2012 February Budget & Tax News

Issue Date: 
February, 2012
Newspaper PDF: 

The February 2012 issue of Budget & Tax News leads with a report on the overwhelming approval by Rhode Island lawmakers of a measure to change the state’s pension system to improve solvency and control the growth of future obligations. Among other things, the effort, spearheaded by Treasurer Gina Raimondo, requires certain state workers and school teachers to move some of their retirement funds into a 401(k)-style account.

Also in this issue:

  • Lopsided defeats of proposed education tax hikes across the nation, including a 64–36 drubbing in Colorado, indicate a decidedly anti-tax attitude among voters as states struggle to pay for rising education costs and teacher pensions.
  • Apparently, smoking bans are dangerous to the business health of Michigan bars and taverns that traditionally have a high percentage of customers who smoke. Data show purchases of alcoholic beverages at establishments in Michigan with on-premises liquor licenses fell off severely between 2010 and September 2011.
  • Illinois lawmakers have approved minor reforms to the state’s government pension system, the nation’s most poorly funded. Embarrassing news articles describing how certain political insiders have been able to game the pension system, legally, to receive millions of dollars of potential benefits prompted the legislation.
  • Many local government officials in Maryland oppose a state land-use plan that one opponent says “gives the state control of everything, even food production. It’s a statewide Smart Growth planning document that attempts to channel development.”
  • Of all the companies that have the ability to reduce or avoid paying taxes, the biggest tax dodgers may be the “green energy” industry companies that have the political favor of White House officials.

Newspaper Articles in this Issue