Taxes in Gulliver’s Travels — New HuffPo piece

In Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift ventured into tax theory; here is a HuffPo piece, or, that goes into his look at taxing Vices and Folly (a framework I use to analyze cannabis taxes), and more.



Tax Evasion in Greece

Here’s a chart that’s causing a lot of consternation and misinterpretation:Evasionfrom

x/y = .895.   So uncollected receipts are nearly as big as collected receipts.  If collected receipts are 100, uncollected receipts are 89.5, right?

If you believe that, Greece collects only a little over half (100/189.5) of what is due?  But wait!

Bill Turnier sent me here, or  The numerator seems to be all outstanding uncollected taxes, from years and years — not just the current year. Continue reading Tax Evasion in Greece

Colorado’s bud tax $0.61/gram — Updated 12:53 p.m. July 13, 2015

Colorado’s so-called-but-not-really 15 percent producer tax on non-medical cannabis, starting July 1, is 61 cents a gram for bud, and 10 cents a gram for trim.  Colorado actually taxes cannabis at the producer level by weight, though its Constitution requires a 15-percent excise tax at the producer level.  (It’s disheartening when reports overlook the actual tax method, though many do, even now.)  This weight tax is supposed to reflect previous prices. Since the weight tax has reached its all-time low, previous prices have, too, the State indicates.

Those per-gram numbers are calculated from non-metric numbers in the chart below, which comes from the state.  You take 15 percent of the “Rate,” and divide by 453.592, the number of grams in a pound. Colorado’s tax on bud started at 62 cents, rose briefly to 66 cents, and now is at 61 cents through the end of 2015. Continue reading Colorado’s bud tax $0.61/gram — Updated 12:53 p.m. July 13, 2015

Grow cannabis in land grant universities?

In 2013, I gave an hour-long talk on marijuana legalization for the North Carolina Bar Association.  I  recall that when I suggested that our land grant university do the growing, one man literally walked out – as if to say, “That’s so far-fetched that I don’t have to listen to this nonsense any more.”  (Maybe that’s not why he left, but he was muttering something.)

Well, in Louisiana, state universities are in line to grow cannabis, by statute.  That sounds like a good idea — if you take the RAND view that government sellers are likely to be among the least interested in creating demand.  Get the agriculture school, and the botanists, and the chemists, and the public policy people, and the medical school, and the law school, and maybe even the business school to figure this out. Put the grow area on public access cable, 24/7.

If you want a safe provider of cannabis, a land grant university would look to be at the top of the list. In Louisiana, that means LSU and HBCU Southern University. Here’s the statutory language:   Continue reading Grow cannabis in land grant universities?

What should Greece tax?

What can you tax in a populace that distrusts government (as our Founders intended) but then goes overboard, and undermines it?  That is, what can government find and measure, in such a way that the public can trust that the tax is being paid?

Some countries, like Finland, go so far as to publish income tax payments, which are posted online by newspapers. That’s transparent.

Our standard local property tax can be pretty transparent. The tax value of property in many states is a matter of public record, and on the internet. Folks who don’t pay get their names put in the paper, and maybe their property sold at auction. There is the possibility that some government official is colluding with taxpayers to undervalue property, or count phantom payments, bills, but that seems like a minor worry in the United States. I feel like property tax corruption is not a huge problem.

Payments of cannabis taxes in Washington State are on the public record. Continue reading What should Greece tax?

Fees in CO & WA

Colorado’s license fees are considerably higher than Washington’s, with charges

between $2,750 and $14,000 with an additional $5,000 application fee for new

businesses. Washington charges only $250 to apply and $1,000 per year for a

marijuana business license.  — Stanford paper.


“Licenses are also highly flexible when compared to sales or excise taxes because as long as they reflect the reasonable costs of state regulation—including the costs of protecting against a vast array of externalities like public safety, hospital visits, drug rehabilitation, education, and increased administrative costs—they can be imposed by local and state governments without voter or legislative approval.” — Stanford paper.

Think of the externalities for gasoline.