SALT Speak – Joel Michael's blog

Welcome to My Blog

I’m a retired legislative analyst who worked for the Research Department of the Minnesota House of Representatives for over 40 years. WARNING: if you stumble on this blog and decide to read it, my posts are often long and always boring. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

I write mainly about the issues that I worked on:

  • Individual income taxes
  • Corporate income taxes
  • Tax exempt bonds
  • Tax increment financing
  • Tax expenditures
  • Pensions and retirement plan financing
  • State and local government finance
  • Legislative process and related legal issues

Tax tail wags investment dog

New study finds rapid growth in exchange trade funds (ETFs) is driven by their ability to defer recognition of capital gains. Bad news for the income tax base and efforts to curb income inequality.

January miscellaneous stuff

This post highlights an eclectic collection of pieces I read in January on repurposing the SALT deduction tax expenditure, Taxpayer Advocate’s annual report, taxing stock buybacks and capital gains at death, and due process limits on estate taxation, as well as a favorite topic, PPP loan forgiveness.

Polarization: I hope it’s not this bad

Our Radicalized Republic, a post on the 538 site, suggests that partisan polarization runs much deeper than differences over politics and policy, boding ill for resolving issues and addressing policy problems, much less “unifying” the country whatever that means.

Paradox – stimulative tax increase?

A new study, published by the St. Louis Fed, makes some striking findings. Increasing federal income tax progressivity may be expansionary, while worsening income inequality. This paradox – taxing the rich makes them richer? or “trickle up economics” in the authors’ characterization – is supported by a narrative based on standard economic principles.

Virus bowl: Gophers v Badgers

Over the last nine months I have been collecting Minnesota COVID-19 data (obsessively according to my family) and later on Wisconsin as well. This post is essentially a dump of that data comparing and making some observations about the two states’ experiences. WARNING it is long (5000+ words and multiple tables and graphs), boring, and inconclusive but may be interesting to someone who wants some data comparing the effects of the two states’ different policy paths.


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