The Prospects for General Sales Taxation in American State and Local Government Finance: Challenges for a Fiscal Workhorse Unready for the New Millennium
Mikesell, John L., Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management
ABSTRACT. The retail sales tax has provided a strong foundation for American state government finance since its beginnings in the Great Depression. However, its position as a productive, reliable, and administrable revenue source is now under challenge from three forces. First, it continues as a tax primarily on purchases of tangible personal property, despite the shift in consumption toward services. Second, the physical presence rule for taxation of sales by remote vendors creates an intolerable imbalance between local and remote sellers. And third, legislatures keep gnawing away at the base with politically attractive but fiscally unjustifiable exemptions. In total, the position of the sales tax as a viable and defensible revenue alternative is at risk.
The general sales tax served as the foundation for fiscal autonomy of American state and local governments for more than half the twentieth century. From its beginnings as a means of desperation finance for state governments in the Great Depression, it became the largest single source of state tax revenue by 1947, a rank it retained for fifty years by consistently contributing about one-third of tax revenue to state budgets. It provided a strong foundation for enhanced state government in the post WWII era and still continues as a strong second to personal income taxes in aggregate state finances (Mikesell, 2000). While five states (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon) levy no state sales tax, across the nation the sales tax consistently has yielded about one-third of state tax revenue. At the local level, it yields considerably more revenue than any other non-property tax, although the tax on real property is the unchallenged local revenue leader. Of course, the sales tax is an extremely important revenue source for local government in some urban areas, notably New York City, Washington, and Chicago. Replacing any considerable share of the revenue from such an important fiscal contributor would be no simple task.
Table 1 offers an overview of the role of the retail sales tax in state government finances and of the structural variations in these taxes across the states. Among the forty-five states levying the tax, states collect from 18.8 percent of their total tax revenue from the tax (New York) to 60.8 percent (Texas). Eleven raise more than 40 percent of their total tax collections from the tax; the median is 33.6 percent. It is a source of considerable fiscal significance to most of the states. To raise this revenue, states levy statutory rates ranging from 2.9 percent (Colorado) to 7 percent (Mississippi and Rhode Island). Sixteen states apply rates of 6 percent or higher, but 5 percent is the median.
The structure of the taxes is not the same across the states. When the implicit sales tax base is measured against the size of the state economy for each state, the differences are striking.1 Table 1 shows base breadth, measured by implicit sales tax base as percent of state personal income, to range from 115.4 percent in Hawaii to 26.5 percent in Illinois; the median is 46.6 percent. That comparison means that the same statutory rate will yield dramatically different amounts of revenue from the economy according to the legislative structure of the tax base; those states with few exemptions from the sales tax will raise considerably more revenue from a given tax rate than will those with narrower base structures. The structures and resulting bases differ considerably among the states, but - regardless of how structured - the tax yields revenue that would be difficult to replace.
The status of the sales tax as a reliable, administrable, and equitable revenue producer for state and local governments is being challenged by technology, economic change, and political forces. There are three primary challenges.2 First, the sales taxes continue their traditional structuring as taxes limited to the purchase (or sale) of tangible personal property. second, states remain shackled by the physical presence rule in their efforts to include purchases made from remote vendors (Internet, telemarketers, etc.) in the tax base. Finally, state legislatures themselves gnaw away at sales tax coverage by more and more household consumption exemptions. These challenges, as well as ways of dealing with them, are discussed in detail in the sections that follow.
THE GOODS FOCUS
From their beginnings in the Great Depression, state sales taxes have broadly taxed retail purchases of tangible personal property, but taxed service purchases only selectively. As Table 1 shows, even today, 25 of the 45 sales tax states levy no sales tax on service purchases beyond some utilities, tangible personal property rentals, or transient lodging - not even on installation, repair, or maintenance of taxable items. The American economy, however, has changed substantially, even if the sales tax structure has not. In 1960, only one-third of gross domestic product outside of government purchases came from personal consumption of services; by 2000, 48 percent of the economy was from these services (Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2001, Table 1.1 Gross Domestic Product). That represents a considerable change in the economic base to which the tax structure will apply. A tax structure that was acceptable for a commodity-driven economic base will not be adequate with this secular swing toward a service economy.
