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Paying for Infrastructure with the Gas Tax

Chaaron Pearson on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

How do you pay for infrastructure? Three states are looking at their gas tax.

Iowa lawmakers say gas tax increase is a 50-50 issue

Iowa’s senate majority leader says a substantial number of republicans and democrats in the state senate support investing in the state’s infrastructure. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s Transportation 2020 Citizen Advisory Commission recommended raising registration fees for new vehicles by one percent, establishing a new user fee for hybrid vehicles and a phased gas tax increase equivalent to a 10-cent hike. Read more: Sioux City Journal

The extra mile: Maryland gas tax could increase

Maryland’s legislative session begins Wednesday, and a proposed hike to the gas tax will be a big issue. Watch the video for more details, including how money from the tax would be used: WUSA9

Minnesota tax cut on autopilot

On July 1, Minnesota’s highway fuel tax will go up a half-penny per gallon. Unless there is legislative action, it won’t go up again—ever. While some may cheer, others are considering what that may mean for the safety, comfort, efficiency and even the cost of driving in the long run. Read more: editorial from Minnesota 2020

Tags: Gas tax, Infrastructure, taxes

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Amazon Deals with California

Chaaron Pearson on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

After years of refusing to collect sales tax from online purchases, Amazon.com has struck a deal in California. Retailers and state governments elsewhere are hoping for similar treatment.

This is a departure from Amazon.com’s previous stance on online tax collection. In response to other states “Amazon laws” requiring online tax collection, Amazon.com has taken New York to court and canceled its relationships with affiliates in Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, North Carolina and Rhode Island.

California looked to be the stage for the next Amazon show-down. Amazon organized a campaign to repeal the law at the ballot box. Wal-Mart and other big retailers lined-up in opposition of Amazon, arguing that online retailers get an unfair advantage over brick-and-mortar merchants by not collecting sales tax.

Surprisingly, Amazon backed down. The company struck a deal that will require online retailers to collect sales taxes in California starting in fiscal 2013.

Brick-and-mortar retailers view this as a game-changer. If Amazon will pay sales taxes in California, why not in other states? The optimism may be premature, but states would love to see additional sales tax revenue.

It’s difficult to assess where chambers stand on this issue. There are proponents on both sides, with many chambers declining to take a stance while they closely watch events unfold.

Read more:
Stateline.org: Amazon deal with California may set precedent for online tax collection
St. Petersburg Times: California to the rescue on sales taxes
The Journal Gazette: The retail Goliath retreats
Policy Clearinghouse Blog: Main Street Fairness Act

Tags: taxes

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E-Tax Success: Big Win for KC Business

Chaaron Pearson on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 1:01:46 pm 

This April, the Greater Kansas City Chamber celebrated a victory as Kansas City, Mo., voters voted overwhelmingly to keep a one percent earning tax. The final vote was 78 percent in favor of retention; 22 percent against.

The campaign to retain the tax was organized and led by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. The earnings tax represents 40 percent of Kansas City’s general revenue funding. Greater Kansas City Chamber President and CEO Jim Heeter said, “It was a campaign that truly unified the city. Our voters showed their innate good sense by approving – by a landslide – the City’s biggest source of revenue. They understood the ramifications of losing $200 million a year from the part of the city budget that pays for police and fire protection and for the basic services that our residents require.”

The vote on the city’s earnings tax was forced by a statewide initiative approved by Missouri voters last November. Following that election, the Chamber joined with the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, the Heavy Constructors Association, the AFL-CIO and Firefighters Local 42. The group raised more than $1 million to fund the “Keep KC Alive” campaign. Five campaign co-chairs were recruited for an aggressive grassroots campaign and more than 100 business, civic, religious and neighborhood organizations rallied to endorse the tax. The work is not done. There will be a similar vote every five years. The Chamber is now focusing its efforts on legislation in the Missouri General Assembly to extend the required vote from five to 20 years.

Read more:
Statement from James A. “Jim” Heeter, President and CEO, Greater Kansas City Chamber
BusinessWeek.com: Voters in St. Louis/KC agree to keep earnings tax
KCTV5: Kansas City Earnings Tax Passes by Large Margin

Tags: Taxes

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