Minnesota cigarette taxes have a predictable effect: increased sales in North Dakota.

This would be less interesting

If you’re a smoker living in Minnesota near the North Dakota border, you’ve undoubtedly discovered that you can save a lot by driving a little. Since Minnesota’s cigarette tax jumped by around $1.50 a pack on July 1st, tobacco wholesalers have noticed a dramatic drop in sales.

…if it didn’t illustrate the fact that tax enthusiasts simply do not seem to understand that the linked American traits of casual physical mobility and nigh-genetic tendency to go look for loopholes reliably act as a potent counter to busybodies.  I mean, I could have easily told you that a buck-fifty per pack price difference would be enough to encourage people to hop across the state border and buy their smokes there: this sort of thing happens everywhere that’s within half an hour of a state border. Cigarettes, booze, fireworks, gambling… I assume that if another state ever formally legalizes brothels the establishment will end up setting up shop as close to the state line (while being accessible via the interstate) as is humanly possible. Continue reading Minnesota cigarette taxes have a predictable effect: increased sales in North Dakota.

*Can* the LA Dodgers dodge California’s new taxes?

Interesting thing from the LAT Times here about revenue sharing between Major League Baseball and the LA Dodgers.  Background: MLB teams are supposed to toss in a third of their local TV revenue into a pot so that smaller-market ball clubs can get a piece of the national pie.  This actually makes pragmatic sense; smaller clubs get a revenue stream, and larger clubs don’t have to worry so much that the next city over will get a baseball franchise that will be competing for the same fans.  However, technology marches on, and with it new wrinkles.  Case in point: Continue reading *Can* the LA Dodgers dodge California’s new taxes?

Phil Mickelson hints tax changes may spur career change.

Alternate title: Golf Great Going Galt?

Let me use short words, here*: if you want less of something, tax it.  Because if you tax it, you will get less of it:

On the day President Obama was sworn in for his second term, [top professional golfer Phil] Mickelson sent shock waves through the Humana Challenge when he said the political landscape in the United States was causing him to seriously contemplate his future in golf.


“If you add up all the federal and you look at the disability and the unemployment and the Social Security and state, my tax rate is 62, 63 percent,” Mickelson said. “So I’ve got to make some decisions on what to do.”


In December, Mickelson, who was part of a group that had bought the San Diego Padres four months earlier, abruptly announced that he was no longer involved in the business deal. His reversal came shortly after California voters approved Proposition 30, which imposed a 13.3 percent tax rate on incomes of more than $1 million.

Asked Sunday if the election results played a role in his decision to sever his ties with the Padres’ ownership group, Mickelson replied, “Yeah, absolutely.”

Continue reading Phil Mickelson hints tax changes may spur career change.

End the state/local tax deduction!

I’m with Instapundit and National Review Online: if you’re a Democrat talking tax hikes and you are NOT talking about ending the deduction of state/local taxes from federal returns, then you are simply NOT being serious on fiscal responsibility.  Particularly since it’s a tax that mostly avoids the middle class (NRO worked it out as “households in the $200,000-and-up range would pay an average of $5,166 more without the deduction, while those in the $30,000-to-$50,000 range would pay only $70 more”).  But, of course, if that happens then a lot of high-tax states – which, shock! Surprise! vote Democratic – are likely to discover that their constituents will suddenly have a remarkably different (and more jaundiced) view over what exactly constitutes a reasonable state/local income tax burden.

Which should not stop the GOP from taking this policy initiative, smiling nicely at the Democrats, and folding said initiative until it’s all corners…

Moe Lane

PS: Actually, I live in a high-tax Blue state. So Democrats don’t even have that excuse for being so regressive about this, the greedy piglets.

Democrats poised to raise taxes… on their own voters.

You go ahead and shoot that hostage, Democrats.

Let me sum up this New Geography article (via Instapundit):

  • Top states with most $250K households: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Washington DC.
  • Top metro areas with most $250K households: Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, San Jose, Washington DC.
  • States with highest average housing values / mortgages: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, New York, Washington DC.
  • Metro areas with highest average housing values / mortgages: Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco.
  • States with the highest percentage of people taking itemized deductions: California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Washington DC.

Continue reading Democrats poised to raise taxes… on their own voters.

End the state/local income tax deduction! #fairshare #sharedsacrifice

Charles Lane (no relation) makes the obvious point:

What the deduction does is enable higher-income states and localities to tax — and spend — more than they otherwise would, while shifting some of the cost to other states. It also encourages them to collect revenue in forms that are easier to deduct on federal returns.

Two states, California and New York, reaped almost 30 percent of the deduction’s value in 2009, the latest year for which I could find Internal Revenue Service data. Other states that benefit disproportionately include Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts and Maryland.

I’m arguing against interest here, by the way.  My taxes would go up.  I assume, so would Charles’.  And so would about 3/4ths of the Media elite’s, which is why you’re going to see a lot of people in print and broadcast journalism get the vapors over this.  These folks are on the sweet side of a wealth transfer, after all.

…Which is something that they should be disclosing, mind you.

Moe Lane

President Obama: ‘encouraging’/planning to tax into oblivion start-up businesses.

Never mind the fact that Obama got yoghurt splashed on him last night – that’s just an ongoing hazard of being a politician running for re-election in this country. The real story here is this: the President went to Colorado to, essentially, lie to a bunch of kids about how they can get themselves out of this mess that they’re in.  And it is a mess.  50% of college graduates are unemployed/underemployed; couple that with student loan debt levels that should really be frightening more people and we end up with a situation where millions of kids are getting out of college and staring DOOM right in the face.  And while they are adults – and thus, responsible for their own fates – guess what?  The people that connived to put them in this mess are adults, too.  We expect twenty-somethings in this culture to make poor life choices, sometimes; what we don’t expect is for the generations above them to so ruthlessly take advantage of that.

Anyway: Obama’s answer in Colorado, last night? …Entrepreneurship. That’s what he was telling the kids. Start that restaurant! Develop that smartphone app!  Make your own destiny!  Get slammed with a tax hike on small businesses in the form of tighter restrictions on payroll tax exemptions!

…Yeah.  One of these things is not like the others.

Continue reading President Obama: ‘encouraging’/planning to tax into oblivion start-up businesses.