2016 NTC Annual Meeting October 16-18, Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, NV

Philosophy of Organization

MCFE, a 501(c)(4), exists to educate and inform Minnesotans about sound fiscal policy; to provide state and local policymakers with objective, non-partisan research about the impacts of tax and spending policies and publish the research for the general public; and to advocate for the adoption of rational public fiscal policy.

MAJOR PUBLICATIONS

  • 50-State Property Tax Comparison Study (2007 edition)
  • Public Pensions in MN: Re-Definable Benefits & Under-Reported Performance (May 2007)
  • Disincentives to Earn: An Analysis of Effective Tax Rates on Low Income Minnesota Households (April 2007)
  • Understanding Business Taxation (April 2007)

MCFE publishes a bi-monthly newsletter entitled Fiscal Focus. Other bulletins include Legislative Spotlight, “How Does Minnesota Compare?”; “Understanding Your Property Taxes”; “Understanding Education Finance”; “The Green Book—Fiscal Facts for Minnesotans”.

Note: We do not directly lobby for legislation, but advocate for sound tax policy. The legislation listed below was a result of our research and advocacy for good tax policy.

  • Sustainable Forest Incentive Act (2001—MCFE was hired to study the best approach to taxing private forests. Its study was the basis for the act.)
  • Property Tax Reform of 2001 (MCFE had argued for many years that the disparity in tax burden between business and residential property was not consistent with an accountable tax system. Our 50-state property tax comparison study, first published in 1996, and its updates in 1998 and 2000, along with our constant advocacy for a compression of the disparities, played a significant role in reducing the disparity between business and residential property taxes that was the heart of the 2001 reform.
  • Individual income tax rate reduction for all brackets, 1999 and 2000(MCFE’s 1997 Individual Income Tax Burden Study and its update in 1999 was instrumental in showing the need for across the board rate cuts, rather than on just the lower two brackets.

WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT MTA

“They’ve had a bigger impact on tax policy than any other organization that purports to be an expert in tax policy.”
-Former Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe (DFL) from 1974 to 2002

“_Among the watchers and pleaders at tax conference committee meetings this week, you don’t find credentials any deeper, or more detached from partisanship.”
-Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial June 7, 2001

“…it’s very, very important that you deal with people of honor…and the Minnesota Taxpayers Association…and their leadership at the Capitol represent that…”
-Representative Steve Sviggum (R), Speaker of the Minnesota House

“…they’re not a typical Capitol spokesperson for a particular interest. They really speak for what’s the best tax policy and they really stand for quality research…”
-Richard Forschler Faegre & Benson, LLP (an MCFE board member)

PHILOSOPHY OF ORGANIZATION

The MTF, a 501(c)(3), is a nationally recognized, independent, non-partisan organization focusing on state spending and tax policies and the Massachusetts economy. Our mission is to provide accurate, unbiased research with balanced, thoughtful recommendations that strengthen the state’s finances and economy in order to foster the long-term well being of the Commonwealth. Over the course of seven decades the Foundation has played an instrumental role in achieving major reforms and promoting sound public policy in state government. Our unique credibility has allowed the Foundation to have a significant impact on a wide range of issues-from education financing, business costs and health care to tax competitiveness, capital investments and the stability of state finances.

MAJOR PUBLICATIONS

  • An Economy in Transition: Reducing the High Cost of Doing Business in Massachusetts
  • Interstate Tax Comparisons: Where Does Massachusetts Stand?
  • Reaching the Breaking Point: The Commonwealth’s Capital Dilemma
  • State Budget 05-06: The Clash Between Expectations & Reality
  • Municipal Financial Data
  • Legislative Directory

WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT MTF

“Massachusetts legislators count on MTF for credible forecasts of state revenues, perceptive policy analysis and candid fiscal updates. They know that MTF provides information that is presented in a non-partisan and objective manner. As a legislator, I often relied on MTF and will continue to look to the group for guidance as Treasurer.”
- former Treasurer Shannon O’Brien

PHILOSOPHY OF ORGANIZATION

PAR, a 501(c)(3), is an independent voice and catalyst for governmental reform in Louisiana, offering solutions to critical issues through accurate, objective research and focusing public attention on those solutions.

