Monday, April 30, 2007
Brian D. Galle (Florida State) has posted Salt in Their Wounds? Irrationality, Unfunded Mandates, and the AMT, 106 Mich. L. Rev. ___ (2007), on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
By sheer dollars alone, the largest impact of the Alternative Minimum Tax (“AMT”) lies in its denying to many taxpayers the deduction otherwise permitted to them under section 164 of the Tax Code, the deduction for the taxes they paid to their state and local governments. It is odd, then, that the debate over the fairness of the AMT largely neglects close consideration of the merits of section 164. This Article aims to remedy that oversight, offering a fine-grained analysis of the impact on the overall fairness of the tax system of repeal or, in the case of the AMT, creeping partial repeal, of section 164. The fairness of a federal deduction for state and local tax rests on the underlying fairness of the state and local tax itself. Therefore I offer, I believe for the first time, a close examination of how newly-understood limits on taxpayer mobility and rationality might affect individuals' choices of bundles of local taxes and local government services, which in turn informs our assessment of the “fairness” of those exchanges. Another original contribution here is the Article's efforts to track the reciprocal benefits and burdens that flow between state and local governments -- again, although the intergovernmental flow of billions of dollars surely impacts the overall fairness of a local government, there has been no scholarly treatment of that question. Finally, I note that section 164, and therefore the AMT, can have serious effects on federal-state relations, so that the debate over the AMT is in many ways a debate not only over fairness, but also about federalism.