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Author: Marron, Donald

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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


Tax Subsidies for Health and Housing Top $600 Billion (Article/Tax Facts)
Georgia IvsinDonald Marron

Tax expenditures will cost more than $1.4 trillion in fiscal year 2014. Those that support health and housing policies account for more than 40 percent of this number, or about $640 billion. These figures and their accompanying table are calculations derived from the tax expenditure estimates in the Treasury's Analytical Perspectives for the president's fiscal year 2015 budget

Published: 05/01/14
Availability:   PDF


Tax Issues Facing Small Business: Testimony before the Small Business Committee, United States House of Representatives (Testimony)
Donald Marron

In testimony before the House Small Business Committee, Donald Marron examines how tax policy affects small business. Complying with the tax code places a disproportionate burden on small businesses. On the other hand, small businesses are more likely to underpay their taxes, sometimes inadvertently, sometimes not. Tax reform could shift the relative tax burden of small and large businesses and recalibrate the balance between pass-through and C corporation structures. The effect will depend on the details and may vary among businesses of different sizes, industries, and organizational forms. Reform also provides an opportunity to reduce compliance burdens on small businesses.

Published: 04/09/14
Availability:   PDF


The Costs of Debt Limit Brinksmanship: Testimony before the Joint Economic Committee (Testimony)
Donald Marron

In this testimony before the Joint Economic Committee, Donald Marron offers Congress four pieces of advice as it faces the looming debt limit. First, Congress must increase the debt limit; failing to do so will result in severe economic harm. Second, Congress should not wait until the last minute to raise the limit; as we saw in 2011, such brinksmanship is economically and fiscally costly. Third, our economy remains fragile, so Congress should avoid self-inflicted shocks. Finally, the long-run budget outlook remains challenging and deserves attention, but the near-term fiscal priorities are funding the government and increasing the debt limit.

Published: 09/18/13
Availability:   PDF


Tax Policy and the Size of Government  (Research Report)
Donald MarronEric Toder

Measuring the size of government is not simple. Standard measures omit important aspects of government action such as the many deductions, credits, and other tax preferences used to influence resource allocation. We argue that many tax preferences are effectively spending. Traditional measures of government size thus understate both spending and revenues. Reductions in spending-like tax preferences are tax increases in traditional budget accounting but are effectively spending reductions; increasing marginal tax rates raises both taxes and spending in our expanded measure. Some tax increases thus reduce government, while others expand it. (Presented at the National Tax Association 2011 Annual Conference)

Published: 06/24/13
Availability:   PDF


A Practical Challenge to Stand-Alone Corporate Tax Reform (Article/Tax Facts)
Donald Marron

Leaders in both parties appear to favor revenue-neutral corporate tax reform that would lower today's 35 percent tax rate while slashing corporate tax breaks. Individual tax reform appears much more contentious, so some observers wonder whether Congress might pursue corporate tax reform by itself, separate from any individual reforms. Such reform faces a big practical challenge, however. Many corporate tax breaks also apply to noncorporate businesses, which are taxed under the individual income tax. Efforts to broaden the corporate base could therefore have significant effects on individual income taxes, making it difficult to pursue corporate reform separately.

Published: 05/06/13
Availability:   PDF


Carbon Taxes and Corporate Tax Reform (Research Report)
Donald MarronEric Toder

The revenues from a carbon tax could help finance lower corporate tax rates, extending business tax preferences, or other corporate tax reforms. Such a tax swap would reduce the environmental risks of carbon emissions and improve the efficiency of America’s corporate tax system. But it would also pose a significant distributional challenge. A carbon tax would fall disproportionately on low-income families, while corporate tax cuts would disproportionately benefit those with high incomes. Policymakers may want to use some revenue to offset those impacts. They may also want to use some carbon revenues for deficit reduction.

Published: 02/11/13
Availability:   PDF


Is the Trillion-Dollar Platinum Coin Clever or Insane? (Commentary)
Donald Marron

In a contribution to CNNMoney, Donald Marron argues that minting a $1 trillion platinum coin if Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling sounds crazy. But it might actually work if done in smaller denominations.

Published: 01/09/13
Availability: HTML


Toppling Off the Fiscal Cliff: Whose Taxes Rise and How Much? (Research Report)
Roberton WilliamsEric ToderDonald MarronHang Nguyen

The looming fiscal cliff threatens to boost taxes by more than $500 billion in 2013 when many temporary tax provisions are scheduled to expire. Nearly 90 percent of Americans would pay more tax, primarily because the temporary cut in Social Security taxes and many of the 2001/2003 tax cuts would expire. Low-income households would pay more due to expiration of tax credits in the 2009 stimulus. High-income households would be hit hard by higher tax rates on ordinary income, capital gains, and dividends and by the new health reform taxes. And marginal tax rates would rise, potentially affecting economic decisions.

Published: 10/01/12
Availability:   PDF


Fiscal Cliff: How Much Would Taxes Rise in 2013? (Video / Commentary)
Donald Marron

Donald Marron, director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, walks viewers through the anatomy of the Fiscal Cliff, explaining exactly what is at stake for Americans in various income groups.

Published: 10/01/12
Availability: HTML

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