This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the federal budget, federal taxes, state budgets, the Earned Income Tax Credit, Social Security, and housing.
On the federal budget, Paul Van de Water explained why a recommendation by Senate Finance Committee Republicans that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction use “dynamic scoring” to estimate the budgetary effects of tax proposals is a bad idea. Kathy Ruffing demonstrated that a recent claim that total U.S. government spending is 41 percent of gross domestic product exaggerates the level of government spending as well as its effect on the economy.
On federal taxes, we highlighted a portion of our conference call with Edward Kleinbard, the former staff director for Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, during which he explained why a proposal Congress is considering for a tax holiday for overseas corporate profits that are “repatriated” to the United States would be a serious mistake. We also featured a video of Chuck Marr and Jared Bernstein further discussing the potentially harmful impact of a repatriation tax holiday.
On state budgets, Liz McNichol noted evidence showing that special tax breaks for seniors, like the one Maine governor Paul LaPage is considering, are not an effective means of attracting wealthy seniors to particular states. Liz also pointed to our new report on how a current services baseline allows for a better assessment of state fiscal health. Meanwhile, Phil Oliff explained why, in light of Governor Cuomo’s refusal to extend a surcharge on high-income New Yorkers, maintaining that surcharge would not drive wealthy New York residents out of the state.
On the Earned Income Tax Credit, Indivar Dutta-Gupta brought to light new research showing that more families than we might think use the EITC, but also that most of them do so for only one to two years at a time.
On Social Security, Kathy Ruffing discussed the upcoming cost-of-living-adjustment that Social Security enrollees will receive in January of 2012.
On housing, Douglas Rice explained the implications of the proposed deep cuts to rental assistance for low-income families in the pending Senate and House budget bills for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.