State/Local Feed

Donald J. Trump, as the huge signage on his buildings demonstrates, loves his surname. But a smaller Trump representation is about to be dismantled. The honorary identifier on Chicago's Wabash Avenue went up in 2006 while the Trump Tower was under construction down the road. The 92-story high-rise at 401 N. Wabash Avenue bearing Trump's name was completed in 2009. Chicago Alderman Brendan Reilly initiated the effort to remove the city street sign that recognizes the Trump Tower in the Windy City. The now-offending marker bears the street's original name, Wabash Avenue, along with a slightly smaller second honorary plate... Read more →


Donald Trump kicked off his ultimately successful bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination with an attack on Mexicans who enter the United States without proper authorization. A small fence separates densely-populated Tijuana, Mexico (right), from the San Diego, California, sector of the U.S. Border Patrol. The building in the foreground on the San Diego side is a sewage treatment plant built to clean the Tijuana River. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Gordon Hyde via Wikipedia) Although he's vacillated at times as the campaign has progressed, many Trump supporters are still firmly behind his initial call for a... Read more →


No, we still haven't seen Donald Trump's federal tax returns. Donald Trump shared this photo on his Twitter account last October of him signing what he said was his 2015 federal tax return. However, it was old state returns that have given us a glimpse into the Republican presidential candidate's tax bills. The information about his $916 million business loss in 1995 comes from state tax returns filed with New York, New Jersey and Connecticut for that year and which were obtained by the New York Times. While that yuge loss could have, as the Times notes, served as a... Read more →


Gasoline prices were amazingly low this past summer. One reason that drivers nationwide paid less at the pump was that state gasoline excise taxes also were down. Incredibly cheap gas at HEB in Marble Falls, Texas, earlier this year. The average state gas tax across the United States was 20.72 for the second quarter of the year. That was 16 cents per gallon less than earlier in the year. But that's about to change in one of the low gas tax states. Big N.J. gas tax hike imminent: New Jersey is set to hike its gas tax by 23 cents.... Read more →


Sweeping western vistas don't get much grander than those found in Wyoming. Wyoming has lots of space for wildlife, like these horses spotted along the Flaming Gorge Green River Basin scenic byway, and businesses looking for a friendly tax climate. (Photo courtesy Wyoming Travel) But the Cowboy State also is pretty expansive when it comes to taxes. Once again, Wyoming has been found by Tax Foundation analysts to have the best business tax climate. The state has earned that top ranking since at least 2012. In coming up with its annual State Business Tax Climate Index standings, the Washington, D.C.-based... Read more →


I'm raising my third cup to celebrate National Coffee Day. I must admit, though, that I tend to follow my grandmother's tastes when it comes to this caffeinated beverage. Like her, I prefer a little coffee in my milk. A bit blurry because I hadn't had enough cups o' Joe before I took this! And that apparent facial profile in the cup is totally accidental! But even drinking what hardcore coffee aficionados consider a diluted drink, it's enough to keep me going as I read, research, write and blog about taxes. And that's fitting, since coffee does indeed have some... Read more →


I'm a bit slow today. I got up at O'dark-thirty to catch a flight home from San Diego, California, where I had spent four fantastic days at FinCon, an annual conference of fellow financial bloggers and other money and media folks. View from my San Diego FinCon hotel room last week. I almost -- almost -- didn't come home! It's a great opportunity to learn best practices, pick up tips (for stories, blog posts and growing your business), meet people you've only known heretofore online, make new friends and reconnect with old ones. And, almost best of all, the business... Read more →


Place your Amazon orders soon D.C. residents. On Oct. 1, the Seattle-based giant e-commerce operation will begin tacking the District of Columbia's 5.75 percent sales tax onto most purchases delivered to District buyers. Amazon box photo by MikeBlogs via Flickr That will bring to 29 the number of jurisdictions across the United States in which Amazon will collect sales tax. Amazon's further incursion into nation's capital: "Amazon will be required to collect sales tax in Washington, D.C. beginning on October 1," according to a statement Amazon emailed to D.C.'s news radio station WTOP. The company would not elaborate further. Neither... Read more →


If you follow celebrity news, you've already heard about the impending dissolution of the marriage of one of Hollywood's highest profile couples. Angelina Jolie is seeking a divorce from her husband of two years, Brad Pitt. Brangelina's divorce likely will be much more difficult than separating their Madame Tussaud wax representations. (Photo by Cliff via Flickr) I'll leave it to the internet and tabloids, both print on television versions, to hash out the exact sordid "irreconcilable differences" Jolie cited in her Sept. 19 filing in Los Angeles Superior Court. The couple, who share six children, was together for 12 years,... Read more →


Remember back in July when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie indicated that he might end the Garden State's tax reciprocity agreement with neighboring Pennsylvania? The Benjamin Franklin Bridge spans the Delaware River and connects Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Camden, New Jersey. It is used by commuters who live in one state and work in the other. He wasn't kidding. Friday, Sept. 2, was the last day for either state to stick with or pull out of the agreement for another year. And as the long Labor Day holiday began with lots of folks heading off for one last summer hurrah --... Read more →


