2014 March Budget & Tax News

Issue Date: 
March, 2014
Newspaper PDF: 

The March issue of Budget & Tax News reports on the release of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s “Blueprint for Prosperity,” the centerpiece of which is a tax cut package of more than $800 million. Walker said he wants to put the bulk of the state’s $900 million budget surplus “back in the hands of the hard-working taxpayers.”

Also in this issue:

  • The U.S. House and Senate have passed a nearly $1 trillion farm bill that raises spending almost 50 percent above the last farm bill in 2008.
  • “There is enough anecdotal evidence to seriously question anyone who says [middle-income Americans are] no better off than their parents’ or grandparents’ in the 1970s,” says economics professor Don Boudreaux, who has shown that in many instances people need to work much less today to afford household items.
  • Barely recovered from the damaging effects of the Sacramento court ruling late last year denying the California High Speed Rail Authority access to Prop 1A bond funding, the California bullet train project is facing fresh challenges.
  • State Budget Solutions’ (SBS) fourth annual State Debt Study reveals state governments face a combined $5.1 trillion in debt. This equals approximately $16,178 per capita, or 33 percent of annual gross state product. Another telling way to view the problem: State debt equals 469 percent of all fiscal year state general and other fund expenditures.
  • The United States continues to lose its economic freedom, according to the just-released Heritage Foundation 2014 Index of Economic Freedom. Since President Barack Obama took office, the United States has slipped six spots in the index, dropping out of the world’s top 10 freest economies this year. The report states the decline is “primarily due to deteriorations in property rights, fiscal freedom, and business freedom.”
  • The United States’ federal top capital gains tax rate is now 23.8 percent, after two tax increases at the start of 2013. This is a problem because the capital gains tax creates a bias against savings, slows economic growth, and imposes a double tax on corporate profits. There is also a lesser-known problem: In some instances, the practice of taxing the nominal gain leads to an infinite effective rate on real capital gains, when the increase in price is due only to inflation.

Newspaper Articles in this Issue