State Watch

New England’s Blue-State Blues

By 7.25.14

They call it the “Texas Miracle,” though California doesn’t think there’s anything heavenly about it. Texas’s economic boom, driven by low taxes and a business-friendly regulatory climate under the cocksure leadership of Governor Rick Perry, is the envy of the rest of the country. There’s a running joke that California’s biggest export is its own people, headed straight for the Lone Star State.

But it’s not just California that has the blue-state blues. Outside the West Coast, the most cerulean part of the country is the Northeast, and specifically New England, the six-state region once bound together by Puritan values, now bound together by mandatory sex education classes. But while New England has embraced looser social values, economically it’s a case study in high taxes, obscene spending, and coercive regulations.

Identity Thieves Used TurboTax to Steal Refund, Arizona Woman Says

By on 2.14.14 | 1:02AM

Identity thieves are now targeting taxpayers who file their tax returns online, and one Arizona woman who was victimized says she is frustrated by the response from both the Internal Revenue Service and the providers of TurboTax software.

"Their response is, 'There's nothing we can do about it,'" Kelli Branscomb said, describing her experience trying to get help from TurboTax, being put "on hold for 45 minutes" while trying to reach their customer service representatives. "I told TurboTax, 'The problem is you,' but they accept no responsibility."

Japanese Tea Party Leaders Embrace Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan

By on 2.10.12 | 6:15AM

WASHINGTON, D.C.  -- Herman Cain's famous 9-9-9 tax proposal has inspired international admiration, and two Japanese activists hope to bring their own version of the Atlanta businessman's plan to their country.

During a private meeting Thursday with Tokyo Tea Party leader Yuya Watase and Jikido "Jay" Aeba of Japan's Happiness Realization Party (HRP), Cain agreed to travel to Japan and speak at events to promote the idea.

"I would love to come and address your event in Japan, if that is something that you all would want me to do. . . . I would be honored to do so," Cain told Aeba and Watase, who have organized public rallies against government proposals for higher taxes in Japan.

Cain's 9-9-9 plan helped boost the retired restaurant executive to the top of the polls in October. His proposal -- which would replace the current tax code with 9 percent flat taxes on personal income, corporate income and retail sales -- was praised by the Wall Street Journal  and others who credited Cain's campaign with making tax reform a central focus of the debate among Republican presidential contenders.

Admitting the effects of the Bush tax cuts just to bash them

By on 10.11.11 | 11:48AM

Suzy Khimm of the Washington Post deserves special praise for noting just how much conservatives have done to keep taxes on the poor low (even if it is just to accuse them of hypocrisy). While covering Erick Erickson's "I am the 53 percent" rebuttal to the Occupy Wall Street "I am the 99 percent" cry, she writes that the logic is flawed:

But there is some tension between the site's critique and conservative tax policy. Part of the reason that over 40 percent of Americans don't pay taxes is because of the continual push to lower them - a cause that conservatives have championed. For example, while the Bush-era tax cuts benefited the wealthy, they also lowered taxes at every income level, making it "relatively easy for families of four making $50,000 to eliminate their income tax liability," as the Associated Press notes. Ronald Reagan's tax cuts, similarly, took many lower-income Americans off of the tax rolls, an accomplishment about which the Gipper was quite proud.

Democrats Refuse to Compromise, Demand Tax Increase

By on 6.23.11 | 9:35PM

Excuse me for somewhat re-hashing Joseph Lawler's earlier item on the breakdown of negotiations over the debt ceiling, but I felt there was a need for at least one honest headline about what's really happening here.

Go look through all the reporting on this story and see if you can find anyone describing the impasse in terms of Democrats refusing to compromise. No, the liberal media are slavishly repeating the Democrats' accusation that the problem is with those stubborn right-wing Republicans. Ace of Spades is fed up:

How Regulations Add to the Cost of Government

By on 4.18.11 | 6:15PM

As many of us rush to finish filling out our tax returns, we should remember that what we pay out in taxes -- and how government spends that money -- is only part of what government costs us. 

The cost burden imposed by regulations lies beyond the federal budget, extending the government's reach through mandates and other requirements -- for which many of the costs are borne by the private sector. Regulation acts as a hidden tax that allows government power to grow beyond what legislators explicitly authorize. 

Measuring those costs is difficult, but important. To that end, my CEI colleague Wayne Crews compiles the Ten Thousand Commandments report, an annual survey of the federal regulatory state. In the 2011 edition, released today, he notes how this regulation works to grow the state. 

Re: Census Announcement

By on 12.21.10 | 11:14AM

Americans for Tax Reform had these factoids ready for release when the Census news hit:

An updated study by Americans for Tax Reform compared states gaining and losing Congressional seats in the decennial reapportionment process and found that states gaining seats had significantly lower taxes, less government spending, and were more likely to have "Right to Work" laws in place. Because reapportionment is based on population migration, this is further proof that fiscally conservative public policy spurs economic growth, creates jobs, and attracts population growth.

The Census Bureau announced today that eight states will gain at least one Congressional seat. Texas will gain four seats and Florida will gain two. Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington will gain one seat each. The biggest losers are New York and Ohio - both will lose two seats - while Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania will lose one seat each.

Traditional Values, Presented Untraditionally

By on 9.22.10 | 3:11PM

There are very few traditional values organizations I am aware of that view issues of taxes, spending and clean, accountable government as equally important to be addressed as the social issues. Even less so are there ones that deliver their messages effectively and entertainingly. One of those few is Minnesota Majority, which in the past has weighed in on other topics -- such as global warming and transportation funding -- that are not considered a fit for most traditional values groups. They created some of the best ads on the climate scam in my opinion, which unfortunately few others saw. Where do these Minnesotans get their talent and sense of humor?