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Tax Exporting, Federal Deductibility, and State Tax Structure

Gilbert E. Metcalf
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management
Vol. 12, No. 1 (Winter, 1993), pp. 109-126
DOI: 10.2307/3325465
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3325465
Page Count: 18
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Tax Exporting, Federal Deductibility, and State Tax Structure
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Abstract

This paper studies the interaction between the federal and state tax systems during the 1980s and, in particular, considers how the Tax Reform Act of 1986 affected state tax structure. Using a panel data set on state governments over a nine-year period, I estimate tax share equations for six categories of taxes. I find that the state personal income tax is sensitive to changes in its tax price, but find a much smaller sensitivity to changes in tax prices for the general sales tax. I then consider various reasons why the sales tax does not exhibit a sensitivity to changes in tax price and consider the implications of these results for policymakers. The regression results suggest that different income groups are concerned with different tax instruments. Moreover, the results motivate a possible benefit approach to taxation at the state level. Linking taxes, about which a particular income group is most concerned, to services received by that group might generate additional political support for state tax systems during a time when many states are facing fiscal crisis.

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