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Author:Tannenwald, Robert 

Discussion Paper
Massachusetts business taxes: unfair? inadequate? uncompetitive?
In debating Massachusetts business tax policy, protagonists have cited many different indicators purporting to assess the fairness, adequacy, and competitiveness of the Commonwealth?s business taxes. These statistics actually reveal very little about the degree to which Massachusetts business taxes achieve these widely accepted tax policy goals. The author explains why these indicators are misleading and presents new indicators of business tax competitiveness that, although imperfect, are more accurate than those most widely quoted. The article concludes that the fairness of Massachusetts business taxes is unclear and that the Commonwealth?s corporate income taxes are inadequate. The clearest conclusion drawn is that Massachusetts business taxes do not harm its competitive standing.
AUTHORS: Tannenwald, Robert
DATE: 2004

Discussion Paper
Interstate fiscal disparity in state fiscal year 1999
This paper compares states in terms of their relative fiscal capacity, fiscal need, fiscal comfort, and tax effort in state fiscal year 1999 (FY1999). It is the most recent in a series initiated by the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR) in 1962. As in previous studies, the authors use the representative tax system and representative expenditure system methodologies in their analysis. Compared with FY1997, the authors find less interstate disparity in fiscal capacity, fiscal need, and fiscal comfort. However, such disparity, though diminished, remains substantial. The New England and Mid-Atlantic regions remain the most ?fiscally comfortable,? while the East South Central and West South Central regions are still the most ?fiscally stressed.?
AUTHORS: Tannenwald, Robert; Turner, Nick
DATE: 2004

Journal Article
Heat, light, and taxes in the granite state.
AUTHORS: Tannenwald, Robert
DATE: 2001-07

Report
Casino development: how would casinos affect New England's economy?
AUTHORS: Tannenwald, Robert
DATE: 1995

Working Paper
The subsidy from state and local tax deductibility: trends, methodological issues, and its value after federal tax reform
Even though the momentum of the "devolution" movement has slowed, federal intergovernmental grants will probably be cut substantially during the next five to ten years. Federal tax reform could further erode federal assistance by eliminating the deduction for state and local personal income and property taxes. This deduction subsidizes the net cost to taxpayers of financing an additional dollar of state and local spending. In the language of economics, deductibility reduces the marginal "tax price" of state and local public goods. This paper clarifies methodological issues in the estimation of this tax price, updates estimates of tax price by state, and evaluates the impact of state and local taxes on the level and dispersion of state-specific tax prices. The paper argues that previous estimates of tax reflect assumptions, often implicit, concerning the distribution of influence among consumers over the level of public goods provided by a given jurisdiction. These assumptions, often implicit, do not always square with the estimators' preferred theory concerning how the level of public goods is determined. Even when they do, they fail to take into account the deductibility of state and local business taxes from federal taxable profits. The estimates provided in this paper attempt to address these two problems.
AUTHORS: Tannenwald, Robert
DATE: 1997

Working Paper
Measuring the incentive effects of state tax policies toward capital investment
Empirical research on the effects of differential business taxation across jurisdictions relies on the appropriate measurement of the burden of tax in each location. While numerous summary measures have been proposed and used in various contexts to make such comparisons, most fail to account for the full effects of each state's tax system and the interactions of state tax systems with both local and federal taxes. This paper addresses these issues and employs an approach used in recent state tax reform studies to measure tax burdens. The advantages of this "representative firm" approach over traditional measures are discussed, and its empirical significance is tested. ; The empirical properties of tax burdens measured via a representative firm are very different from simpler, conventional measures. Taxes are estimated to play a negligible role in decisions concerning where to locate capital investment. This result, coupled with recent results showing the responsiveness of sales and employment decisions to apportionment changes, is consistent with the hypothesis of the existence of a hierarchy of behavioral responses to tax changes.
AUTHORS: Tannenwald, Robert; Plesko, George A.
DATE: 2001

Journal Article
Panel discussion: the future of state and local government finance
AUTHORS: Tannenwald, Robert; Edwards, Chris
DATE: 2010-10

Report
Water, water everywhere: dare I drink a drop? (with apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
Given New England?s ample rainfall, green forests, and extensive wetlands, many of the region?s inhabitants might question the notion that it faces potentially severe water shortages. Yet, parts of the region already confront such shortages. These shortages are likely to spread, absent corrective action. This paper describes the characteristics of New England responsible for its looming water problems, identifies areas within the region most vulnerable to such problems, and analyzes alternative strategies for alleviating them. Small, shallow, porous aquifers are the region?s primary geological impediment to trapping and tapping adequate water supplies. Urbanization and a spatial mismatch between economic growth and water availability are contributing factors. Areas within the region most vulnerable to water shortages include, but are not limited to, southern Maine, southern New Hampshire, northern Vermont, and Massachusetts? North Shore and Route 495 corridor. While no single solution to potential water shortages is clearly superior, the authors conclude that conservation is a promising, effective tactic that should be an important component of any water strategy.
AUTHORS: Tannenwald, Robert; Turner, Nick
DATE: 2005

Working Paper
The lack of affordable housing in New England: how big a problem?: why is it growing?: what are we doing about it?
Although housing costs in greater Boston and elsewhere around the region have leveled off, affordable housing is still high on the public policy agenda in every New England state. A growing chorus of employers and policymakers are warning that the region's high cost of housing is now undermining its ability to attract and retain workers and businesses. This paper presents a thorough, region-wide analysis of the housing affordability problem in New England. We construct three affordability indicators to examine differences in the cost of housing across socioeconomic, demographic, and occupational groups, for every New England state and for the region's principal metropolitan areas.
AUTHORS: Sasser, Alicia; Rollins, Darcy; Tannenwald, Robert; Zhao, Bo
DATE: 2006

Working Paper
Measuring fiscal disparities across the U. S. states: a representative revenue system/representative expenditure system approach, fiscal year 2002
States and their local governments vary both in their needs to provide basic public services and in their abilities to raise revenues to pay for those services. A joint study by the Tax Policy Center and the New England Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston uses the Representative Revenue System (RRS) and the Representative Expenditure System (RES) frameworks to quantify these disparities across states by comparing each state?s revenue capacity, revenue effort, and necessary expenditures to the average capacity, effort, and need in states across the country for fiscal year 2002. ; The fiscal capacity of a state is the state?s revenue capacity relative to its expenditure need. A state with low fiscal capacity has a relatively small revenue base, a relatively high need for expenditures, or?as is often the case?a combination of both. ; The New England and Mid-Atlantic states tend to have high revenue capacity and low expenditure needs compared to the national average. Thus, states in these two regions tend to have high fiscal capacity, or a relatively high capability to cover their expenditure needs using own resources. South Central states, on the other hand, have low fiscal capacity?that is, a low level of revenue-raising capacity given what it would cost to provide a standard set of public services to their citizens. ; Little relation exists between the amount of federal aid received by states and their fiscal capacity; federal money is not primarily distributed to offset differences in the ability to raise revenues or provide services. Given the current level of federal funds allocated to state and local governments, 91 percent of the gap between revenue capacity and expenditure need across the states could be covered if federal funds were reallocated.
AUTHORS: Hoo, Sonya; Rueben, Kim; Nagowski, Matthew; Yilmaz, Yesim; Tannenwald, Robert
DATE: 2006

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