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Politicians from New York want states to get a big bailout from Uncle Sam. I explained earlier this month that this would be a bad idea. Simply stated, the Empire State is in big trouble because it has a bloated government, not because of the coronavirus. Probably the strongest piece of evidence is that New […]

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I looked last year at how Florida was out-competing New York in the battle to attract successful taxpayers, and then followed up with another column analyzing how the Sunshine State’s low-tax policies are attracting jobs, investment, and people from the Empire State. Time for Round #3. A new article in the Wall Street Journal explains […]

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I used to think Texas vs. California was the most interesting and revealing rivalry among states. It was even the source of some clever jokes and cartoons. But the growing battle between Florida vs. New York may now be even more newsworthy. I wrote last month about how many entrepreneurs, investors and business owners are […]

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I shared data a couple of weeks ago showing that Florida is the freest state in America (for both overall freedom and economic freedom) while New York is in last place (in both categories). Well, it seems that freedom has consequences when people can “vote with their feet.” We’ll start with an op-ed in the […]

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New Jersey is a tragic example of state veering in the wrong direction. Back in the 1960s, it was basically like New Hampshire, with no income tax and no sales tax. State politicians then told voters in the mid-1960s that a sales tax was needed, in part to reduce property taxes. Then state politicians told […]

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New York is ranked dead last for fiscal policy according to Freedom in the 50 States. But it’s not the worst state, at least according to the Tax Foundation, which calculates that the Empire State is ranked #49 in the latest edition of the State Business Tax Climate Index. Some politicians from New York must […]

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Like most libertarians, I’m a bit quirky. Most people, if they watch The Great Escape or Rambo II, cheer when American POWs achieve freedom. I’m happy as well, but I also can’t stop myself from thinking about how I also applaud when a successful taxpayer flees from a high-tax state to a low-tax state. It’s […]

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New Jersey is a fiscal disaster area. It’s in last place in the Tax Foundation’s index that measures a state’s business tax climate. It’s tied for last place in the Mercatus Center’s ranking of state fiscal conditions. And it ranks in the bottom-10 in measures of state economic freedom and measures of unfunded liabilities for […]

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The right kind of tax reform can help people directly and indirectly. They benefit directly if reform reduces their tax burden and gives them more take-home income. They benefit indirectly if reform increases growth and leads to additional pre-tax income. For what it’s worth, I think the indirect impact is most important for family finances, […]

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When companies want to boost sales, they sometimes tinker with products and then advertise them as “new and improved.” In the case of governments, though, I suspect “new” is not “improved.” The British territory of Jersey, for instance, has a very good tax system. It has a low-rate flat tax and it overtly brags about […]

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The racist march in Charlottesville, VA, was awful news. The vehicular murder of a woman by one of the racists is even worse news. The good news is that almost everyone in the nation is united in condemning the marchers. I especially like what Senator Ben Sasse said about how America isn’t an ethnic identity, […]

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If I had to pick my least-favorite tax loophole, the economist part of my brain would select the healthcare exclusion. After all, that special preference creates a destructive incentive for over-insurance and contributes (along with Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, etc) to the third-party payer crisis that is crippling America’s healthcare system. But if I based my […]

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Back in the 1980s and 1990s, there was a widespread consensus that high tax rates were economically misguided. Many Democrats, for instance, supported the 1986 Tax Reform Act that lowered the top tax rate from 50 percent to 28 percent (albeit offset by increased double taxation and more punitive depreciation rules). And even in the […]

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I recently speculated whether Detroit’s fiscal problems should be a warning sign for the crowd in Washington. The answer, of course, is yes, though it’s not a perfect analogy. The federal government is in deep trouble because of unsustainable entitlement programs while Detroit got in trouble because of a combination of too much compensation for […]

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Maybe this means I’m not a nice person (notwithstanding my high score for tenderness in a recent test), but I can’t help but be happy when I read bad news about fiscal policy in high-tax welfare states. And because I’m a huge fan of tax competition, I get even happier when I find out that […]