MAJOR PUBLICATIONS

  • Taxes: The Unfinished Business of Fiscal Reform
  • Corporate Tax Burdens in the Southern States: A Comparison
  • 1999 Louisiana Tax Handbook
  • PAR’s Guide to the 2005 Louisiana Legislature
  • 2003 Guide to the Constitutional Amendments

WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT PAR

The PAR report (“The Community College Question”) was instrumental in moving discussions about a community college system forward. The system we’re proposing is, in fact, very similar to what PAR recommended.”
- former Governor Mike Foster

PHILOSOPHY OF ORGANIZATION

The Iowa Taxpayers Association (ITA), a 501(c)(4), is a business-sponsored tax policy organization founded in 1935. ITA’s mission is to educate and inform Iowans about sound fiscal policy; provide state policymakers with objective, nonpartisan research about the impact of specific tax and spending policies; and advocate for the adoption of rational public fiscal policy as it relates to business and corporate taxes. ITA is comprised of companies and organizations that represent Iowa 's most involved corporate citizens. They share the same ideal of promoting tax policy that is fair, accountable, and competitive. ITA is a respected source of objective advocacy for rational laws and regulations as they relate to business tax issues.

MAJOR PUBLICATIONS

ITA Legislative Bulletin-Published weekly to provide an update to members on legislative and regulatory proposals.

ITA Statement of Policies and Initiatives-Sets forth ITA's positions on key state business issues that are important to the Association's stated mission and purpose.

State Budget Review-Conducted at several specific points-in-time each year. The goal of this annual review is to encourage the key fiscal policy developers and lawmakers of Iowa to continue their consideration of sound budgeting principles as the budgeting process moves forward every year.

How Iowa Compares

WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT ITA

“Every company doing business in Iowa should be a member of the Iowa Taxpayers Association, the most effective organization of its kind when it comes to positively impacting the bottom line of your Iowa operation.”
-Timothy M. Wilkinson, Vice President, ALCOA

Philosophy of Organization

TFI, a 501(c)(4), is dedicated to the principle that an educated and well-informed public ensures better government. We are devoted to offering independent, nonpartisan research that presents reliable, objective analyses of government spending and tax policies. The Federation does not oppose all taxes, but is ever-present to ensure that taxes are fair, equitable, not excessive, and that governments are reasonable and efficient in the use of citizen’s tax dollars.

The Federation strives to not only help focus attention on problems, but also provide direction for their resolution in a positive and constructive manner. We believe in a “proactive” role in helping to shape the state’s tax laws, one that is best served by an even-handed approach to consensus and coalition building. The Federation is a watchdog for the largely hidden costs of government associated with debt obligations and pension funds, and alert to the inconspicuous rate adjustments which result in real estate tax increases. The Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois does not guarantee that every member will agree with each study, recommendation or legislative initiative it undertakes. Nevertheless, the membership can be confident that, year after year, the Federation will have a key role in shaping state and local tax policy, and continue to protect each type of taxpayers - whether a large corporation, a small business or an individual.

MAJOR PUBLICATIONS

  • County Government Law - A Reference Guide
  • Practical Guide to Illinois Property Taxes - 2004 edition
  • Taxation Without Explanation: The Illinois Property Tax System
  • Tax Increment Financing in Illinois
  • Illinois Tax Facts, an 8-page newsletter, is published approximately 4 times per year.
  • TFI report from the Capitol is published weekly during the legislative session.

SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Property Tax
• Advocated substantial changes to the Cook County tax appeal process that give Cook County taxpayers the same rights of appeal granted to taxpayers across the state.
• Shepherded legislation to clarify the definition of real and personal property through successful passage in the state Senate and filed a legal brief in support of the appellate court decision against reclassification of property.
• Drafted modifications limiting the uses of the local government tort immunity fund by prohibiting the accumulation of excessive reserves in self-insurance funds and the levy or extension of additional property taxes if excessive reserves exist.
• Supported legislation establishing tax caps in the Collar Counties and Cook, as well as Downstate.
• Played a preeminent role in passage of the recodification of property tax laws.

Income Tax
• In the forefront of several income tax issues of importance, working on laws to encourage economic development and business expansion in Illinois.
• Initiated and advocated a change in the apportionment of income for the corporate income tax from a three-factor formula to a single sales factor.
• Helped alter penalty and interest assessments against taxpayers who inadvertently file late returns.
• Led the successful campaign for the establishment of an income tax refund account for both corporate and individual taxpayers.
• Initiated legislation establishing a research and development tax credit for qualified businesses and supported its extension.

Sales Tax
Currently leading the legislative effort to recodify sales and use tax laws and simplify their application; clarified procedures relating to the administration of the Manufacturer’s Purchase Credit, thereby streamlining the process for taxpayers and the Department of Revenue; supported various machinery and equipment exemptions from the Illinois sales tax for several industries, including manufacturing, printing, food processing, farming, mineral extraction, refining, etc.; and spearheaded the review and realignment of state sales tax increment finance law.

Tax Administration
Guided adoption of uniform penalty and interest provisions, which replaced a system that used six different interest rates and 30 penalties, with one using a single interest rate and seven penalties and helped implement numerous tax law changes through participation in the rulemaking process.

Public Utility Taxes
Supported a bill to make Illinois’ natural gas suppliers more competitive. Supported exclusion of state taxes and other add-ons from the base upon which municipal utility taxes are figured, and, chaired the Electric Utility Property Assessment Task Force, created by the General Assembly to examine the effects of electric utility deregulation on taxing districts containing power generating plants.

Corporate Franchise Tax
Spearheaded changes to the Business Corporation Act.

WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT TFI

“I have long supported meaningful property tax reform for Illinois Taxpayers, and believe the Federation’s efforts are critical to achieving that goal.”
- Former Governor Jim Edgar

“While we’re on the subject [of political accountability], we’d like to say a word for the Taxpayers’ Federation. The federation is a unique, nonpartisan and highly credible voice in Illinois that will need the business community’s strong continuing support...The federation’s strength is the high quality of its research, and its reputation for fairness.”
- Editorial in Crain’s Chicago

PHILOSOPHY OF ORGANIZATION

The ATI, A 501 (c) (4) , is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization, working on behalf of Idaho's taxpayer for effective, economical responsible government through research and public education.

MAJOR PUBLICATIONS

  • History of Property, Income and Sales Taxation in Idaho; Idaho’s Tax System – Intergovernmental Revenue Sharing (Federal/State/Local Taxes and Fees)
  • Idaho Family Tax Burden
  • How Does Idaho Compare
  • Idaho Property Tax Levy Report
  • Idaho Sales Tax Collections by County
  • History of Idaho Income
  • Sales and Property Taxation

In addition, various Property Tax reports and Annual State Revenue Projections.

The ATI Tax Bulletin is published weekly during the legislative session and partnered annually with the ATI Newsletter.

SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Title 63, Property Tax Recodification; annual, ongoing research and testimony before legislative tax committees and others; staying involved by contributing to tax policy decisions and helping maintain a stable Idaho tax system; providing information and research for our members and for various industry and other groups that ATI’s members are participants; successful, well attended, annual Tax Conference addressing current and upcoming tax issues.

WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT ATI

“I am grateful to the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho for taking the time and energy to produce the Idaho Family Tax Burden report. Non-partisan tax research, such as this, aides Idaho’s taxpayers and public officials in understanding the complex tax issues instrumental in shaping Idaho tax policy.”
-Former Governor Philip E. Batt

“Clear, concise tax information by the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho benefits all of us involved in forming Idaho tax policy decisions.”
-Former Senator Jerry Thorne, Chairman, Idaho Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee

“Independent research projects of the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho are useful educational materials for Idaho’s legislature, local officials, media and taxpayers at large. I encourage your financial support of this nonpartisan work.”
- Former Representative Donna Jones, Chairman House Revenue and Taxation Committee

PHILOSOPHY OF ORGANIZATION

As a 501(c)(3), Florida TaxWatch is a private, non-profit, non-partisan research institute that over its 25 year history has become widely recognized as the watchdog of citizens’ hard-earned tax dollars. Our mission is to provide the citizens of Florida and public officials with high quality, independent research and education on government revenues, expenditures, taxation, public policies and programs and to increase the productivity and accountability of Florida Government.

Florida TaxWatch’s empirically sound research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of economic and tax and spend policies and practices on citizens and businesses. Florida TaxWatch has worked diligently and effectively to help state government shape responsible fiscal and public policy that add value and benefit taxpayers. It’s the only statewide organization devoted entirely to Florida taxing and spending issues.

MAJOR PUBLICATIONS

  • How Florida Compares
  • Florida Intangibles Tax Report
  • Ideas in Action series
  • Research Report series
  • Budget Watch series

SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENTS

2005
Substitute Business Communications Tax Repeal. A FTW Task Force and resulting research recommended that the Legislature repeal the tax to avoid a large unintended tax increase that would have a negative effect on the state’s economy and competitiveness. Subsequently, the Legislature passed a bill that repealed the tax and established a study commission. Constitutional Revision Reform. The 2005 Legislature created a proposed constitutional amendment that would implement a long- standing Florida TaxWatch recommendation to require a 3/5 vote of the electors voting on an amendment instead of the current simple amendments to the Florida Constitution have passed with the approval of a majority of registered voters.

2006
Full Repeal of Tax on Intangibles. FTW began its push for a phased-in repeal of this unfair, outdated tax in 1998, through the work of the Intangibles Tax Task Force, with effective reductions of the rate from 2 mils to 1.5 mil, to 1 mil and down to .5 mil during the 2005 Session. In 2006, the Legislature completed the full repeal of the tax.

Repeal of Alcoholic Beverage Surcharge. For several years, and through two publications released during the 2006 Session, FTW strongly recommended repeal of this “by-the-drink tax,” that is costly and complicated to administer, audit and enforce, and unfairly burdensome to merchants. The 2006 Legislature repealed the surcharge to be effective July 2007.

Joint and Several Liability. TaxWatch provided key research and testimony quantifying the limited impact repeal would have on the state’s Medicaid budget. This bill abolished the legal doctrine of joint and several liability, ensuring that parties to a lawsuit will not be liable for damages in excess of their percentage of responsibility.

2007
Championed True Property Tax Reform. Florida TaxWatch brought relative, data driven research and recommendations to urge true property tax reform - not just relief - to the Florida Legislature and the constitutional Taxation and Budget Reform Commission. The Center for Local Government Studies helped local citizens evaluate the operations of their local government.

Raising the Bar to Amend Florida’s Constitution. TaxWatch successfully urged voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would “raise the bar” and require a 60% voter approval to pass future amendments. Research has shown that only 10 of the past 103 amendments to the Florida Constitution have passed with the approval of a majority of registered voters, some leading to costly multimillion dollar expansions of government spending.

Philosophy of Organization

Founded in 1926, the California Taxpayers Association is the state's largest and oldest organization representing taxpayers. Established as a nonpartisan, non-profit research and advocacy entity, CalTax is a business-oriented association with a dual mission to guard against unnecessary taxation to promote government efficiency.