Parents want the best schools possible for their kids. Heck, even child-free folks like the hubby and I want good schools. We're counting on the kids roaming our neighborhood getting good educations, then good jobs where they pay into the Social Security that we're planning on collecting in the ever-nearer future. School is back in session, supported in large part by the property taxes that homeowners pay. (Photo by WoodleyWonderWorks via Flickr) But homeowners also hate property taxes. By some measures, it's the most hated tax. So when we get our property tax bills, the largest portion of which tends... Read more →


Special tax treatment for businesses has received a lot of attention this week in the wake of the European Commission's ruling that Apple received illegal tax breaks from Ireland. Philadelphia, whose skyline is shown here, offers more business tax breaks than other major U.S. city. Now it must decide if that foregone tax money is worth it. (Photo by Massimo Catarinella via Wikimedia Commons) Daniel Shaviro, law professor at New York University and author of the tax (and more) blog Start Making Sense, notes that Apple's $14.5 billion of under-taxation over 10 years divided by 60,000 jobs (6,000 per year... Read more →


A workplace retirement plan, where, in most cases, employees automatically put in some pre-tax money each pay period, is the largest -- or only -- savings many folks have. Louisiana flood victims can now access their retirement money more easily to help with their recovery efforts in flooded areas, like Port Vincent shown in this National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) photo. Click the image to see more NOAA aerial before-and-after shots of Louisiana flood areas. And as the name indicates, retirement plans are for your post-work years. Sometimes, though, you need that money before you leave the workforce. In... Read more →


Ezekiel Elliott's visit to a Seattle marijuana retailer was the big weed news this week, and yes, pot has received lots of headlines lately (more on this a little later). Apparently amazed visitors to the cannabis display at the Oregon State Fair in Salem, the first time pot plants have been open for public viewing at any U.S. state fair. This is just one piece of pot news so far this month. Click image to view the AP video via USA Today. I admit that as a Dallas Cowboys fan, I spent an inordinate amount of time following the first-round... Read more →


Torrential rains have produced deadly flooding across central Louisiana. In response to the historic downpours, the Internal Revenue Service today announced that storm victims will have until Jan. 17, 2017, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments. Folks who are affiliated with recognized government or philanthropic organizations and helping in the Louisiana relief effort also qualify for the special IRS tax treatment. Official disaster areas: The IRS move comes after President Barack Obama declared rain-soaked parts of the Pelican State major disaster areas. These include East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena and Tangipahoa parishes.... Read more →


Maryland hosts the penultimate summer 2016 sales tax holiday this coming week. Maryland's sales tax holiday is this week, offering some savings on clothing and shoe purchases. The event in the Old Line State actually started today, Sunday, Aug. 14, at 12:01 a.m. It runs through midnight, Saturday, Aug. 20. Back-to-school in name only: These late summer events held annually in more than a dozen states -- there are/were 16 tax-free holidays and one tax-reduced period on the 2016 calendar -- typically are promoted as back-to-school shopping periods. In Maryland, however, school supplies bought this week are still taxable. Only... Read more →


Sports and betting, much to the chagrin of athletic purists and most league officials (except NBA Commissioner Adam Silver), are inextricably linked. Billions of dollars, from ubiquitous office pools to professional gamblers, are wagered, legally and illegally, on sporting events every year. Gamblers at a Las Vegas casino's sportsbook area place their bets, keep up with the many games on which they can wager. And this summer, the 2016 Olympics officially add to the U.S. wagering tally. Betting on the world's best athletes: Nevada Gaming Control last year revised state regulations to allow Silver State sportsbooks to offer wagering on... Read more →


Donald Trump's revised tax plan, which many economists and tax experts have decried as the latest version of Republican supply-side economics, is still getting a lot of attention. The biggest criticism is that the tweaked tax proposal, despite Trump's populist spin, still gives ways too much to the wealthy. Just who would win and exactly how much in the Trump vs. Hillary Clinton tax battle will continue to be debated (though perhaps not formally…) until Nov. 8. Delaware, considered by many to be America's top domestic tax haven, welcomes drivers and taxpayers looking to keep money out of tax collector... Read more →


State sales tax holidays are wrapping up in 10 states today (Sunday, Aug. 7), but some shoppers could find they owe taxes anyway. The tax-due buyers are the out-of-state folks who cross borders to pick up some ostensibly tax-free products. And while the traveling shoppers don't hand over taxes at the time of purchase in the tax holiday locale, when they take the goods back to their home states, they likely owe a use tax on the items. Ah yes, the use, or as I like to call it, useless tax. Use tax usually ignored: As its name indicates, a... Read more →


Today marks the heart of the annual back-to-school state sales tax holiday season. Texas shoppers can pick up school supplies, like these that take up a whole special row at my local H.E.B. grocery store, tax-free this weekend. (Photo by Kay Bell) Twelve of the 17 tax-free events are this weekend, or part of it. Iowa's tax-free and Louisiana's tax-reduced holidays run from Friday, Aug. 5, through Saturday, Aug. 6. Tax holidays take place starting today through Sunday, Aug 7, in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Savvy shoppers can save a few... Read more →