Rep. Jordan Ulery is keeping N.H.’s business climate open for business

Rep. Jordan Ulery is keeping N.H.’s business climate open for business

Travis Brown talks to Rep. Jordan Ulery at the 2015 ALEC Conference in San Diego. Leery is an 11 year member of ALEC where he comes to learn about fiscal policy from leaders that he can take back to the people of NH. At present, the Granite State’s status as a no-income-tax and no-sales-tax state help it land squarely on the Tax Foundation’s top-ten list of states with the best business climate. It routinely gains wealth and population, particularly from its high-tax neighbors (between 1992 and 2011, the state of Massachusetts alone contributed $3.23 billion in net adjusted gross income to the New Hampshire economy). What’s more, the eyes of the nation will soon be on New Hampshire, given the state’s first-in-the-nation status for the presidential primaries. Undoubtedly, the 2016 presidential contenders will visit New Hampshire multiple times, discussion issues related to tax reform and economic growth. Now is the perfect opportunity for New Hampshire to showcase itself as the pro-growth jewel of New England, with policies that would entice businesses large and small. Otherwise, successful companies and ambitious startups will be looking around for a place where they can truly “live...
The Importance of Rich States, Poor States

The Importance of Rich States, Poor States

  “The big story this year is the bipartisan embrace of state tax cuts,” said Jonathan Williams, Vice President of the ALEC Center for State Fiscal Reform and co-author of Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index. “States are increasingly realizing the need to become more competitive through fiscal responsibility and free market economic reforms. We anticipate 2015 will be a record year for pro-growth tax reform.” Rich States, Poor States examines the latest trends in state economic growth. The data ranks the 2015 economic outlook of states using 15 equally weighted policy variables, including various tax rates, regulatory burdens and labor policies. The eighth edition examines trends over the last few decades that have helped or hurt states’ economies. Used by state lawmakers across America since 2008, Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index, is authored by economist Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, Heritage Foundation Chief Economist Stephen Moore, and Jonathan Williams, Vice President of the American Legislative Exchange Council Center for State Fiscal Reform. To download a copy of Rich States, Poor States and to see individual state data, visit www.alec.org/rsps....
Live free or . . . move to another state?

Live free or . . . move to another state?

  Travis Brown talks to Rep. Kenneth Weyler (NH) at the 2015 ALEC Conference in San Diego. Weyler is a 20 year member of ALEC where he comes to learn about fiscal policy from leaders like Jonathan Williams with Rich States, Poor States that he can take back to the people of NH. At present, the Granite State’s status as a no-income-tax and no-sales-tax state help it land squarely on the Tax Foundation’s top-ten list of states with the best business climate. It routinely gains wealth and population, particularly from its high-tax neighbors (between 1992 and 2011, the state of Massachusetts alone contributed $3.23 billion in net adjusted gross income to the New Hampshire economy). What’s more, the eyes of the nation will soon be on New Hampshire, given the state’s first-in-the-nation status for the presidential primaries. Undoubtedly, the 2016 presidential contenders will visit New Hampshire multiple times, discussion issues related to tax reform and economic growth. Now is the perfect opportunity for New Hampshire to showcase itself as the pro-growth jewel of New England, with policies that would entice businesses large and small. Otherwise, successful companies and ambitious startups will be looking around for a place where they can truly “live...
What’s Right with Kansas Gov. Brownback’s Tax Cuts

What’s Right with Kansas Gov. Brownback’s Tax Cuts

Dave Trabert (Kansas Policy Institute) talks with Travis Brown at the 2015 ALEC Conference in San Diego about what is really going on with the Kansas tax cuts. The stories that most legislators and media hear out of Kansas are simply not true. Self-employments taxes were once as high as 6% and are now ZERO. This means that hundreds of thousand small business owners in the state can now focus on their payroll instead of paying the government more money in taxes. People also try and say that Kansas is trailing the national average in job growth as evidence that the tax plan failed. When in fact, because Kansas was trailing the national average was why taxes were reduced in the first place. Cuts were necessary to reduce decades of stagnation to in fact stimulate job growth. From 1998-2012 private sector jobs only grew at 2% in Kansas, while other states grew at 3.6%. Now in the last two years, even though Kansas is still trailing the national average, they are not digging themselves out of a hole and are in a better place to compete with neighboring states. Evidence from Wealth of States is actually used the Kansas Policy Institute to explain that increasing taxes does not work. States the tax income spend 49% more per resident on services than states that don’t, yet have little to show for it. You cannot spend your way to prosperity. And that’s why we need people like Trabert attending ALEC and leading the pack in explain what the media gets...
Due To Mind-Boggling System, New York City Hires “Taxpayer Advocate”

Due To Mind-Boggling System, New York City Hires “Taxpayer Advocate”