PUBLICATIONS

  • CalTaxletter provides CalTax members with complete coverage of legislative and state tax agency (State Board of Equalization and Franchise Tax Board) deliberations on tax policy issues, as well as updates on court cases involving California tax issues. Continually published since 1988, CalTaxletter has earned respect as the most comprehensive periodical on California taxes. The publication, electronically published 40 times a year, includes information and analysis from CalTax's experienced team of policy experts, and is widely considered a must-read for taxpayers and anyone involved in the field of tax policy.
  • CalTax Research Bulletins provide information on tax policies, local taxes, legislative spending, and property taxes in California.
  • California's Tax Machine. CalTax Chief Tax Consultant David R. Doerr chronicles the birth of assessments on property, income, sales, utilities, vehicles, banks and corporations, inheritances, oil, alcohol, tobacco, and more. It includes must-read chapters on the landmark property tax initiative, Proposition 13, detailing the caused and effects of the taxpayers' revolt.

Please visit Cal-Tax online at http://www.caltax.org

MEMBERSHIP

In addition to the CalTaxletter, CalTax membership includes: the fastest, most complete early warning coverage of tax policy; the most advanced tax advocacy staff in Sacramento; fact-finding policy research; legal support; lobbying and media outreach.

PHILOSOPHY OF ORGANIZATION

As a 501(c)(4), ATRA’s fundamental belief is that every government expenditure is directly related to a tax. For over 65 years, ATRA’s goal of efficient statewide government and effective use of tax dollars through sound fiscal policy has served to minimize the tax burden for all Arizonans. Generally, taxpayers have neither the time nor the expertise to monitor Arizona’s complicated public finance system. ATRA’s professional staff plays a vital role as the taxpayer's watchdog.

PUBLICATIONS

  • Arizona Property Tax Rates & Assessed Values
  • Arizona Tax Digest
  • Arizona Property Tax Burdens: A State by State Comparison
  • Funding Arizona’s Public Schools: A Primer on Arizona School Finance
  • A Taxpayer Perspective on Community College Budgets
  • Primer on Arizona Property Taxes

The Arizona Tax Research Association NEWSLETTER is published monthly.

SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Sponsored and successfully lobbied for the following major tax
changes:

  1. Reduction in property taxes in Arizona in excess of $1 billion dollars since 1996.
  2. Reduction in the corporate income tax rate from 9% to 6.9%.
  3. Numerous reductions in business personal property taxes, including: exemption during construction work in progress; accelerated depreciation; exemption for first $56,000 in value.
  4. Required state and local governments to adhere to "Truth in Taxation" laws before increasing property taxes.
  5. A greatly expanded state taxpayers bill of rights. Arizona now has one of the strongest taxpayer’s bill of rights in the country.
  6. The successful effort to repeal Arizona’s tax increment financing laws.
  7. Uniformity of the sales tax exemptions for manufacturing and equipment for Arizona state and city governments.

WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT ATRA

"ATRA improves the effectiveness of our tax function by doing many of the things that we have trouble finding time for: reviewing all legislation and initiatives to identify key issues, attending committee hearings, reviewing local government budgets, participation on key committees, etc. ATRA is a ‘bulldog’ in its watchdog function to promote both cost effective government and fair tax policies in Arizona."
- Ray Aka, Manager of Taxes and Insurances, Freescale Semiconductor

"The Arizona Tax Research Association is the most valuable analyst of fiscal policy in the state."
- Robert Robb, Columnist, The Arizona Republic

About Us

The Tax Foundation of Hawaii, a private nonprofit, nonpartisan, educational organization has, for the past 60 years, encouraged efficiency and economy in government and has promoted an equitable tax system that encourages and maintains economic growth and stability in Hawaii. It works with public officials, private organizations, and individuals in an effort to improve the methods, systems, and procedures of public administration. It serves as a clearing house by collecting and analyzing data concerning governmental finances and taxation, and disseminates this information to the public through reports, pamphlets, newspaper articles, and radio and television broadcasts. It provides an analysis of all tax legislation introduced during the legislative session in the Legislative Tax Bill Service. It was led by the venerable Lowell L. Kalapa until his untimely demise in December 2013, and is now striving to continue providing exemplary service to numerous businesses and key governmental entities.

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