State/Local Feed

Alaska is notable for many things, especially when it comes to taxes. The Last Frontier is the only state that does not have an individual income tax or collect a state-levied sales tax. Instead, Alaska relies primarily on oil money to keep its coffers full. Oil rig drilling in Alaska's deep snow (circa 1940–1970). Photo courtesy Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks That personal petroleum reserve, however, is dropping. And that means the 49th state is considering some potentially painful tax changes. Alaska's costly oil subsidies: There's already talk about scaling back the subsidies the state offers oil... Read more →


I can tell the holidays are just around the corner. I'm getting, and making, lots of call about our Thanksgiving and Christmas plans. In most cases, the phone conversations are on my and my relatives' cell phones. We are not alone. Wireless service is becoming the sole means of telephone communication for a growing number of Americans. Surveys by the Centers for Disease Control found that at the end of 2014, more than 44 percent of all adults relied solely on mobile phones. The percentage is even greater, more than 59 percent, among lower income individuals. Cellular taxes at all... Read more →


The Browns are in Pittsburgh today. That's good news for Cleveland tax officials. On this given Sunday, they don't have to worry about taxing visiting National Football League players. Cleveland officials are revising their jock tax system, through which they've collected money from athletes and entertainers who've come into town to perform over the years. The city lost a court battle over its jock tax methodology and could end up refunding, by one estimate, as much as $2.4 million to previously taxed NFL players. Before it was challenged, Cleveland had taken its tax portion from visiting pro footballers' pockets based... Read more →


The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. This specific commemoration marked the armistice between World War I's Allied forces and Germany ending the fighting on the Western Front at precisely 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. The poppy was adopted as the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1922. The date has held firm, withstanding the penchant here in the United States to shift holidays to Mondays to create three-day weekends. But its focus was expanded in 1954. That year Congress, at the urging of veterans service organizations, Armistice Day became Veterans... Read more →


One Colorado county is looking to change the traditional linkage of college kids and pot. At a story/suspected crime scene in my first post-college reporter job, smoking Marlboro Lights, not marijuana! Starting in 2017, Pueblo County high school graduates will be eligible for college scholarships funded by money from the local marijuana tax. Wisdom thanks to weed taxes: On Nov. 3, around 60 percent of voters in this county south of Colorado Springs approved a ballot measure that will gradually increase taxes on marijuana growers. The county pot tax rate will top out at 5 percent by 2020. Pueblo County... Read more →


I'm a little slow posting today. I had to go vote. Have you been to your polling place yet? If not, you need to get out and make your voice heard. Most polling stations are open until 7 p.m. local time. Not only is public participation at the polls key to our democracy, it's also an important tax move for voters in some states. State tax questions on some ballots: Here in Texas, we're deciding on three tax initiatives. The biggie is a proposal to hike the residential homestead property tax exemption from $15,000 to $25,000. Most eyes, however, are... Read more →


Michael Myers, the masked slasher who terrorizes towns and teens on Halloween, obviously loves Oct. 31. Michael Myers of "Halloween" film infamy is thrilled that Oct. 31 is finally here. Click image to see his happy dance. Since the original "Halloween" movie debuted at the end of October 1978 (I was in one of those packed theaters in Lubbock, Texas), 10 sequels have followed, most of them involving franchise creator John Carpenter. It cost Carpenter and crew around $300,000 almost four decades ago to bring the terror of Michael Myers to the big screen. The trademark mask the character wears... Read more →


The Republican governor of Massachusetts has signed a petition that, if successful, would let his state's voters decide if they want to tax millionaires more. Gov. Charlie Baker told WGBH public radio earlier this month that although he personally hasn't yet decided whether he supports a surtax on high-income taxpayers, he does believe that voters should get a say on the idea. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker in the WGBH studios on Oct. 15. Photo by Meredith Nierman/WGBH News. Click image to listen to the interview. Such direct democracy efforts are becoming even more popular. As I note in my story... Read more →


It's the big day for New York and Kansas City baseball fans. If you're among them and looking to pick up a ducat to see the Royals host the Mets at Kauffman Stadium tonight in the first game of the 2015 World Series, be prepared to pay. And be prepared to pay a lot more when the series moves to Citi Field in the Big Apple. The hubby and I bought scalped tickets to a World Series game. The reseller actually wasn't asking too terribly much and did I mention it was to see a World Series game?! Being a... Read more →


It's no secret that I'm a big football fan. I prefer the NFL because I like to yell at my teams and the players, and it just doesn't seem right to berate college kids, even if they can't hear me shouting at my TV. I do, however, appreciate the special energy and enthusiasm that college gridiron match-ups generate. The Ohio State-Rutgers game this past Saturday is a perfect example. The Scarlet Knights knew it was a big game, probably their biggest one this year, going up against top-ranked Ohio State. Staying true to your school: So some Rutgers' fan took... Read more →