The logic for including services in a retail sales tax on the same basis as purchases of goods is simple. The first point is fundamental: a government should levy a retail sales tax only if it intends a broad-based levy on household consumption expenditure. In other words, the tax "should apply to all expenditures for personal consumption purposes, but not to any transactions involving use in business activity" (Due, 1982, p. 2000). An exclusion of services, an important element of household consumption, will relieve individuals spending relatively high amounts on those goods or services of part of their fair share of government cost, will reduce revenue generated at the advertised tax rate, will distort consumption and production patterns toward the untaxed categories, and will complicate collection. There is no logical reason to exclude household purchases of services from the tax, nor to include business purchases of services in the tax.
Some elements of the case for including services in the sales tax base merit particular emphasis. The first is yield: for any statutory rate, a base that includes services will produce more revenue, the relative amount of the increase depending on the services being added and the transactions already taxed. Seldom would the increase exceed 10 percent of existing yield, but that amount is not insignificant. In addition, the expanded base likely would have higher growth prospects, in light of the secular trend toward greater consumer service purchases, although the exact pattern depends on what services are taxed.
Second, expanding the tax to include services would reduce the discrimination by consumer preference that now characterizes the tax. The current practice favors the purchase of services over purchases of commodities and persons with relatively high preferences for services over those with greater preference for commodities. This violates the principle of horizontal equity; however, evidence suggests that the typical extension of the tax to services would have no significant impact on regressivity of the tax (Siegfried & Smith, 1991).
Finally, taxing services would end some operational problems and reduce some business distortions. Vendors selling both goods and services no longer would need to divide sales records between goods and services, and it no longer would be necessary to distinguish between goods and services on joint or difficult-to-define transactions, i.e., computer software, custom- made goods, optometric work, etc. It would also end the incentive for separate invoicing of labor and materials in repair, installation, and service contracting. Audit would be somewhat more difficult because the physical ingredient trail of value through the production and distribution process becomes less well defined, and some new firms will need to be registered, although many service sellers already will be registered because they also sell goods. Nevertheless, these complications have been resolved without great difficulty in the handful of instances where the tax base has been extended.
Great attention in the past decade has been given to the prospects of extending sales taxes to service, but only the same states as a decade ago - Hawaii, New Mexico, and South Dakota - apply general taxation of services (Mikesell, 1990). Many states have made aggressive but selective extensions of the sales tax to enumerated services, notably in Iowa, Minnesota, Texas, and Ohio, but roughly half the states still do not even tax repairs of goods, the purchase of which would be taxable. In recent years, Massachusetts and Connecticut moved in exactly the wrong direction, taxing services that are almost exclusively business inputs, but quickly rescinded the action. Florida made an even broader grasp. Although it specifically continued exemption of a number of household consumption services, Florida repealed the extension after a year.
A broad extension of the tax to purchases of services, however, would not be sound tax policy because many services, including many that are among those in typical legislative proposals for sales tax base expansion (advertising, for instance), are sold exclusively as production or distribution inputs and others have considerable mixed sales, partly as business inputs and partly to households (legal services, for example). Purchases by businesses should be exempt if there is a desire to nurture (or least not to discourage) small businesses and their economic development potential and to maintain transparency in taxation. Unfortunately, evidence indicates that legislatures do not easily accept the distinction between sales to business and sales to households. A broad extension of sales tax coverage to services may thus be less reasonable than a narrower approach that adds repair, installation, maintenance, and similar services rendered to taxable personal property, utility services sold to household consumers, and selected personal services rendered to individuals, with no claim of general service taxation. Revenue would be considerable and the tax would be consistent with the logic of sales taxation. However, there appears to be no practical, politically palatable way to add services generally to the retail sales tax base without creating difficult problems of administration and compliance, discrimination against less integrated firms, avoidance through sham business combinations, and general disincentives for business service-oriented economic activity.
THE REMOTE VENDOR CHALLENGE
New information technology should improve productivity, reduce costs, expand horizons, and generally improve business and government operations and household standards of living. In particular, the Internet provides an inexpensive communication, display, and delivery system that can open new markets for both old and new businesses and expand options for customers. However, commercial activity through the Internet (electronic commerce or ?-commerce) endangers the continued use of the general sales tax for the finances of these governments. State revenue policy and administration - and the legal environment in which they function - continues to assume an economic world of immobile large producers of manufactured goods that no longer exists.
