important issues for states—even in good economic times—over the next few years, the dialogue among state policymakers will almost exclusively be on the topic of money: budgets, federal assistance, taxes, spending, borrowing and, ultimately, surviving.

Use value property assessments help preserve family farms, but they also raise continual questions for state lawmakers

Tax incentives to attract the filmmaking industry are expected to receive close scrutiny in 2011 by legislatures and newly elected governors in at least three Midwestern states.

Taxes were the number one ballot issue across the states in 2010.  Across the country, voters in 37 states considered 160 ballot proposals, many of them related to fiscal and economic issues. The issues included property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, fiscal limits, fees and miscellaneous taxes, rainy day funds, and changes to legislative procedures and voting requirements related to budget issues.

As voters determined who would be governing their states and the nation on Tuesday, they also made decisions on a myriad of ballot initiatives, referendums and legislative measures.  In total, there were 160 ballot proposals in 37 states, many of which were related to fiscal and economic issues.  According to the Initiative and Referendum Institute, taxes – as in past years – were the number one issue on state ballots in 2010.  Measures concerning property taxes found their way on to a number of state ballots this year, along with income taxes, sales taxes, fiscal limits, fees and miscellaneous taxes, rainy day funds, and changes to legislative procedures and voting requirements related to budget issues. 

Tomorrow, when they enter the polling booth, California voters will face a dizzying array of ballot initiatives, nine in all.   Among other things, voters must decide whether to suspend the state’s landmark global-warming law, whether to repeal three corporate tax breaks, whether to allow the Legislature to approve budgets with a simple majority instead of a two-thirds vote, and whether California will be the first state to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana beyond medical use.

Voters in at least nine states will have the opportunity when they go to the polls November 2 to decide the outcome of education-related referenda - most of which would either increase or reduce public school funding. The ballot measures will provide an interesting display of voter priorities – the desire by some for tax relief versus a call by others for more funding for education.

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