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BPAA Biweekly State Policy Updates - December 14

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TAX NEWS

  • Bloomberg Government - Utah Governor Wants to Return $200M to Taxpayers:
    • State has $1.3 billion in surplus revenue
    • Tax base broadening measures included in FY 2020 budget plan
    • Taxpayers in Utah would see a net decrease of about $200 million in sales taxes under a budget proposal released by Gov. Gary R. Herbert (R). The governor’s budget proposal, released Dec. 6, calls for a number of “tax system modernization” measures, including several proposals to broaden the sales tax base, lower the rate, and eliminate the state’s business personal property tax. The state’s budget is flush thanks to nearly $1.3 billion in surplus revenue driven by better-than-expected economic conditions and additional remote sales taxes expected next year in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s groundbreaking decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair. The Utah Legislature approved a remote seller law, effective Jan. 1, that is similar to the South Dakota law at the center of the case. About $650 million of the fiscal year 2020 projected revenue comes from one-time monies, while the remaining $650 million comes from higher-than-anticipated ongoing revenue, Sen. Howard Stephenson (R), chair of the Utah Legislature’s Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee, told Bloomberg Tax Dec. 6.
       
  • Voters Could Abolish California Tax Board in 2020: California voters could decide in 2020 whether to abolish the 139-year-old State Board of Equalization now that it has few tax administration duties remaining in its portfolio. A.C.A. 2 by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian (D) would shift the elected board’s remaining duties to other tax agencies. The board’s oversight of property tax, alcohol tax, and insurance tax would shift to the Franchise Tax Board or the newly created California Department of Tax and Fee Administration and Office of Tax Appeals. Lawmakers must approve the bill to place it before voters in 2020 as an amendment to the state Constitution. Nazarian introduced the bill on the first day of a new legislative session Dec. 3, and lawmakers can begin debate on it in early 2019.
     
  • Bloomberg Government - N.J.'s Pascrell Plans to Reintroduce SALT Deduction Legislation: New Jersey Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell says he’ll introduce a bill early next year to reinstate the state and local tax deduction.
    • 2017 tax bill put a $10k cap on the deduction
    • Pascrell, who represents a high-tax state which would be heavily impacted by the cap, says his bill will pay for restoring SALT by raising the corporate tax rate to 25% but acknowledges that is a “subject of debate”
    • Separately, Pascrell is still running to lead the House Ways and Means Trade Subcmte when the next Congress begins and expects decision to be delayed until January
       
  • Politico - Minnesota state legislators failed to agree on a plan to sync up their tax system with the revamped U.S. system, which will mean headaches for taxpayers there, the Associated Press reports. Remember, state tax systems are linked to the federal tax system to varying degrees, and states have had to rewrite their codes in response to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

LABOR NEWS

  • Texas: U.S. Department Of Labor To Provide Educational Forum On Resolving Overtime And Minimum Wage Violations In Austin, Texas, On December 17, 2018:  The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) will present an educational forum about developments in its policies and regulations, and its Payroll Audit Independent Determination Program (PAID), in Austin, Texas, on December 17, 2018. PAID facilitates resolution of potential overtime and minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The program's primary objectives are to resolve such claims quickly and without litigation, to improve employers' compliance with overtime and minimum wage obligations, and to ensure that more employees receive the back wages they are owed – faster. Read more here.

ALCOHOL NEWS

  • Capitol-Husting deal opens door for more out-of-state wine and spirits in Wisconsin: Online alcohol distribution is coming to Wisconsin. Liberation Distribution, better known as LibDib, is a California-based alcohol wholesaler that coordinates online booze distribution through a web and mobile platform. LibDib's service has been available to California and New York restaurants, bars and retailers for over a year, and Wisconsin will become the third state where it's licensed to do business. To manage its Wisconsin operations, LibDib has partnered with northwest Milwaukee distributor Capitol-Husting Co. Inc. The partnership will allow any licensed producer of wine and spirits to sell their products into Wisconsin and any licensed business in the state to purchase them. This process keeps manufacturers and retailers in compliance with the state's three-tier system for alcohol distribution. A news release doesn't specifically mention craft beer, and Capitol-Husting's web directory doesn't include any beer distribution. LibDib's online marketplace will go live for resellers in Wisconsin after Jan. 1. "Our partnership provides extensive new distribution options for small, craft producers at a time when consumer demand for these products continues to rise," said Greg Alevizos, owner and president of Capitol-Husting. LibDib founder and CEO Cheryl Durzy called Capitol-Husting "extremely forward-thinking" and said LibDib will use the distributors' long-standing relationships to bring "hundreds of products from around the world" to Wisconsin. Read more at BizJournals.

SPORTS BETTING

  • Bloomberg Government: Missouri Senator Pushes Plan to Legalize Sports Betting: Missouri would join eight states that have legalized sports betting since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled they could under a pre-filed bill. The bill (S.B. 44) would allow sports betting at floating casinos in the state and via online platforms, and would impose a 12 percent tax on the operators’ adjusted gross receipts received from wagers. The bill also would impose an administrative fee of 2 percent of adjusted gross receipts, and an integrity fee of one-half percent of the gross amount wagered. Leagues have pushed for use of an integrity fee as a way to get a slice of the betting pie. But in this case, the proposed fee would cover construction and maintenance costs at publicly funded sports facilities, rather than being sent directly to the leagues. Many states have been scrambling to legalize sports betting in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year in Murphy v. NCAA, in which the court held that the federal statute banning state-sanctioned sports betting was unconstitutional. Twenty-one states, along with Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, have proposed or enacted laws to allow sports betting. Delaware, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia have begun taking bets, opening new revenue streams in the process. New York has legalized sports betting, but isn’t yet taking bets. Around $150 billion is bet nationwide in the illegal sports gambling market each year, including $2.8 billion in Missouri, according to the American Gaming Association, which represents the casino industry.
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