The problem is not one of "taxing the Internet." To tax this vast, flexibly connected mixture of private and public computer networks that constitutes the Internet is neither meaningful nor administratively feasible. Furthermore, it would be poor public policy to subject one means of transacting business, particularly a means that seems to have exceptional advantages to an environment other than one that provides an even and level playing field so that consumers can be serviced through the most efficient means possible. Even if "taxing the Internet" were meaningful and feasible, it would not be reasonable tax policy.
The federal moratorium on internet taxation is, realistically, not a critical issue for state and local government finance.3 The greatest concerns about Internet and ?-commerce impacts on state and local taxation are in regard to the retail sales tax and the companion compensating use tax. The current situation is untenable because local and remote vendors, including those operating through the Internet, are not treated uniformly by the sales and use tax system.
The problem emerges from the rule for requiring vendors to register as tax collectors on purchases made from them. The physical presence requirement for registration was prescribed by the U. S. Supreme Court in National Bellas Hess v. [Illinois] Department of Revenue (1967) and reaffirmed in Quill v. North Dakota (1992) as a bright-line test for requiring registration, part of the effort to avoid having states place undue compliance burden on business in interstate commerce. Unfortunately, the changes in channels of business operations have made the line fuzzy. The problem is made more difficult because of the rule on affiliate enterprises. A business can organize two affiliates, one an electronic storefront and the other a conventional brick-and-mortar storefront, without having the physical presence of the latter imply a registration requirement for the other. That allows the former to operate outside the sales and use tax system, thus gaining a competitive advantage against conventional businesses and threatening the sales tax base. It is the combination of the physical presence standard and the treatment of electronic affiliates as separate entities that creates the revenue and equity problem for state and local government finance - and creates the competitive disadvantage for conventional retailers.
The current situation may be simply summarized. A local storefront must register as tax collector and remit sales tax collected from purchases made from the store. A remote vendor, electronic or otherwise, with a physical presence in the taxing jurisdiction must register as a tax collector and remit compensating use tax collected on purchases delivered into the jurisdiction.4 A remote vendor, electronic or otherwise, with no physical presence in the taxing jurisdiction need not register and need not remit compensating use tax on purchases delivered into the jurisdiction. In this last case, remitting the appropriate use tax is the responsibility of the purchaser and tax administrators can enforce the tax only by pursuit of the purchaser. What this means is that, for sales in which the vendor has physical presence, the tax is collected indirectly from the vendor who is expected to collect from the purchaser, and, for no physical presence transactions, the tax must be collected directly from the purchaser. It is not feasible to attempt direct collection of a transaction based tax like the sales and use tax.
Sales and use tax revenue lost through E-commerce is not yet huge, although it is an irritant to states and to local vendors with remote competitors. A good estimate for fiscal 1998 placed the loss at 0.1 percent of sales and use tax revenue, a tiny piece of overall state government finances (Cline & Neubig, 1999). But E-commerce was in its infancy then and the loss is certainly larger now. Internet penetration spread to many more households, people have become more comfortable with such shopping, and vendors are developing wider and more convenient shopping opportunities. State governments have become more sensitive as sales tax collections lag (although the economic recession that began in March 2001 is certainly a bigger villain than the Internet in this experience) and brick-and-mortar vendors have become more aware of the issue. The impact is certain to increase unless there is a change in the rules of administration. Bruce and Fox now estimate that by 2006 states sales and use tax revenue lost from E-commerce will grow to 5.6 percent of total state tax revenue, ranging from 3.4 percent in Massachusetts to 10.3 percent in Texas (Bruce & Fox, 2001). Certainly revenue loss from uncollected sales (use) tax is an important concern, but damage to basic economic balance, economic efficiency, and competitive fairness among vendors is at least as worrisome as a policy matter.
States can do little to cope with this registration problem. A number of states are working together to develop a less burdensome system for sales tax compliance - the Streamlining project to produce a uniform and simplified sales and use tax administration - but the outcome of this work is neither certain nor conclusive in ending the problem.5 However, to change the physical presence rule requires Congressional action because it is the role of Congress to judge when state requirements no longer constitute an undue (and hence unconstitutional) burden on interstate commerce. So far, Congress continues with the view that physical presence is the appropriate preventive measure against that burden.
