Not With a Bang, But a Whimper: Demographic Decline Undermines Public Finance




The last time the Census Bureau did a population projection, the estimated population for even 2020 came in a little high. From March 2018: Demographic Turning Points for the United States: Population Projections for 2020 to 2060 — they estimated a total population of about 332.6 million, and the apportionment Census results were 331.1 million. To be sure, this is a less than 0.5% difference, so no big deal.

This is the growth rate they projected, even in 2018:
2020-2030: 7%
2030-2040: 5%
2040-2050: 4%
2050-2060: 4%

Those are full-decade growth rates. That’s before the pandemic has shaved our numbers down a little.

Would you like to know the growth rates from prior decades?
2010-2020: 7%
2000-2010: 10%
1990-2000: 13%
1980-1990: 10%

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 28 May 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

So, Can States Cut Taxes or Not?



Most observers believe that the Treasury will interpret the law narrowly. Rather than seeking to claw back funds from any states passing tax cuts or credits, the feds are considered likely to challenge only those states that clearly use federal dollars to pay for them. “Nothing in the act prevents states from enacting a broad variety of tax cuts,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote in a response to the AGs. “It simply provides that funding received under the act may not be used to offset a reduction in net tax revenue resulting from certain changes in state law.”

But the fact that the law blocks federal money from being used even indirectly to pay for tax cuts has state officials not just worried but angry. “Democrats in Washington and in the White House are not going to tell me, or the Georgia General Assembly, that we can’t cut taxes for hard-working Georgians,” Gov. Brian Kemp complained at a news conference last month.


That prohibition lasts as long as the stimulus dollars are spent, which will be into 2024. And there are limits, Walczak notes, on where and how states can spend federal aid. They can use the money to address pandemic and health needs, for example. While those are clearly ongoing, much of the cost of vaccine supply and distribution has been underwritten by the feds. Other costs in these areas have already been addressed by last year’s federal CARES Act, which some states struggled to spend.

Author(s): Alan Greenblatt

Publication Date: 7 April 2021

Publication Site: Governing

How taxes turned margarine pink, made ships sink, and more strange results



Book listing:


Unmarried men in ancient Greece and Rome were taxed, as were British bachelors from 1695 to 1706. Some states in the US even had a similar policy into the 20th century. 

But what about those men who were unlucky in love? Were they to be “doubly cursed, embraced by the taxman but spurned by womankind?” the authors write. 

In some places, bachelors were made exempt from the tax if they could prove they had asked a woman to marry but were rejected. 

In Argentina around 1900, the tax gave rise to “professional lady rejectors” — women who, for a fee, would swear to authorities that a man had asked for their hand and that they had refused. 

Author(s): Reed Tucker

Publication Date: 3 April 2021

Publication Site: NY Post

New York business leaders push Biden, Schumer to ditch the cap on SALT deductions



Leaders of the finance industry and other businesses in New York are pushing President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to bring back the full state and local tax deduction.

Schumer, who is up for reelection in 2022, has heard from business leaders across New York on multiple calls in recent weeks. Some of these people have also held talks with advisors to Biden.

The so-called SALT deduction was capped at $10,000 by former President Donald Trump’s tax reform bill, which became law in late 2017.

Author(s): Brian Schwartz

Publication Date: 29 March 2021

Publication Site: CNBC

Biden’s retirement idea getting the cold shoulder



Equalized tax advantage proposal being met with skepticism by industry

Alicia Munnell doesn’t think the shift would help because workers typically don’t look at tax incentives.

Trade groups representing plan sponsors have snubbed a proposal floated by President Joe Biden to give individuals across all pay grades equal tax advantages for their retirement savings.


Publication Date: 22 February 2021

Publication Site: Pensions & Investments