Daily Policy Digest

Tax and Spending Issues

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)...

New Rule Could Cut Into Restaurant Workers' Tips

A new IRS rule now requires that gratuity automatically collected for large parties be added into payroll, which means that workers will have to pay taxes on the tips and wait up to two weeks to get them...

The Cost of New Farm Bill Programs

Agricultural sector profits have increased by more than 100 percent over the last few years, yet the United States continues to provide billions of dollars of support to farmers...

Only Half of State Road Spending Is Covered by Gas Taxes and User Fees

In 2011, state and local governments spent $153 billion on highway, road and street expenses, but raised only $77.1 billion in user fees and user taxes...

Transition Cost Should Not Bar Pension Reform

If the full economic costs of defined benefit plans are accounted for, the costs of shifting to more sustainable models are eliminated...


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