Arthur Laffer and the mobility agenda

Is there a debate about inequality now underway in America? Invigorated by the publication of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, liberals are determined to force the issue, but they’re talking to themselves, because conservatives reject the very terms of the debate. Where liberals want …

Gov’t retirees flee high-tax NJ with their pension dollars

Municipalities in NJ finance their budgets largely through property taxes. The steepest cost, by far, on those budgets is employee get-out-of-towncompensation, which makes up about three-quarters of school district expenditures, for instance. High compensation costs are one reason why NJ has among the highest property taxes in the nation–so high that retirees often complain they can’t afford to continue living in their homes after they stop working. Apparently, that’s true of government employees in NJ, too…

Declining options on California’s pension-reform front

Public-sector unions and their allies often turn back efforts at reforming their pension plans by simply denying that there’s any sort of problem. In California, the Legislature and governor claim that they have fixed the problem when they passed a modest pension-reform act applying to …

How to tax sharing

Across the nation, so-called “peer production businesses” have become a common feature of the urban landscape, and cities are scrambling to figure out how to tax and regulate them. From the short-term housing provided through services such as Airbnb and Breather to Lyft and Sidecar’s “ridesharing” services, new …

States ponder athletes as government employees

A few weeks ago I wrote about the opportunity that a recent NLRB ruling allowing student athletes at Northwestern to organize might create for public sector organizing. Now states are moving in different directions with regard to allowing unionizing of student athletes at public universities…

Municipal bankruptcy and war

Rhodes MemeBankruptcy, like war, is an extraordinary means for resolving disputes that appear irresolvable under ordinary conditions. Much of what Detroit seeks to accomplish in bankruptcy could have been accomplished outside of federal court, but only with great difficulty

Griping about taxes is high where unions are strongest

Gallup has a new state poll out listing where residents gripe the most about taxes. The winners (if you can call them that) are largely not surprising, if you 480x480xno-taxes.gif.pagespeed.ic.FajJWeTt5lfollow policy debates these days. (Except for Nebraska. What are those folks so upset about?) Just for fun (if you can call it that) I took a look at how the list of those complaining the most about taxes correlated to the degree of government unionization in each state…

Just how big is Rahm’s pension-driven Chicago tax increase?

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed a property tax increase to help deal with the city’s steeply underfunded pensions. Calculations from local officials make the increase seem modest: just $50 a year every year for five years on an average $4,000 property tax bill. But that’s not the whole story, by any means…

Palace coup: NYSUT leadership elections

On Sunday, Richard Iannuzzi, the nine-year incumbent president of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) was handily defeated by Karen McGee, a NYSUT Board member and president of the Harrison Association of Teachers in Westchester County. Some 3,000 delegates voted at the union’s convention in …

Stillinnoyed by taxes, pension debt? Move to Indiana

Back in 2011, when Illinois temporarily raised taxes on individuals and companies by two-thirds– largely to finance its rapidly growing pension debt– stillinnoyedneighboring Indiana began a campaign to lure businesses from the Prairie State with an ad campaign whose slogan was, “Illinoyed by higher taxes?” Now, after four years in which pension costs have devoured most of the gain in tax revenues in Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn is proposing making those 2011 tax increases permanent, and Indiana is asking in a new campaign, “Stillinnoyed?”