TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

CBPP: 33 States Have Raised Taxes by $32 Billion/Year

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has published State Tax Changes in Response to the Recession:

The national recession has had such a devastating effect on state finances that states took in $87 billion less in tax revenue from October 2008 through September 2009 than they collected in the previous 12 months. This 11 percent decline, the steepest on record, resulted from the impact on tax collections of lost jobs, reduced wages, and lowered economic activity.

To recoup lost revenue, states have taken such actions as eliminating tax exemptions, broadening tax bases, and in some cases increasing rates as well as raising a number of fees.  

In 33 states, tax changes are increasing annual revenues, relative to what they otherwise would have collected, by $31.7 billion.

Figure 2

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Comments

What I don't like is how local communities are balancing budgets by shortening the amber light on traffic lights, putting up cameras to issue tickets for running lights, and hiring more traffic cops for the purpose of revenue generation. No, I haven't gotten a ticket, but I had to raise Cain to get one of my son's recinded, when most people would have just paid. I also almost got rear-ended when I stopped quickly at one of those fund-raising intersections, when common sense said to go through.

In another case, there's a town along a major road that collects traffic fines each year at a rate of $2,000 for each resident of the town. Needless to day, their property taxes are low and their police force well staffed.

But, what I've seen from the Georgia Dept of Revenue is a new aggressiveness in seeking out tax avoiders/evaders and with audits. For instance, yesterday I got a call about them wanting TEN years of sales tax returns, with taxes and late penalites, from a guy who does home remodeling and has no reason to file sales tax returns.

It's one thing to assess taxes. It's another thing to abuse citizens to extract more money from them.

Posted by: Woody | Mar 9, 2010 8:33:52 AM

How states get in on the ticket money grab....

A federally funded ticketing blitz in the state of Virginia landed a total of 6996 traffic tickets this weekend. The blitz, dubbed "Operation Air, Land & Speed" coincided with frantic efforts by state officials to close a$2.2 billion budget deficit. Supervisors ordered state troopers to saturate Interstates 81 and 95 to issue as many tickets as humanly possible over the space of two days.

Posted by: Woody | Mar 9, 2010 6:01:24 PM

Yes..indeed tax to DEATH everything to feed the greed of the on the take knuckleheads.

Posted by: Tim | Mar 9, 2010 9:08:06 PM