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Senators go after NFL's 'tax-exempt' status

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Rick Osentoski/AP/File

(Read caption) An NFL logo on a goal post padding before a preseason NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field in Detroit.

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Congress is not quite “ready for some football.” With trouble in the Middle East, an Ebola outbreak in Africa, and mid-term elections, the National Football League’s tax-exempt status is not high on the Congressional to-do list. That’s not keeping some senators from trying to repeal it. Washington Democrat Maria Cantwell wants to punish the NFL since the Washington Redskins refuse to change their name. New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker’s effort targets the NFL’s level of response to domestic violence charges against players.

Pennsylvania edges closer to eliminating its school property taxes. The state’s Senate Finance Committee passed a bill to replace school property taxes. Those taxes would be replaced with $13 billion in additional state sales and income taxes. Two-thirds would come from raising the sales tax rate from 6 percent to 7 percent and applying the levy to more goods and services. The measure would hike the income tax rate from 3.07 to 4.34 percent. A companion bill has not moved forward in the state’s House.

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State tax breaks: Could money be better spent? new working paper by Jeremy Horpedahl for George Mason University’s Mercatus Center finds that state tax breaks cost $432 billion a year. Horpedahl provides a case study of Nebraska that spends about $2 billion a year on tax subsidies of all kinds. If the preferences such as sales tax exemptions and some income tax deductions were eliminated and overall tax rates  lowered, Horpedahl estimates the average family would keep an extra $3,200 a year. The paper, however, does not attempt to calculate the distributional effects of such a change.

Federal taxpayers might have a little more money next year. Thanks to inflation adjustmentsif a taxpayer’s income stays the same, he or she may enjoy a lower effective tax rate and lower tax bill in 2015.

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The post A Hail Mary or Two on the Hill appeared first on TaxVox.