off the charts

You are here

Going for Broke in Kansas

June 5, 2013

Kansas legislators passed a plan this past weekend to drain the state’s reserves, cut taxes for the rich, raise taxes for many lower-income families, and slash education in the process.  The state is on a path to ruin unless it changes course.

The new budget is designed to move the state toward Governor Sam Brownback’s stated goal of totally repealing the income tax. ...

Top Five State Tax Charts

April 15, 2013

To accompany our Top 10 Federal Tax Charts, here are five charts focusing on state tax issues.

First, let’s look at what state taxes pay for.  By far the largest areas of state spending, on average, are education (both K-12 and higher education) and health care, as the first chart, below, shows. ...

Four Governors Whose Radical Tax Plans Have Taken a Beating (and Why They’re Not Giving Up Yet)

April 12, 2013

Governors who proposed major radical and unsound tax proposals this year, including Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, Ohio’s John Kasich,...

Economics of Risky Tax Proposals Don’t Add Up

March 29, 2013

A Wall Street Journal op-ed recycled some of the oft-repeated — and off-base — claims about how taxes affect a state’s economy.

In this piece yesterday, Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore suggest that...

States Face Four Big Budget Threats

February 14, 2013

We rely on states and localities to provide public services like education, health care, and infrastructure that lay the groundwork for a prosperous future.  But as we describe in a new paper, four serious challenges threaten their ability to pay for those programs.

  1. The most severe recession
  2. ...

State and Local Tax Systems Disproportionately Burden Lower-Income Families

January 30, 2013

We warned last week that a number of state proposals to swap their income taxes for sales taxes would be ill-advised.  Those proposals would only worsen tax systems that are already highly regressive, as a new report from the...

Big Cuts Already Baked In for Federal Grants to States and Localities

December 17, 2012

The new Fiscal Survey of States from the National Governors Association and National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) warns, correctly, that state finances are too weak to absorb big cuts in federal grants for education, health care, disaster preparedness, and other services that...

States’ “High-Stakes Bazaar” of Corporate Tax Breaks

December 4, 2012

An oft-overlooked source of many states’ and localities’ financial problems is their overuse of corporate tax subsidies to try to attract and keep businesses.  In a must-read three-part series, the New York Times connects the dots between lucrative tax breaks for corporations and the...

Voters Refuse to Tie Their Hands on State Revenues

November 8, 2012

Voters on Tuesday considered a host of ballot measures on tax and budget issues, but the most important from a long-term perspective may have been those in Florida, Michigan and New Hampshire.  All three states rejected major constitutional amendments that would have handcuffed their ability to...

The State and Local Drag on the Recovery

June 8, 2012

President Obama pointed out this morning that job losses among state and local governments are slowing the recovery.  The graph shows what he’s talking about:  states and localities have shed 662,000 jobs since employment in this area peaked in August 2008. ...