January 2004 Budget & Tax News

Issue Date: 
January, 2004
Newspaper PDF: 


The January 2004 issue of Budget & Tax News analyzes the December passage of landmark Medicare reform legislation from the perspective of budget and tax experts ... who generally deemed it a budget-busting “huge new unfunded liability,” in the words of Brian Riedl and William Beach of The Heritage Foundation. Twenty-five House Republicans voted against the measure.

Also on page 1:

  • the Social Security Administration’s chief actuary confirmed that a private retirement plan proposed by tax expert Peter Ferrara would achieve permanent solvency for Social Security without benefit cuts or tax increases.
  • a Topeka, Kansas judge in December declared the Kansas school finance system unconstitutional ... and gave state lawmakers until July 1 to fix it.
  • the Internal Revenue Service has launched an investigation into possible federal tax law violations by the National Education Association.

The issue also offers the first in a three-part series on constitutional tax and expenditure limitations (TELs) and addresses a broad range of budget and tax issues: Iraq will get a flat tax on January 1, replacing Saddam Hussein’s tax regime, with tax rates as high as 45 percent; the National Governors Association reports the fiscal crisis in the states is “easing”; California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s fiscal recovery plan will be placed before voters on the March ballot; Oregon voters have launched an effort to repeal an income tax surcharge; Massachusetts ends its ban on Sunday liquor sales; Michigan voters want lawmakers to balance the budget with spending cuts rather than tax increases; the American Farm Bureau Federation testifies in favor of permanent repeal of the death tax ... while Bill Gates’ dad thinks the tax is just fine; Congress shows little interest in budget-cutting measures; and more.

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