Daily Policy Digest

Tax and Spending Issues

Fiscal Condition of the 50 States

Overall, the states in the best fiscal condition are Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming; at the bottom of the list are California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Connecticut and New Jersey...

Progressive Tax Code Not Visible in Tax Expenditures

The top quintile of earners receives 50.6 percent of tax expenditures but pays 94.1 percent of individual income taxes...

Corporate Taxes Have Hidden Costs

Corporate income tax revenue has fallen as a share of federal revenue from 30 percent in the 1950s to around 10 percent today...

What Does It Mean When a Pension Plan Is Funded?

Current accounting rules mean that riskier investments are given higher expected rates of return, so if a plan takes on more risk, it is considered "better funded" than a less risky plan...

Billions Spent on Incorrect Federal Payments Each Year

An Office of Management and Budget study looked at 13 high-error federal programs and found that, in 2012 alone, those programs made $101.3 billion in improper payments...

How Cigarette Taxes Impact Illicit Trade

Rather than reducing cigarette consumption, high cigarette taxes may only shift consumption around to the black market...

Forty-Three States Should See Growth in 2014

Revenues and expenditures are expected to go up in most states in 2014, but only 20 states have reached their pre-recession peaks...

State Sales Taxes and Exemptions

As tax rates rise, lobbying -- and ultimately tax exemptions -- increase, because those facing higher taxes have an incentive to lobby in an effort to get them lowered...

Baby Boomers Get the Most from Social Security

If a worker born between 1943 and 1954 waits until age 70 to claim Social Security benefits, he or she will receive benefits that are 32 percent higher than had the worker claimed at age 66...

Public Pension Reform

Increasing the retirement age to 65 reduces pension costs from 22.5 cents for every dollar of salary to 16.8 cents (a savings of 25.3 percent)...


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