It breaks my heart as a fan to say this, but professional sports is business. That's true not just for the owners, who look for ways to squeeze every penny out of their teams, but also for the players. I've ranted and raved and yes, cried like a little girl, as I've watched my favorite players take the money and run to other teams. Game opening face-off between the Washington Capitals and New Jersey Devils on Feb. 21, 2013. The Caps lost 2-3, but the hubby and I enjoyed seeing our team skate again. Photo by Kay Bell. In every... Read more →


When Donald Trump finally released his tax plan on Sept. 28, he included a provision he says would encourage U.S. based-companies to companies to bring their overseas earnings -- and jobs and tax payments -- home. Companies nowadays operate, and pay taxes, well beyond the boundaries of the county in which they are headquartered. Image by Effervescent Me via Flickr. Trump's proposal for a one-time repatriation of corporate cash held abroad at a discounted 10 percent tax rate is nothing new. One of his GOP presidential nominee competitors, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, previously released his tax plan that calls... Read more →


October is here, finally bringing with it colorful leaves and cooler Fall weather. OK, not so much here in Central Texas, where temperatures insist on hovering in the mid-90s, around 10 degrees above normal. Photo of a colorful park in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada by Paul Bica courtesy Flickr Creative Commons. Much more certain than the weather during this first full month of Autumn is the key tax deadline of Oct. 15. That date is, of course, when procrastinators must finally send in their prior year's tax return. It's also the due date for other important, and tax-related, retirement moves. Here's... Read more →


Online sales tax collection is about to cross the halfway mark. On Thursday, Oct. 1, Michigan will become the 26th state in which Amazon will collect sales tax. Amazon box photo by MikeBlogs via Flickr The Seattle-based online retail giant, however, isn't the only company affected. Michigan operations, taxes: Michigan's new Main Street Fairness Act that takes effect tomorrow applies to all Internet retailers with a presence in the Great Lakes State. The affected businesses will be required to collect and remit to the Michigan Department of the Treasury the state's 6 percent sales tax on all purchases made by... Read more →


Attention Maryland residents. If you paid taxes to another state between 2011 and 2014 and were denied a tax credit for your county piggyback taxes against the out-of-state payments, the Old Line State is now handing back the money you're due. Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, behind podium, and Gov. Larry Hogan held a press conference Sept. 28 to announce creation of a special online site to help taxpayers get the county tax credits ordered earlier this year by the U.S. Supreme Court. Photo by Joe Andrucyk via Maryland Governor's Office Photo Gallery. In May, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that... Read more →


Do you regularly give to charities? Do your neighbors? That's probably the case if you live in Utah. A new study by the American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC, found that between 1997 and 2012 residents of the Beehive State donated the most to charity as a percentage of their total income. William Freeland, an ALEC research analyst, talks with the Wall Street Journal about "The Effects of State Taxes on Charitable Giving," the group's new study that he coauthored. Click image to see the full video interview. The other top 10 states as far as percentage of income... Read more →


The ubiquitous ads for fantasy sports companies have attracted some unintended attention. Rep. Frank Pallone, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, wants that panel to explore exactly fantasy sports differ from gambling. It's a question that literally hits home for Pallone's constituents. The Democratic Congressman represents New Jersey, which has been fighting to make sports betting legal in the Garden State. Supporters of the effort, which was approved by state voters, is seen as another way to bring tourism and tax revenue to the state, particularly Atlantic City and the state's racetracks. Now, in a letter to... Read more →


Georgia's fuel taxes went up in July. The transportation bill that created the new tax also continued the cities' or counties' authority to impose their own 1 percent sales tax at the pump. That new tax money now has sparked a lawsuit. The Georgia Motor Trucking Association, F&W Transportation and Prolan Logistics aren't challenging the actual taxes. Rather, the suit that was filed on behalf of the trucking industry contends that the transportation tax money isn't being legally spent. Georgia truckers want transportation tax money to be used only for road projects. Photo courtesy Wikimedia. The class action lawsuit argues... Read more →


Every state collects some type of tax. That means some taxpayers in all states end up in tax trouble. And to help residents out of those tax predicaments, and simultaneously add missing money to state treasuries, they offer tax amnesties. While many folks who pay taxes in full and on time view tax amnesties as unfair, tax collectors are more pragmatic. In order to get the owed tax money sooner and without costly enforcement actions, states (and often municipalities and/or counties) offer their residents a chance to pay their overdue taxes and avoid penalties and interest. Six states kicked off... Read more →


You've got to give it to Alabama lawmakers. They don't mess around when they talk about sin taxes. Oh sure, the Alabama House Ways and Means Committee OK'ed a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax hike. But nicotine addiction is just a minor sin. And that tax was just a preview. The state's tax-writing committee last week also approved a 40 percent excise tax on pornographic materials. Alabama isn't censoring adult material, but some lawmaker do want to tax it heavily to help close the state's budget shortfall. You read right. Forty. 4-0. The size of the proposed tax and its titillating target... Read more →