The 1990s gave state legislatures an opportunity for tax reform and restructuring without the pressure of financial need looming over them. While the early years of the decade presented fiscal difficulties for most states, the last half fully reflected the longest national economic expansion on record and virtually all states enjoyed strong fiscal health. State legislatures could restructure and reform their revenue system without being driven by stark revenue necessity or fiscal crisis.
The states generally squandered the opportunity. Zodrow observed in the case of federal government finances that good economic times can be a barrier to sensible reform: "the main effect of a budget surplus may simply to be to create a feeling that the tax system is functioning perfectly well and that efforts at reform are unnecessary" (Zodrow, 1999, p. 429). States did use the prosperity to stop the steady increase in state sales tax rates: the median statutory tax rate had been increased at a rate of one percentage point per decade in the sixties, seventies, and eighties, but the median rate on the first day of 2000 was the same as it had been in 1990. In terms of the structure of the taxes, however, states not only did not reform their sales taxes, they frequently made them less consistent with revenue policy standards. In many respects, the states seem to have been determined to provide supporting evidence for Brunori's Law: "The more learned experts criticize a tax policy, the more likely it is that political leaders will embrace the policy" (Brunori, 2001, p. 605).
According to the consensus standards outlined by John Due, a sales tax should be structured to provide i) a uniform burden distribution by consumption category to prevent discrimination against individuals because of their preferences, ii) neutrality across methods of production and channels of distribution; and (iii) easy compliance for taxpayers and administration for tax authorities (Due, 1957, pp. 41-42). A sales tax structure that fails to conform to these requirements will not perform well against broader expectations of revenue policy, i. e., yield, equity, economic efficiency, collectability, and transparency. Unfortunately, states have been increasing exemption of purchases that the philosophy of general consumption taxation suggests should be taxed. Three examples deserve particular attention as explored below.
The food exemption enjoys great popularity, being a tax preference that appears to benefit everyone (except those who eat only in restaurants), that reduces regressivity, and that provides a tax-free necessity. Since 1995, new food preferences have been added by Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, and Virginia.6 Only fourteen states (see Table 1) now tax food at the full standard rate, compared with twenty-nine in 1970. However, the general food exemption removes around 15 to 20 percent of the typical sales tax base and, accordingly, results in higher general sales tax rates on the transactions remaining in the tax base (Bahl & Hawkins, 1997; Kent, 1998). Higher statutory tax rates are, of course, faulted from the revenue policy standpoints of efficiency, horizontal equity, and administrability, so should be avoided if at all feasible. Furthermore, exempting food removes a source of stability for the sales tax, thereby making it more reliant on cyclically volatile expenditure categories, particularly durable goods.
Because the percentage of income spent on food declines as income rises, the exemption does reduce sales tax regressivity. The problem is that the aid is not effectively targeted - more than forty percent of the total tax relief goes to families with incomes above $50,000, for instance (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1999). Much of the relief is wasted because people with higher incomes also purchase food, and tax relief goes with those purchases; the higher income households receive the relief just as do people with much lower incomes.
This relief to high-income people as a collateral effect of giving relief to lower income people is particularly unfortunate because another more targeted mechanism provides relief to the most deserving even in states without a general exemption for food purchases. The federal food stamp program requires that food stamp purchases be exempt from tax as a requirement for state participation and, of course, all states include such a provision in their sales tax laws. Under the assumption that food stamp recipients are the most deserving of assistance, then going beyond that necessary exemption simply extends relief to those less deserving of public charity. According to data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, 93.4 percent of a general food exemption goes to individuals not receiving food stamps (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1999). That represents a considerable loss of revenue without social purpose. With the exemption of food stamp purchases in place, the rationale for the general food exemption is extremely shaky - the marginal benefits from the exemption go heavily to households not qualifying for need-targeted assistance. To limit the exemption to food stamp purchases targets relief to the deserving and provides for improved administrative control through tracking of food stamp revenues to the vendor against claimed exempt sales.7
For many years, six states (Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Minnesota) stuck to their clothing exemption in the face of evidence that the provision provided vastly more relief for higher income households than it did for lower income households (the highest income quintile spends roughly four and one half times as much on clothing as does the lowest quintile), that the percentage of income before taxes spent on apparel generally falls as the income quintile rises so that the relief has a regressive impact, and that the exemption complicates administration and compliance, particularly when the states tried to target the tax preference by limiting it to clothing priced below some ceiling or to clothing for children.8 Now New York and Vermont have added clothing exemptions. This exemption is not possible to justify as part of sound sales tax policy. It makes even less sense than does the general food exemption, because, in addition to the effects from making the tax base narrower than household consumption, it adds to sales tax regressivity.
