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Author: Marron, Donald

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How Should Governments Use Revenue from Corrective Taxes? (Article)
Donald MarronAdele Morris

Corrective taxes can encourage healthier, safer, and less polluting behavior. But how should governments use their revenue? Options abound to cut other taxes, boost spending, or reduce borrowing. We organize those uses into four categories: offsetting new burdens, furthering the same goal, compensating people harmed by the taxed activity, or funding unrelated priorities. We illustrate them with examples including greenhouse gas emissions, unhealthy foods, financial transactions, tobacco, gasoline, and other products. We discuss the pros and cons of competing revenue uses and describe tradeoffs across their social benefits and political appeal.

Published: 01/29/16
Availability:   PDF


Should We Tax Unhealthy Foods and Drinks? (Research Report)
Donald MarronMaeve GearingJohn Iselin

What we eat and drink can cause obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and other conditions. In response, many governments have enacted or are considering taxes on unhealthy food and drinks. This report evaluates the rationale behind such taxes; reviews evidence on their effects; analyzes different ways of structuring them; draws lessons from taxes on tobacco, alcohol, and carbon emissions; and offers a framework for assessing their benefits and costs. Taxing can influence what people eat and drink, but it is not a silver bullet. Governments must balance potential health gains against taxes’ limits and costs.

Published: 12/14/15
Availability:   PDF


Taxing Carbon and Recycling the Revenue: Who Wins and Loses? (Article/Tax Facts)
Donald MarronEric ToderLydia Austin

This Tax Fact explores the distributional impact of taxing carbon dioxide to combat climate change and in recycling the revenues into tax cuts.

Published: 11/30/15
Availability:   PDF


Should We Tax Internalities Like Externalities? (Research Report)
Donald Marron

Does the traditional rationale for taxing externalities also apply to internalities? Yes, if the goal is maximizing efficiency. Efficient taxes reflect any harms consumers overlook, whether to others or themselves. Yes with caution, if the goal also includes equity. Internality taxes fall most heavily on consumers who overlook future costs, a group that tends to have lower incomes. No if the goal is improving the well-being of people who consume harmful products. That paternalistic goal generally implies lower taxes than do efficiency or welfare maximization. In fact, the optimal paternalistic tax is often zero.

Published: 11/10/15
Availability: HTML | PDF


Taxing Carbon: What, Why, and How (Document)
Donald MarronEric ToderLydia Austin

The case for a carbon tax is strong. A well-designed tax could efficiently reduce the emissions that cause climate change and encourage innovation in cleaner technologies. The resulting revenue could finance tax reductions, spending priorities, or deficit reduction—policies that could offset the tax’s distributional and economic burdens, improve the environment, or otherwise improve Americans’ well-being. But moving a carbon tax from the whiteboard to reality is challenging. To help policymakers, analysts, and the public address those challenges, this report examines the what, why, and how of implementing a carbon tax and using the revenue it would generate.

Published: 06/25/15
Availability:   PDF


How Much Do Taxes Affect Startup Investment Incentives? (Commentary)
Donald MarronJoseph Rosenberg

In a contribution to the Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship blog of Kauffman.org. Joseph Rosenberg and Donald Marron examine how tax policy affects investment incentives for startup companies. Startups often make losses, and thus cannot make immediate use of the R&D tax credit, accelerated depreciation, and other tax benefits. The value of those benefits declines the longer startups have to wait to use them. This puts startups and fast-growing young firms at a disadvantage relative to established companies.

Published: 03/18/15
Availability: HTML


Tax Policy and Investment by Startups and Innovative Firms (Research Report)
Joseph RosenbergDonald Marron

Our tax system imposes widely varying tax rates on investments in different activities, favors debt over equity, and favors pass-throughs over corporations. Targeted tax incentives can lower the cost of capital for small businesses, startups, and those that invest in intellectual property. But those advantages are weakened, and sometimes eliminated, because businesses that invest in new ideas rely more on higher-taxed equity than do firms that focus on tangible investment and because startups are often limited in their ability to use tax deductions and credits. These limits can more than offset the benefit from tax incentives.

Published: 02/09/15
Availability:   PDF


The $300 Billion Question: How Should We Budget for Federal Lending Programs? (Research Report)
Donald Marron

Student loans, mortgage guarantees, and other lending programs create special challenges for federal budgeting. Under official budget rules, these programs are projected to bring in $200 billion over the next decade. Under an alternative, favored by many analysts, they appear to lose $100 billion. That $300 billion disparity confuses policy deliberations. In this report, Donald Marron proposes a new budgeting approach, known as expected returns, that would eliminate this confusion. The report critically reviews today’s budgeting approaches, identifies their flaws, and demonstrates how expected returns would improve budgeting for federal lending.

Published: 09/29/14
Availability:   PDF


A Better Way to Budget for Federal Lending Programs (Policy Briefs)
Donald Marron

Policy analysts have long debated how best to budget for student loans, mortgage guarantees, and other federal lending programs. Under official budget rules, these programs appear highly profitable; under an alternative, favored by many analysts, they appear to lose money. That discrepancy confuses policy deliberations. In this brief, Donald Marron proposes a new budgeting approach, known as expected returns, that would eliminate this confusion. Unlike existing approaches, expected returns accurately reports the fiscal effects of lending over time and provides a natural way to distinguish the fiscal gains from bearing financial risk from the subsidies given to borrowers.

Published: 09/29/14
Availability:   PDF


Tax Policy Issues in Designing a Carbon Tax (Article)
Donald MarronEric Toder

A carbon tax is a promising tool for discouraging the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. In principle, a well-designed tax could reduce the risk of climate change, minimize the cost of emissions reductions, encourage innovation in low-carbon technologies, and raise new public revenue. But designing a real-world carbon tax poses significant challenges. We analyze those challenges from a public finance perspective, emphasizing three tax policy design issues: setting the tax rate, collecting the tax, and using the resulting revenue. The benefits of a carbon tax will depend on how policymakers address those issues. Copyright American Economic Association; reproduced with permission of the American Economic Review.

Published: 05/27/14
Availability: HTML | PDF

1-10 of 51     Back to Authors Next>>