The gubernatorial race in Iowa pits veteran incumbent Terry Branstad (R) against challenger Jack Hatch (D). Branstad, 67, is asking Iowa voters to reelect him to an unprecedented sixth term as governor; if he wins, he will be the longest-serving governor in American history. In addition to his career in political office, Branstad has been an attorney, financial advisor, and president of Des Moines University. Hatch, 64, is a state senator from Des Moines and a former member of the Iowa House of Representatives. He is a real estate developer and businessman who founded Hatch Development Group, a company that builds affordable housing.
Today the Senate Finance Committee discussed corporate inversions and other problems with the U.S. corporate tax code but showed no signs of bipartisan agreement on a solution.
The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy published a report on Monday highlighting a disturbing trend that's made inroads even in solidly progressive states over the past year: the weakening or complete dismantling of state estate taxes. Three states - Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio - repealed their estate or inheritance tax in 2013, bringing the total number of states still maintaining their own estate or inheritance tax down to only 19, plus the District of Columbia. Seven other traditionally Democratic states plus D.C. sapped the potency of their tax, either seeing their exemption levels increase in 2013-2014 or passing legislation calling for future increases.
Abbott Labs CEO Miles White is shocked that anyone would see the recent wave of U.S. multinationals seeking to renounce their U.S. citizenship as a tax dodge.
In a July 18 Wall Street Journal op-ed, White suggests that there are no tax benefits to inversion: "Inversion doesn't change a company's tax rate. A company pays the same tax rate in the U.S. after inversion as it does before inverting. A company also pays the same tax rates in foreign domiciles before and after inversion," he wrote.
More bad news for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. In a stunning development, over 100 current and former Republicans endorsed Brownback’s Democratic challenger, Congressman Paul Davis. The group “Republicans for Kansas Values” includes state legislators, mayors and RNC delegates, among others....
Does the 113th Congress live for an adrenaline rush? The current debate over the nation's highway trust fund might lead one to think so.
As has been widely reported, the federal Highway Trust Fund, which is supposed to provide a steady stream of long-term funding for the nation's highway infrastructure, is projected to be depleted by early August, rendering the federal government incapable of paying for hundreds of current and pending infrastructure projects. In anticipation of this rapidly-approaching deadline, the federal Department of Transportation has sketched a contingency plan that would cut federal transportation spending by 28 percent while idling vital infrastructure projects around the nation.
The outcome of the governor's race in Illinois will have major and immediate implications on the state's ability to provide adequate funding for education, health care, transportation and other important services.
The context for this heated race is especially important. The state currently has one of the nation's most regressive tax systems, applying the same income tax rate to minimum wage workers and millionaires. To make matters worse, the state's temporary 5 percent income tax rate is set to fall to 3.75 percent in January leaving the state with a $2 billion budget gap.
Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina has a fix for the state's sorry highway finances, but she can't let us in on the secret until after Election Day.
Haley's state has more than 66,000 miles of public roads, "one of the highest per capita totals in the nation," according to The Herald, and 40 percent of them are in poor or mediocre condition. More than a fifth of the state's bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. South Carolina leads the nation in fatalities on rural roads, due in part to their appalling maintenance. State officials estimate that an additional $1.5 billion is needed each year for the next 20 years just to make the roads adequate.
In an astonishing shift, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has moved beyond calling his tax cuts a great "real live experiment" and is instead likening the state to a medical patient, saying, "It's like going through surgery. It takes a while to heal and get growing afterwards." Clearly the Governor is feeling the heat of passing two years of regressive and expensive tax cuts. Here's a great piece from the Wichita Eagle highlighting the state's fiscal drama.
Somehow, arguments that conservative lawmakers usually make about not interfering with the economy and respecting states' rights have fallen silent as Congress rushes to pass a bill that provides special treatment for the Internet, an industry that has grown very profitable and powerful.