Sales tax holidays have emerged as one of the new gimmicks of state tax policy.9 The holidays enjoy great popularity, particularly with retailers (the ability to have a price reduction without losing any revenue is understandably attractive) and with the public (apparently lower tax-inclusive prices!). The state loses revenue, of course, but the problem is with the accompanying damage as assessed against the standards of revenue policy. The holiday will complicate tax collection because sales will need to be segregated by date of sale and by type of merchandise for vendor reporting and for audit by the tax authorities. Furthermore, higher income households make a large amount of the purchases most often included in the holidays - clothing and computers - so much of the relief will accrue to those least deserving. Finally, there will be distortion of economic activity - much of the increase in sales experienced in a holiday is spending that would have occurred at either end of the holiday period or in a neighboring non-holiday area - meaning no net improvement in economic activity, just shifting around of existing activity. There is another interesting feature of the holidays. Evidence shows that retailers respond to a holiday by increasing their net-of-sales tax prices (or by reducing their normal seasonal mark-downs), thus earning extra profit at the expense of the state. In effect, the state forgives its sales tax, the retailer increases its pre-tax prices a bit, and consumers receive only a portion of the savings from the forgiven sales tax (Hawkins, 2001).
If state finances do not require the revenue foregone in a tax holiday, reducing the statutory tax rate - or even giving general rebates to state residents, as recently has been done by Minnesota - makes more sense in terms of efficiency, state competitive position, and operating cost.
A FINAL NOTE
Where should the retail sales tax be heading? The consumption base makes sense in a market economy. Its logic is that the consumer's own assessment of capacity to afford private goods and services is a good standard for distributing the cost of services provided by the government. The retail sales tax is defensible on those consumption-based grounds. Then how should sales tax policy be formed? The following affords a reasonable guide:
The principle issue in devising general sales tax policy with regard to treatment of spending. . .is not whether the transaction at issue involves a good, a service, or a combination of the two. The question is whether the transaction forms a part of household consumption expenditure, the base for which there is some logic as a standard for distributing a share of the cost of government. The issue would be neither the nature of the transaction, in terms of good or service, nor the nature of the seller, as predominantly a service or good provider, nor whether the seller may be affluent or not. Rather, the issue is whether the buyer is a household or a business, whether the purchase is final consumption or an input" (Mikesell, 1992, p. 89).
Laying this standard against the three challenges outlined above shows the problem. Partly by state policy action and partly by external forces, the state sales taxes are drifting from that justifiable logic, putting the sales tax in jeopardy as a reliable and acceptable source of revenue. First, the focus on goods in the tax base allows a large and growing component of household consumption to go untaxed and throws the cost of government on a relatively narrower share of the potential tax base. second, the physical presence rule and its shackles on the capacity of states to include purchases made from remote vendors (Internet, telemarketers, etc.) in the tax base challenges the yield, economic balance (neutrality), and fairness of the tax. Finally, new exemptions, made feasible by the good economic times of the 1990s, have eroded sales tax coverage by more and more household consumption exemptions, adopted usually for arguably noble motives but ultimately reducing the yield, stability, neutrality, and ease of administration of the tax.
Because of these challenges, states face an important policy choice: to seek to preserve the sales tax as a viable and defensible revenue alternative for distribution shares of the cost of government services or to seek revenue options other than the sales tax to finance these costs. The discussions need to begin, before pressing need drives governments to alternatives that could threaten the American tradition of fiscal independence and autonomy that has been the hallmark of this federal system.
1. The approach to calculating the implicit sales tax base is outlined in detail in John F. Due and John L. Mikesell (1994). 2. Should supporters of a retail sales tax for the federal government succeed (two recent proposals: the Individual Tax Freedom Act of 2001 (H.R. 2717) and the Fair Tax Act of 2001 (H.R. 2525)), the competition between federal and state/ local government for sales tax revenue and the complications associated with multiple-tier administration would constitute a fourth, and possibly overwhelming, challenge. Using the value added tax format for taxing consumption at the federal level would cause fewer problems.
