The Leaflet - Tax Day Edition
One of the most dreaded days of the year is approaching … tax day. This year Tuesday, April 17 will be the last day people can file their taxes. It is also the Tax Foundation’s Tax Freedom Day, which calculates that Americans had to work more than a quarter of the year just to pay all the nation’s taxes for the year.
According to the Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day arrives “four days later than last year due to higher federal income and corporate tax collections. That means Americans will work 107 days into the year, from January 1 to April 17, to earn enough money to pay this year’s combined 29.2% federal, state, and local tax bill.”
If Americans were forced to pay the taxes necessary to pay off the $1.014 trillion budget deficit, Tax Freedom Day wouldn’t be until May 14. That means Americans would have to work 27 days just to cover the amount of borrowing due to over-spending our federal government has done for 2012.
The way to help workers work more days for themselves rather than for government is to implement solutions that help government run more efficiently and eliminate unnecessary government spending.
This week’s edition of The Leaflet features research and commentary addressing Tax Freedom Day, energy subsidies, digital learning, municipal wi-fi, state catastrophe funds, and academic drug detailing.
This article from Heartland’s Budget & Tax News looks at Tax Freedom Day. The Tax Foundation says that it “is a vivid, calendar-based illustration of government’s cost, and it gives Americans an easy way to gauge the overall tax take. Conceived by Florida businessman Dallas Hostetler in 1948, he deeded the concept to the Tax Foundation upon his retirement in 1971. In 1990 sufficient data became available to calculate a separate Tax Freedom Day for each state.”
The article goes on to explain how Tax Freedom Day is decided. Joseph Henchman of the Tax Foundation explains, “We assume the nation starts working on January 1, earning the same amount each day and spending nothing. When the nation has finally earned enough to pay all the taxes that will be due for that year, Tax Freedom Day has arrived. This year, Americans will pay $2.62 trillion in federal taxes and $1.42 trillion in state-local taxes, for a total tax bill of 29.2 percent.”
What We're Working On
Sometime in the next few days, Florida Gov. Rick Scott will have to decide whether to sign or veto HB 7117, a multipronged renewable energy and conservation bill that provides tax credits for renewable energy technology investment and renewable fuel infrastructure. If signed and implemented, the bill would cost taxpayers $16 million annually and would redistribute general fund revenue to profit-making corporations, some of which could receive million-dollar payouts for actions they have already taken.
Technology allows families and students greater freedom to finish school more quickly or more slowly depending on each student’s needs; greater freedom to travel and blend learning styles and opportunities; and relief for teachers and schools from many administrative burdens. All of this, digital learning proponents say, allows the best teachers and instruction to reach more students while reducing education costs.
Understanding that freedom to fail is necessary for innovation, proponents of online education generally advocate policymakers create a level playing field for various learning opportunities and provide an appropriate amount of oversight for public funds to ensure excellent options rise and poor options fall.
Two North Carolina municipalities are at odds over funding of one city’s broadband system. The City of Salisbury and the Town of Spencer—both located in Rowan County—will likely wind up in court to settle whether Salisbury possessed authority to borrow $5 million from Spencer’s water and sewer capital reserve fund to help finance Fibrant, the city’s fiber-optic services.
New State-based Approaches to Catastrophe Insurance
Catastrophe-prone states must grapple with issues of both affordability and availability of property insurance, and it’s understandable that lawmakers in these areas should wish to be seen as doing something to address those issues. And so, the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) Property and Casualty Committee is seeking input from a variety of parties, all in hopes of crafting a new and better-informed approach to natural disaster issues. The Heartland Institute’s Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate offers eight bullet-point recommendations.
Policy Tip Sheet - Academic Drug Detailing
In this Policy Tip Sheet, Legislative Specialist Kendall Antekeier discusses academic drug detailing and how it could stifle drug innovation while placing the government between patients and their physicians. The tip sheet is based on a recent policy brief from the Goldwater Institute, “A Pound of Cure: How Academic Detailing Could Limit Access to Pharmaceuticals.” The report can be found here.
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The April issue of Health Care News reports on the controversy greeting the Obama administration’s mandate that all private insurance plans cover the costs of abortifacients, sterilization, and contraceptives.