State/Local Feed

Voters in California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine approved recreational marijuana use, and taxing those personal pot amounts, on Nov. 8. The votes are in, for the most part, not only for the U.S. president, but also for myriad ballot initiatives. Only Arizona voters on Tuesday rejected personal marijuana legalization. The lone consolation for many disappointed Grand Canyon State supporters is that travel is easy to the neighboring, and pot-approving, states of Nevada, California and Colorado. While the weed votes -- medical marijuana also was on ballots, and approved, in North Dakota, Arkansas, Florida and Montana -- got most mass media... Read more →


Nov. 8. Election Day 2016. Blessed relief, at least from one of the most divisive campaigns for the White House in modern memory. N.H. earliest votes: Three small communities in rural New Hampshire, as is tradition every four years, cast the first 2016 presidential ballots of the day just after midnight Eastern Time. Under state law, towns with fewer than 100 voters can open voting locations at midnight and close them as soon as all registered voters have cast their ballots. Dixville Notch voters opted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump 4-2. Libertarian Gary Johnson got one vote. Clinton also... Read more →


Americans vote tomorrow for our 45th president. Finally! Do you know where your polling place tomorrow is? If not, HeadCount can help. While that's the biggest decision, millions of folks across the country also will have a voice Nov. 8 on a variety of consequential issues via ballot initiatives. Ballotpedia reports that this Election Day, there are 162 statewide ballot measures in 35 states. Eight measures were decided in pre-November elections, leaving 154 measures to be decided tomorrow. Politicking for pot, other smoking taxes: Marijuana always gets a lot of attention at election time. (I still blame "Reefer Madness" for... Read more →


Halloween is a big deal for a lot of folks. I like the holiday, but don't go as crazy as some of my neighbors. Houses are decorated and adults dress up more elaborately than their trick or treating kids. I'm not sure I'd go to this house seeking treats! The hubby and I simply sit on our porch and hand out candy, particularly enjoying the youngest ghouls and goblins for whom this is the first Oct. 31 where they realize they're getting way more candy than they've ever seen before. Candy calculations: I try to estimate the optimal amount of... Read more →


Alec Baldwin has been having a field day portraying Donald Trump, the presidential candidate with, among other things, some tax issues. Click image to watch the Saturday Night Live skit from which this Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump GIF is taken. Now from the life imitates art files, Baldwin is facing his own allegations of tax avoidance. New York City art dealer Mary Boone filed a motion in New York State Supreme Court last week accusing the actor of "failing to pay sales tax." She alleges that in order to avoid New York taxes, Baldwin had the painting shipped to... Read more →


I helped my mom vote today. She's 82 and has some vision issues that make voting in person difficult, so we filled out her ballot and dropped it in the mail. One of the local issues my mother had to vote on in this year's election. Yay civic participation! I am, however, a bit disappointed that we had to pay the postage for the over-sized envelope. Yes, two stamps instead of one is not big deal in the grand scheme of being a cog in the wheel of democracy. But really, shouldn't governments do things to make voting easier, like... Read more →


Attention Alabama online shoppers. If you're planning to buy from Amazon, you'd better hit the shopping cart enter button soon. On Nov. 1, an 8 percent tax will be added to your purchases from the digital retail giant. Online sales tax collection is the Holy Grail for state revenue offices. As e-commerce transactions have increased every year, states have struggled with ways to collect the billions they say they've lost to untaxed purchases that their residents make online. Nexus via legislation, courts: Some state lawmakers have chosen to redefine nexus, the legal standard of physical presence that determines when an... Read more →


For the last five years, I've been regularly grocery shopping with my mother. She's a retiree on a fixed income, so much of our time is spent examining shelf prices, determining which size offers the best per-unit value and debating whether it's worth a few more pennies to get something she knows she likes or save cents by buying a cheaper, but untried store brand. Source: TastefullyOffensive.com from YouTube Now I guess we need to start double checking the register receipts to make sure our savings aren't negated by improper tax charges. That's what some Garden State shoppers say they... Read more →


With the Oct. 17 filing extension colliding with Hurricane Matthew's aftermath, the Internal Revenue Service today announced additional counties in which taxpayers affected by the storm will have more time to file. Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue team members rescue a dog stranded by Hurricane Matthew flooding in North Carolina. (Photo courtesy FEMA) The IRS has officially added parts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina to the Hurricane Matthew areas that will get additional tax relief. It also included more counties in North Carolina counties, which it had previously announced as eligible for special storm-related tax relief.... Read more →


Sorry, Oakland Raiders fans, but it looks like you'll be losing your team again. And sorry, Nevada taxpayers, it looks like you'll be paying around $750 million to lure the National Football League team to Las Vegas. A shot of the famous Fabulous Las Vegas sign that I took on our last visit to Sin City. In the background is Mandalay Bay casino, which will be near the new NFL stadium. The Nevada Legislature met this week in special session to consider the NFL stadium issue. Lawmakers passed a bill on Friday, Oct. 14, by a vote of 28-13. Gov.... Read more →


It's almost here, the Oct. 17 tax extension filing deadline. Since the regular 15th due date is Saturday, procrastinating filers get a couple of extra days to do their tax jobs. Don't waste them. UPDATE: Some filers in states where major natural disasters were declared also get time beyond 10/17. Details in Oct. 17 is final filing deadline for most, but is extended further for folks in FL, LA, NC and WVA disaster areas IRS grants more tax relief for Hurricane Matthew filers in Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina But also don't be in such a last-minute panic... Read more →


If earlier this year you asked the Internal Revenue Service for an extension to file your 2015 tax return, you're running out of time. That deadline is next Monday, Oct. 17. Unless you live in parts of Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina or West Virginia. UPDATE: Or in other areas of Florida and North Carolina, as well as South Carolina and Georgia. The IRS on Oct. 17 announced tax relief for these added Hurricane Matthew disaster areas. North Carolina, which has been hard hit by flooding from Hurricane Matthew rains, is the latest state where taxpayers are getting special consideration when... Read more →


Donald Trump acknowledged during Sunday's second presidential debate that he had avoided paying federal income taxes for years thanks to a claim in 1995 of nearly $1 billion in business losses. Click image to watch Newsy video report on Warren Buffett's response to Donald Trump's tax charges. The Republican presidential nominee then pivoted from his 1040s, which we still haven't seen, to wealthy supporters of his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. Trump specifically accused his fellow billionaires of also using tax laws to their advantage. Duh! That's not unusual. Nor is it illegal. It's just a bit infuriating in many cases.... Read more →


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 →