Alcohol tax cuts proposed in North Carolina

I never met a sin tax I didn’t like, and I thought the self-styled socially conservative Republicans who control North Carolina might agree with me.  But some of them are are soft on alcohol, because a prominent bill (to be fair, a bipartisan bill but with lots of Republican support) Continue reading “Alcohol tax cuts proposed in North Carolina”


An Unworkable Marijuana Tax in Colorado

As legalization of marijuana proceeds in fits and starts, the Colorado Task Force Report would impose at tax at the producer level while mandating vertical integration — combining the producer and retailer functions — so that every transaction requires determination of an arm’s-length inter-company price.  That’s a recipe for chaos, involving the wishfully named arm’s-length method of guessing at tax pricing, a tool grown so feeble that it has turned the international tax schemes of the mightiest nations into laughingstocks.

Continue reading “An Unworkable Marijuana Tax in Colorado”

Tax income or tax carbon?

My feeling about the income tax is that since we aren’t making it work after all this time (double Dutch sandwiches, tax havens, carried interest, the facially unconstitutional minister of the Gospel rule of Code section 107), I’d rather study something else.

Carbon is trivially easy to measure and remarkably easy to detect.  But a carbon tax Continue reading “Tax income or tax carbon?”

Tax marijuana by potency? In one case, maybe

Trying to tax marijuana plant material on the basis of its potency (say, THC content) may be impractical because different labs routinely report wide variances in measured potency from a single sample.

But there’s a processed marijuana product that may be fungible enough for a potency tax: “concentrated cannabis oils, known in various states as ‘butter’, ‘shatter’, ‘wax’, and ‘BHO’.”   That product looks fungible to me – video  Continue reading “Tax marijuana by potency? In one case, maybe”

Tax marijuana by potency? Probably not

I was considering potency as a tax base in Laws To Tax Marijuana for a variety of reasons – mainly that it correlates with intoxication, which must be why society disfavors marijuana.  (It’s more complicated than that . . .)

But marijuana is not fungible (except maybe some processed liquid products), and labs trying to measure THC, the primary intoxicant, show huge variances in results among themselves.  You need a clear number to apply tax to, and those results aren’t clear enough.

Similar variances turn up for cigarettes, Continue reading “Tax marijuana by potency? Probably not”

Regulatory Capture of the OECD

My friend Joe Andrus (from my years in international tax policy) looks like the hero in this story:  Multinational corporations stashing cash in tax havens (and avoiding tax in other ways, too) had bankrolled and influenced the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to the point that it was “in the pocket” of bad tax policy.  Now Joe and others Continue reading “Regulatory Capture of the OECD”

The cover charge shift maneuver for retail-level excise taxes on consumables

A retail-level tax on a commodity presents lot of problems, like this one, suggested by the authors of Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know:  A marijuana ‘”bar” could set low per-joint prices and derive most of its revenue from a cover or entertainment charge.

A response to that maneuver shows up in today’s WSJ:  “In 1944, a new wartime ‘cabaret tax’ went into effect, imposing a ruinous 30% Continue reading “The cover charge shift maneuver for retail-level excise taxes on consumables”