Idaho: State Rep. Jason Monks is proposing to kill off property taxes with a 5-percentage point increase in the sales tax — a move that would take the statewide rate all the way up to around 11 percent.
“I call it a thought grenade; we threw it out there and wanted to see how it went and how it works and what the problems are,” said Monks, via KTVB, who also called the property tax “an evil tax” that “dates back to the dark ages or middle ages.”
Idaho lawmakers are examining short-term property tax measures this legislative session, but Monks says he doesn’t want his more long-term plan to overshadow those ideas.
Kentucky: Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky, a Democrat who unseated a Republican incumbent last year, has rolled out a budget calling for some $1.5 billion in new revenue in order to reverse a string of spending cuts over recent years, The Lexington Herald-Leader reports. Perhaps most prominently, Beshear is calling for increasing the cigarette tax by 10 cents per pack and installing a new 10-cent per milliliter tax on vaping products, as well as for relying on new fees and taxes from sports betting. And there’s more: The governor called for a higher minimum tax on limited liability entities, from $175 to $225 a year to account for inflation, and for spending close to $14 million a year on new staff and computers for the state revenue department to improve tax collections.
Nebraska: State Sen. Steve Erdman is proposing to scrap both income and property taxes in the state, to be paid for with a new consumption tax of 10.6 percent . “This is thinking outside the box on steroids,” Erdman said, via KETV, of the constitutional resolution he introduced with nine other senators. The tax proposed by Erdman would only be imposed on purchases of new items, exempting products like used cars, but would have no further exemptions. Families would also get $1,000 payments to try to ease the blow of the new tax on lower-income people.
Virginia: Gov. Ralph Northam is proposing to increase the state’s gas tax as he pushes for a $3.7 billion rail initiative and other projects, The Washington Post reports. The gas tax hike itself — 4 cents a gallon for three years, after which the levy would be pegged to inflation — would add up to about $1 billion over a four-year span. Northam’s fellow Democrats in the legislature, now back in control, are sounding open to the idea, too — giving momentum to a potential first gas tax increase in Virginia in more than three decades, a sea change from just seven years ago when a Republican governor proposed scrapping the state gas tax altogether.
Washington: A group of Washington state lawmakers want to allow King County, home to Seattle, to levy a new tax on bigger businesses paying high salaries, The Seattle Times reports. The measure would allow the county to impose a tax between 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent on the amount that most companies with more than 50 employees pay to staffers making at least $150,000 a year. Top officials in Seattle, including Mayor Jenny Durkan, are pushing the tax — which they say could raise as much as $121 million a year — in their latest effort to raise new funds for affordable housing and to battle homelessness. Back in 2018, Seattle enacted a head tax on big business to finance new initiatives in those areas, but quickly repealed it under pressure from Amazon and others.
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