Candidate questionnaire draft

Having given money to Democratic candidates in the past, I’ve been getting calls from candidates asking for my support.

I’m working up a questionnaire to see whom to support; here’s a draft. There will be more questions; suggestions welcomed.

Do you support taking away the carried interest tax advantage for hedge fund operators?

Do you support increasing the federal estate tax?

Do you support eliminating planning opportunities that allow avoidance of the federal estate tax?

Do you propose to let marijuana companies start deducting their advertising and marketing expenses on either federal and North Carolina tax returns?  That is, would you take away the 280E Selling Expense Tax on the books now? 

Do you support government rather than for-profit private marijuana retailing in North Carolina?

My own answers would be yes to all questions except the fourth one about 280E.  

Remembering Bob Dole

I was a big fan of Bob Dole when I worked for Congressional tax-writing committees in the 1980s.  He chaired the Senate Finance Committee until he became Majority Leader, and he stayed on the committee.  He was a statesman in his own way, and funny.  After Dole died, Al Franken started claiming to be the funniest living ex-Senator.

Here’s some marijuana tax trivia.  Bob Dole inserted the 280E Selling Expense Tax into the tax law in 1982 when he was Senate Finance Committee chair.  I was on the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation then, and must have known about 280E back then, because the staff had proofed the technical explanation of the entire bill during Congressional downtime for staff, but I didn’t work on it.

Dole got the idea from Senator Bill Armstrong (R-CO) who was on the Finance Committee.  Armstrong was a pretty shrewd operator.  He was described by Dole as the “the father of tax indexing” – a change called the most dramatic tax law development in a generation by Ken Kies on the right and Jim Wetzler on the left.  So that makes Armstrong a key figure in tax policy.  280E is hated by the marijuana industry, but by making advertising and marketing non-deductible, 280E keeps the noise down.