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I’m periodically dumbfounded by the bizarre actions of government. Indeed, I even put together a post comparing amazingly stupid policies in the United States and United Kingdom. And I later updated that post with new details of brainless bureaucracy. Top U.K. entries included an effort to stop children from watching Olympic shooting events and (what must be) […]

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I may have to stop being a New York Yankees fan. The state of my birth is a national embarrassment. People in the Empire State are national champions in the contest to rip off their fellow citizens according to analysis from USA Today. West Virginia, however, is the biggest deadbeat state if handouts are compared […]

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Barack Obama wants higher tax rates on the so-called rich, including steeper levies on income, capital gains, dividends, and even death! Along with other greedy politicians in Washington, he acts as if successful taxpayers are like sheep meekly awaiting slaughter. In reality, class-warfare tax policies generally backfire because of the five reasons outlined in this […]

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A sportswriter at NBA.com explains how higher tax rates will make it even more attractive for professional athletes to sign with teams from zero-income tax states such as Florida and Texas. This is good news if you cheer for the Miami Dolphins or Texas Rangners. But if you support teams from high-tax states, you should […]

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Even though my 2020 prediction for the presidential race was much more accurate than my 2016 prediction, I’m definitely a policy wonk rather than a political pundit. That being said, I’m very interested in elections because voting patterns eventually can translate into policy changes. And some of the voting patterns from Tuesday were rather surprising. […]

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When I opine about class-warfare taxation, I generally focus on the obvious argument that it’s not a good idea to penalize people for creating prosperity. This argument against punitive tax policy is based on the fact that entrepreneurs, investors, business owners, and other successful people can choose to reduce their levels of work, saving, investment, […]

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Back in July, I wrote a three-part series designed to identify the states with the greediest politicians. Part I was based on the top income tax rate in each state. Part II was based on the sales tax rate in each state. Part III was based on the burden of government spending in each state. […]

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One of the problems with state balanced budget requirements is that tax revenues are very sensitive to economic conditions. Boom Years: When there’s robust economic growth, politicians collect unanticipated revenue because more people have good jobs and more businesses are earning money. And what do politicians do when this happens? They spend a big chunk […]

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I’ve written favorably about the pro-growth policies of low-tax states such as Texas, Florida, and Tennessee, while criticizing the anti-growth policies of high-tax states such as Illinois, California, and New York. Does that mean we should conclude that “red states” are better than “blue states”? In this video for Prager University, Steve Moore says the […]

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According to the Fraser Institute’s calculations of overall economic freedom, Delaware apparently has the worst politicians and New Hampshire has the best ones. According to comprehensive estimates of economic liberty in Freedom in the 50 States, New York’s politicians seem to be the worst and Florida’s are the best. But what if we focus just on fiscal policy? […]

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On election day, most people focus on the big-ticket partisan battles, such as this year’s contest between Trump and Biden. Let’s not forget, though, that there are sometimes very important referendum battles at the state (or even local) level. In 2019, I was very pleased when Colorado voters upheld their state’s TABOR spending cap. In […]

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Milton Friedman was one of the the 20th century’s greatest defenders of capitalism and individual freedom. He had marvelous insights on issues such as fiscal policy, Sweden, tax competition, and other people’s money, but one of my favorite Friedman quotes is about the role of business. This should be non-controversial, but we need to remember […]

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Two days ago, I looked at top income tax rates for the various states. Yesterday, I shared the data for the states on sales tax rates. The big takeaway from those two sources of data is that California politicians are very greedy. But are they the greediest politicians in the country? What if we also […]

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Yesterday, in Part I of our series about greedy state politicians, we looked at top income tax rates. The worst state, not surprisingly, was California with a top tax rate of 13.3 percent. This onerous tax rate, combined with low-quality government and absurd levels of red tape, helps to explain why so many people have […]

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When considering which state has the greediest politicians, the flippant (but understandable) answer is to say “all of them.” A more serious way of dealing with that question, though, is to look at overall rankings of economic policy. According to the Fraser Institute, we can assume that Delaware apparently has the worst politicians and New […]

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