David Brunori, Deputy Publisher at Tax Analysts, recently wrote an article entitled, "More Than a Surrender When It Comes To Taxing Business." You can see his LinkedIn post with comments here. The article discusses how states let politics, and even taxpayers cause them to enact bad tax policy.
I am a taxpayer advocate fighting the daily struggle for clarity, but this week I find myself feeling sympathetic to the states and their challenge of collecting revenue (I know, strange right). We operate in a grey and political world with many influences and interpretations. Sometimes taxpayers are right. Sometimes the states are right. The challenge is knowing the difference.
I agree that states (and the federal government) do not make wise fiscal decisions which leads to misuse of funds and the request for more. States have "created their own mess" in regards to tax cuts and other incentives for job creation. My point is, after doing this profession for 20+ years, I think we (as tax professionals) can get used to doing what we do and fighting for taxpayers, and we don't pause to see the perception from the other side. The people we deal with in the DORs are people operating within an extremely challenging bureaucracy (run by politics, bad policies) and face challenges of perhaps bad training, and the lack of resources (people and money). Bottom line, we need to work together to find reasonable and practical solutions. We don't need to talk "at" each other. We need to talk "with" each other.
I am for fair, reasonable and constitutional tax policy. Unfortunately, that isn't what we usually get. We get ambiguity open to interpretation, and law that favors in-state taxpayers.
What do you think causes states to enact bad tax policy?