Weekly Round-Up: Serving on the D.C. Tax Revision Commission – One Commissioner's Insights

One of the take away lessons that Ed Lazere, executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, learned from his work on the D.C. Tax Revision Commission was to listen to his instincts about what is politically possible. 

Lazere was among 11 members of the D.C. Tax Revision Commission, a diverse group assembled to review the District of Columbia's taxes and make recommendations about changing them to attract and retain residents and businesses.

One of recommendations made by the commission was to raise the general sales tax rate from 5.75 percent to 6 percent, which would match tax rates in Maryland and Virginia, Lazere explained. “I and a few other commissioners pointed out that the D.C. Council had just allowed the rate to fall from 6 percent to 5.75 percent, as a temporary rate increase from the recession expired, and that it may not be open to an increase so soon,” he said. “We were right.”

“We knew that the D.C. Council would be unlikely to raise the sales tax rate, for example, so we should not have included it in our recommendations,” he said.

“While there may be some value to using a tax commission to make bold and sweeping recommendations, the politics of tax changes are so complex that any commission making bold recommendations should prepare for them to be ignored,” Lazere said.

Lazere’s comments were part of a larger article in this week’s issue of the Bloomberg BNA Weekly State Tax Report in which he offers insight into the commission’s negotiating process, his own decisions and how the final recommendations reflect multiple viewpoints. The complete article can be read here .

Continue the discussion on Bloomberg BNA’s State Tax group on LinkedIn :   What are your thoughts on the recommendations made by the D.C. Tax Revision Commission?

For more information about this and other state tax issues, sign up for a free trial of the Bloomberg BNA Premier State Tax Library. 

In other developments…

More Time Unlikely to Fix Kansas’ Poor Strategy for Growth , by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Connecticut Edition , by the Tax Foundation

The US Supreme Court granted petitions for writ of certiorari to review two sales and use tax cases , by PwC

Compiled by Priya D. Nair

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