Taggert Brooks Economics Consulting
Taggert Brooks - Economic Consulting

News for the ‘tax’ Category

Budget Data

Visualizations of the federal budget from various sources:

The Washington Post.
The New York Times.
The Wall Street Journal.


I missed:
The Guardian.

Posted: February 19th, 2010
Categories: tax
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Keeping Them Honest

Both sides of the political aisle are prone to exaggeration and convenient amnesia. Recent discussions of Obama’s plan to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire have included references to socialism. Below you will find the historical top marginal income tax rates, color coded by party. Another take is here. [Data Source].


Posted: February 16th, 2010
Categories: tax
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Sales Taxes

The Tax Foundation has updated their data on state and local sales tax here.

Posted: October 21st, 2009
Categories: tax
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Tax Math

Higher taxes are most likely in our future, regardless of who we elect:

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former Director of the Congressional Budget Office and current chief McCain economic advisor, is an honest man–which means he’s something of a liability on the Straight Talk Express. A few months ago, he admitted to my colleague, Michael Scherer, that Barack Obama’s economic plan would reduce taxes for most people. And now, in a forthcoming book by Fortune columnist Matt Miller, he makes it clear that the next President is going to have to raise taxes.

“If you do nothing on the spending side, you’re going to have to raise taxes whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat or a Martian,” he tells Miller…and then he immediately makes it clear that the “spending side” part of the argument is nothing more than a political fig-leaf.

And the futures market is also betting on rising taxes according to Mankiw.

The top income tax rate is now 35 percent. According to the betting at Intrade, the probability that the top income tax rate in 2011 will exceed 38 percent is 0.87. Call this P(tax hike).

Barack Obama has made such a tax hike part of his campaign promises, and there is no reason to think the Congress won’t deliver for him. So let’s assume Obama is certain to get the tax hike if he wins. That is, P(tax hike / Obama) = 1.0. (If this assumption is wrong, and this conditional probability is less than one, then my conclusion below would be even stronger.)

According to Intrade, the probability of Obama being the next president is 0.53. Call this P(Obama). And P(McCain) = 0.47.

Now we can calculate the probability of a tax hike conditional on McCain winning. It comes from the formula

P(tax hike)
= P(tax hike/Obama) P(Obama) + P(tax hike/McCain) P(McCain),

and plugging in the above numbers. It tells us that

P(tax hike / McCain) = 0.74.

Posted: September 16th, 2008
Categories: tax
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Property Taxes

We recently finished the semi-annual consumer sentiment survey for the 7 Rivers Region. The upcoming September meeting concerns the Wisconsin Way initiative. In preparation we asked our participants some of the questions that have been asked around the state. In particular we asked:

When you think about the property taxes you or your landlord pay on the home in which you live and the services you receive for those taxes would you say property taxes in Wisconsin (or your state of residence) are much too high, somewhat too high, about right, somewhat too low or much too low?

I’ve joined the following answers and created a word cloud.
a. Much too high
b. Somewhat too high
c. About right
d. Somewhat too low
e. Much too low
f. Other

The fact that you can not find Much Too Low or Somewhat Too Low in the graphic is not a mistake.

Posted: August 23rd, 2008
Categories: consumer sentiment, tax
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Hollywood Subsidies

La Crosse was initially in the running to become one of the locations for the new Johnny Depp “Public Enemies” movie. Wisconsin was chosen for several reasons, one of which was probably the newly passed tax considerations. Maybe we should look at the evidence and research done by other states. This headline says it all:

Rich stars pocket subsidies, state says
The analysis by the Department of Revenue this week estimated that at least half the film-industry payroll spending will go to out-of-town residents, mainly actors, directors, and producers commanding salaries of more than $1 million each. The Revenue Department assumes they will spend only a fraction of their paychecks in Massachusetts, limiting the benefits to the local economy.

The Revenue Department noted its analysis is consistent with a 2005 report on Louisiana’s film tax subsidies, which estimated 60 percent of spending eligible for tax credits would go out-of-state. And when The Providence Journal reviewed records for a Wesley Snipes film subsidized by Rhode Island, it found just $1.9 million of the $11 million in production expenses went to local residents and vendors – less than the $2.65 million in tax credits issued to support the 2006 movie, “Hard Luck.”

But in this week’s report, the Revenue Department found the subsidies probably wouldn’t generate enough money in income taxes and other revenue to offset the cost of the incentives, forcing the state to cut other government spending. Assuming $100 million a year in incentive spending, the state said it would only be able to recoup $18 million to $23 million in other tax revenue.

Posted: June 23rd, 2008
Categories: subsidies, tax
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