3. The "Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act" (Enrolled H. R. 1552) that Congress approved in November 2001 extends for two years the initial three-year moratorium against new taxes on Internet activity. The state tax most endangered is the existing use tax, as explained here. It is not affected by the moratorium because it pre-exists the moratorium.
4. The problem is primarily one of purchases made through the Internet (or other remote vending formats) and delivered through conventional means (postal service, delivery firms, etc.) and not of purchases delivered through the Internet. Only purchases subject to digitization can currently be delivered by that means, and that is a small component of the possible tax base. Furthermore, many such purchases are not taxable, even if purchased from a local storefront - part of the general failure of state sales taxes to keep up with economic change.
5. Twenty states plus the District of Columbia had adopted a simplified system by the beginning of December 2001. California and New York are notable for their absence from the list.
6. Louisiana restored an exemption that had been suspended temporarily because of state fiscal problems.
7. 7. Relief can also be provided by direct rebates (South Dakota, Wyoming, and Kansas) or by income tax credits (Hawaii, Oklahoma, Idaho, and Georgia) to return a portion of sales tax collected to households in the state. Flat payments provide relatively greater relief to low than to high income households and thus reduce regressivity of the tax; the payments can have even greater impact on regressivity if they diminish as household income is higher. The credit / rebate structure can have greater impact on regressivity at lower revenue loss than would be the case for a food exemption.
8. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey (1999) data show the lowest quintile to spend $788 per year on apparel and related services while the highest quintile spends $3,478. That amounts to 10.8 percent of income before tax for the lowest and 3.2 percent for the highest.
9. The list of tax holidays includes Michigan (June 27 - July 31, 1980, reduced rate for certain motor vehicles), Ohio (September 19 - November 18, 1980, reduced rate for certain motor vehicles), New York (six holidays, the first from January 18 - 24, 1997, for clothing), Florida (Aug. 15 - Aug. 21, 1998, July 13 - August 8, 1999, July 29 - August 6, 2000, and July 28 - August 5, 2001 for clothing and accessories), Texas (August 6 - 8, 1999, August 4-6, 2000. and August 3-5, 2001 - legislated as an annual event - for clothing and footwear), Connecticut (August 20 - 26, 2000 and August 19 - 25, 2001 - legislated as an annual event - for clothing and footwear), South Carolina (August 4-6, 2000 and August 3-5, 2001 - legislated as an annual event - for clothing, computers, and supplies), Pennsylvania (August 6-13, 2000, February 18, 25, 2001, and August 5 - 12, 2001 for computers), Iowa (August 4-5, 2000, August 3-4, 2001 - legislated as an annual event for the first Friday and Saturday of August - for clothing and footwear), Maryland (August 10 - 16, 2001 for clothing), Illinois (July 1 - December 31, 2001 - gasoline), Indiana (July 1 - October 25, 2000 for gasoline), Illinois (July 1 - December 31, 2000 for gasoline), and the District of Columbia (August 3-12, 2001 for clothing, footwear, and school supplies and November 23 - December 2, 2001 for clothing, shoes, and accessories costing $100 or less).
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Due, J.F. (1957). Sales Taxation. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.
Due, J.F. (1982). "Sales Tax Exemptions - The Erosion of the Tax Base," Revenue Administration, 50, 199-203.
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Hawkins, R.R. (2001, October). Price Effects around a Sales Tax Holiday. Unpublished working paper. City, FL: University of West Florida, Department of Economics.
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Mikesell, J.L. (1992, Spring). State sales tax policy in a changing economy: Balancing political and economic logic against revenue need. Public Budgeting & Finance, 12 (1), 83-91.
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John L. Mikesell*
* John L. Mikesell, Ph.D., is Professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University. His research interest is in state and local lax structure and administration, particularly sales and property taxes.…
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Publication information: Article title: The Prospects for General Sales Taxation in American State and Local Government Finance: Challenges for a Fiscal Workhorse Unready for the New Millennium. Contributors: Mikesell, John L. - Author. Journal title: Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management. Volume: 16. Issue: 1 Publication date: Spring 2004. Page number: 63+. © PrAcademics Press, Florida Atlantic University Spring 2007. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.