Finding a Path to a Carbon Tax, Eventually

“‘I’m an advocate of a revenue-neutral carbon tax if the revenue raised is used to reduce or eliminate taxes that are most harmful to the economy,’ said Alex Brill of the American Enterprise Institute. ‘That would be a great trade,’ he said before adding that it is not something that is about to happen. ‘As a matter of politics, the environment for a carbon tax has not matured to the point that a majority of lawmakers are ready to embrace it,’ Brill said. ‘It would be premature for those who think a carbon tax is a good idea to try to chase the next legislative train,’ he said. And while there is a risk of trying to rush a carbon tax into the political process, there is also a risk in believing that a carbon tax is always going to be a long-term project, he added.”

We’re Paying the Bill for Opioid Crisis

“Outside of the cost to local communities, experts have also linked the economic impact of the opioid crisis to rising insurance costs in both the private and public sector. A study by Matrix Global Advisors, a policy group based in Washington, D.C., shows that the cost of the opioid epidemic in Michigan costs every resident in the state about $84 a year. . . . ‘The healthcare costs associated with opioid abuse are the equivalent of an extra $84 in healthcare costs per Michigan resident every year,’ said Christy Robinson, Matrix Global Advisors director. ‘But determining who pays which part of the $84 is outside of the scope of our analysis.'”

Experts Say Proposal for Value-Based Pricing of Antimicrobials “Has Potential”

“‘The PAVE award is an interesting and encouraging proposal geared toward shifting reimbursement towards value-based metrics,’ said Matrix Global Advisors founder and CEO Alex Brill. ‘This proposal might be further strengthened if in addition to the ‘carrot’ for improved reimbursement models for new products, a ‘stick’ to discourage inappropriate over-utilization of existing products was also included.'”

Shop Online? Internet Retailers Have a Tax Advantage Congress Must End

In recent years, internet sales have grown by nearly 15 percent per year, compared to 4 percent per year for brick-and-mortar retail sales. Although e-commerce represents less than 9 percent of total retail sales, this shift in where we shop is eroding states’ sales tax base. Under the Supreme Court’s 1992 decision in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, sellers without a physical presence in a state cannot be required to collect and remit that state’s sales tax. As a result, online sellers have an artificial competitive advantage over local brick-and-mortar sellers, who must collect sales tax from their customers. Congress needs to end this unfair tax advantage.

A Few Comments on E-Cigarettes and Cigarette Smoking Among Adolescents and Young Adults

In a recent JAMA Pediatrics article on the correlation between e-cigarette use and subsequent cigarette smoking among adolescents and young adults, Dartmouth demographer Samir Soneji and his co-authors find that the probability of cigarette smoking at follow-up is significantly higher among all e-cigarette users than among individuals who never used a nicotine product. Based on this finding, they conclude that “strong e-cigarette regulation” by the federal, state, and local governments are needed to minimize the potential “future population-level burden of tobacco.” This conclusion is unwarranted based on the nature of their results.

Trump, Amazon, and Taxes

Back in 2012, my AEI colleague Alex Brill wrote about the wisdom of combining internet sales taxes with income-tax base broadening. Back then, Congress was considering legislation, the Marketplace Equity Act, that would have permitted states to collect the sales tax they are owed when their residents purchase goods online from out-of-state sellers.

Happy Birthday, #BetterWay Tax Plan

Saturday marks the first birthday of the House GOP’s tax reform blueprint, “A Better Way: Our Vision for a Confident America.” Happy birthday, Tax Plan. To be honest, little man, when you were born you only got modest attention from those outside your immediate family. It was a busy time for the rest of us. We were watching Donald Trump clear the field of his fellow Republican candidates and were speculating about the likely fiscal agenda of Hillary Clinton.

Let’s Scrap Regulations in Favor of a Carbon Tax

Tax reform is hot this year, and rightly so. Mending an outdated tax system is an important political and policy objective. I am optimistic that Republican lawmakers will be successful, but no matter the scale or scope of this effort, it will not be the last big tax bill. Because tax reform is a perpetual effort, it is not too early to start considering post-tax-reform tax reform ideas.

MGA’s Alex Brill Serves as a Panelist for C-SPAN’s “Tax Policy & The Economy”

Alex Brill discussed the Earned Income Tax Credit: “One of the things I note when I think about the federal income tax with respect to low and moderate income workers in the disparity to which the tax code affects different people within that population differently. That’s always true across the income spectrum but it’s particularly true among low and middle income families and households.”