ERIC Number: ED394190
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Nov
Toward State Tax Reform: Lessons from State Tax Studies.
McGuire, Therese J.; Rio, Jessica E.
This paper reviews recent state tax-commission recommendations in selected states and identifies critical factors for the success of state tax-reform commissions. The paper focuses on factors linked to the process of forming a commission and generating the necessary consensus to enact tough reforms. It describes and compares comprehensive studies of state tax systems and evaluates the factors that contribute to successful state tax-study commissions. Tax systems are examined from 7 states for which comprehensive tax studies have been conducted in the past 10 years: Arizona, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, and Texas. Data were obtained from a review of the final reports of each commission study and interviews with study directors and commission members. A conclusion is that the primary fiscal issues facing state and local governments are state structural deficits, state financing of local school districts, and antiquated revenue structures. Although organization of the different commission reports makes across-the-board comparisons difficult, many of the reports' proposed solutions are similar. The reports recommend simplifying the state personal-income tax, making it more progressive, broadening the state's sales tax base, implementing property tax reforms (to either simplify the tax or provide tax relief), and examine corporate income tax. All studies also looked in varying degrees at the fiscal relationships between the state and local governments. Most of those interviewed identified the objective of a commission study as the ability to produce sound recommendations and "raise the level of the debate." One table is included. Appendices contain state-by-state findings and a list of state tax studies. Information on the Finance Project and its available resources is included. (LMI)
Descriptors: Advisory Committees, Blue Ribbon Commissions, Economic Development, Educational Finance, Elementary Secondary Education, Expenditures, Finance Reform, Fiscal Capacity, Income, Policy Formation, State Action, State School District Relationship, Statewide Planning, Tax Effort
The Finance Project, 1341 G Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20005 ($5).
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Finance Project, Washington, DC.
Note: For related studies of systemic revenue generation issues for education and other children's services, see EA 027 510-511, and EA 027 515.