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Many Wealthy Moving Down, Not Out

December 22, 2010

The Wall Street Journal’s determination to use any available shred of evidence to argue that state tax increases send people fleeing to other states reminds me of the old expression that to someone with a hammer, the whole world is a nail.

Laffer’s Flawed Analysis on State Taxes

December 17, 2010

If you plotted a chart showing that every single day, a rooster crows at dawn and then the sun comes up, would you have proven that the rooster caused the sunrise? Of course not. Unfortunately, some of the “analysis” purportedly showing that state taxes are bad for a state’s economy is similarly lacking in rigor — and can be terribly misleading.

Minnesota Governor’s Race a Victory for Straight Talk

December 10, 2010

Minnesota’s too-close-to-call gubernatorial election was finally resolved this week in favor of Mark Dayton, who won by about 9,000 votes. It marked a victory of candor over wishful thinking on how to address the state’s budget problems.

Ballot Questions Will Have Big Impact on State Services

October 26, 2010

Most of the attention in this election season is going to candidates, but ballot questions in several states will greatly affect these states’ ability to maintain public services. Some of the ballot measures would make it easier for states to balance their budgets without excessive cuts in areas like education and health care. Others would make it much harder.

Proposed Sales Tax Cut Bad for Business, Massachusetts Business Group Says

September 29, 2010

Many people equate a strong state “business climate” with lower taxes. So it’s especially noteworthy that a major business group in Massachusetts has come out against a ballot measure to lower the state’s sales tax.

More Support for a Balanced Approach to State Shortfalls

September 24, 2010

We hear a lot these days about public resentment of government. But a new Idaho poll gives further evidence that, when confronted by the real impact of the record revenue losses that states and localities have suffered due to the recession, Americans favor a balanced approach that includes new revenues instead of just fewer public services.

Closer Look Changes Critic’s Mind on State Fiscal Assistance

August 20, 2010

The day President Obama signed an extension of assistance to states to preserve jobs in education and health care — August 10 — Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said that accepting the money would make his state worse off, since Mississippi would have to take up to $75 million in state funds away from law enforcement, mental health, and other needs to qualify for the federal funds.

Michigan Voters Stand Up for Public Services

August 17, 2010

No state has been hurt more by the recession than Michigan, where unemployment tops 13 percent and home values have plummeted in many areas. So a few days ago, when many communities across the state voted on ballot questions to raise money for local services, the result could only be a disaster for supporters of higher taxes, right?

Much at Stake in Tomorrow’s House Vote on State Aid, Cont.

August 9, 2010

To add to my post this morning, one reason why it’s so urgent for the House to act quickly on state fiscal assistance is to stem the loss of public-sector jobs. In July alone, 48,000 state and local workers lost their jobs, according to Friday’s Labor Department report, including 30,000 men and women in the education field. Some 316,000 public-sector jobs have disappeared over the past two years.

Much at Stake in Tomorrow’s House Vote on State Aid

August 9, 2010

The House of Representatives is expected to vote tomorrow on a measure the Senate approved last week to extend badly needed education and health care assistance for states from last year’s Recovery Act. Here are the amounts each state would lose if the House fails to approve the funding.