When a city’s tax situation is so complex and burdensome that it has to hire a “taxpayer advocate,” that may be a sign of a problem. Such is the scenario in New York City, where Diana Leyden recently took the helm of an office designed to help taxpayers navigate the convoluted system. New York City Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha explained the position (which he created) this way: “We want to collect the right amount of tax and not a dollar more or a dollar less . . . . If you are going to have your hand in people’s pockets, do it with a smile.” Of course, one could easily make the argument that rather than hiring a $175,000-a-year “taxpayer advocate” to guide citizens through a mind-boggling system, the city could attempt to reform the system itself. New York City is one of the few cities in the nation that levies a separate city income tax on top of the state income tax. If you live in the Big Apple AAPL +0.85%, you pay for the privilege. City income tax rates range from 2.907 percent to 3.648 percent – and that’s on top of a state income tax with a top marginal rate of 8.82 percent. It’s little wonder that The Tax Foundation ranks New York as the second-worst state in the nation when it comes to individual income-tax burden. Even more complex than income tax is the city property tax, which is projected to bring in around $22.3 billion this year. That’s about 40 percent of the total $56.9 billion in city-based tax revenue, and that number is only likely to grow in coming years;...
Ohio is a state trying to turn its economy around.

Ohio is a state trying to turn its economy around.

  Rep. Wes Retherford (OH) talks with Travis Brown at the 2015 ALEC Conference in San Diego about trying to change Ohio’s tax policy to invest in workforce development. When you reward people to work with lower tax rates, you see the results. When Retherford was asked why he was attending ALEC this year he said, “it’s all about jobs and workforce development.” Bringing jobs and businesses back to Ohio has been no small feat. During Gov. Strickland’s tenure, over 400,000 jobs were lost. Thankfully Gov. Kasich started looking at unemployment benefits, just like Gov. McCrory did in North Carolina. Accepting large sums of money from the federal government often carries negative consequences. In 2009, North Carolina began borrowing federal money in order to extend unemployment insurance benefits. The amount owed by the Tar Heel State piled higher and higher – until North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory decided to take some proactive, bold steps regarding both debt and taxation. Now, those steps are yielding impressive and encouraging results. This week Gov. McCrory announced that his state’s $2.75 billion debt to the national government has been paid off (and, notably, $2.5 billion of that daunting sum was paid off during Gov. McCrory’s time as governor). By having job training programs, cutting personal income taxes rate in addition to looking at unemployment benefits, Retherford and Gov. Kasich are getting Ohioans back to...
Oklahoma’s Pathway to Fiscal Prosperity

Oklahoma’s Pathway to Fiscal Prosperity

  Given Oklahoma’s proximity to Texas, one of the nine states in the United States that does not tax personal income, the state was routinely finding itself losing people and jobs to the Lone Star state. All of that started to change in 2004. That year for the first time in over 80 years, Republicans were able to take over the majority in the House of Representatives. For there, the top priority become to cut the state’s income tax rate. During that period, Rep. Kevin Calvey was the Revenue Tax Chairman – or as he likes to call it, the “Revenue Reduction and Tax Relief Chairman” – and helped with an income rate reduction, lowered over 20 percent from 2004 through 2009. Over this period of time, the top marginal rate dropped, in a series of four reductions, from 7.00 percent to 5.50 percent and Oklahoma stopped penalizing citizens and job creators for the right to earn a living. With each drop in the rate, many individuals and organizations in favor of higher government spending rallied against the income tax cuts, claiming income tax cuts would result in less revenue for state government programs. What actually transpired was that Oklahoma saw an increase, both in economic activity and tax revenues, with each of the income tax cuts implemented between 2004 and 2009. You can look at the How Money Walks IRS data to see this shift. “It’s the Grapes of Wrath in reverse – people are leaving California for Oklahoma,” Calvey said. And Oklahoma is now often used as an example for what’s right in the Heartland....
Tax Cuts Keep Florida Working

Tax Cuts Keep Florida Working

Americans are moving to the sunshine state. Rep. Mike Hill (FL) attend the 2015 American Legislative Exchange Council Conference in San Diego and talked to Travis Brown about how Florida recently surpasses New York as 3rd most populous state in the union. With 19.9 million residents, Florida ranks behind two other warm-weather states: California, population 38.8 million; and Texas, 27 million. “What it reflects is a very important milestone and shows really a long-term trend, both in Florida and in other Southern and Western states,” said Stanley Smith, a demographer with the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida. The Sunshine State adds on average 803 residents daily, while the state’s lack of personal income tax -and snow – appeal to retirees, young adults moving there for jobs, Smith said, lead its recent growth. Among U.S. states no place is responsible for more Floridian transplants than New York. Its upstate regions have struggled to generate job opportunities, and in turn the sunshine state has benefitted. In the book How Money Walks, Brown uses IRS data from 1992-2012 to show that Florida gained $19.73 billion in annual AGI from New Yorkers moving south. Rep. Hill knows that Florida’s tax cuts and balanced budget must be maintained to keep Florida competitive. Thanks to his work this past legislative session along side the leadership of Governor Rick Scott and Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Florida is a shining example for the rest of the country to...