COVID NEW TAX TRENDS

  • September 17, 2021

What’s happening? States are trying a variety of measures to address tax revenue deficiencies including:

  • MA wants to tax income earned while working from home in another state for its workers
  • VT wants to expand its tax base by paying people to move there
  • LA and NE both tried to tax services during the spring legislative sessions, both failed
  • MD succeeded in passing a bill to tax digital ads (there’s now a court case)
  • KS & WY are trying tot tax streaming services
  • CO GA & MD applied their sales tax to some digital content

Why is this important? It’s not just the U.S. The UK expanded its VAT to more items.

How will this be important? Its looking like passive actions like broadening tax bases seem to have the most longevity

CPA Practice Advisor | Top Trends in State Sales Taxes and Policies

Cannabis Revenue in a Red State

  • September 17, 2021

What’s happening? Arizona has legalized cannabis. The tax revenue for August 2021 is  $20 million in medical and adult-use marijuana.

Why is this important? This follows trends in other states like Maine where tax revenue from recreational cannabis is breaking records.

How will this be important? The revenue seems to fair well during the pandemic as California’s 2020-2021 tax revenue from cannabis totaled $817 million.

Marijuna Moment | Arizona Marijuana Tax Revenue Exceeds $20 Million In August, State Reports

What makes Recall Elections Easier now than 20 years ago?

  • September 16, 2021

What’s happening? The arm chair quarterbacks are out in full force post the California recall election this week. They say the reason recall, or referendum and initiative, works now better than before is technology. It’s a combination of social media, spread sheets, data, and cell phones.

Why is this important? Information is what makes these elections. Access to information. The movement of information. It’s easier to move information and make it look prettier now.

How will this be important? Whether the short term high of a recall election be enough to satiate those calling for a recall…

Governing | What’s the Future of Recalls Following Gavin Newsom’s Win?

The Cost of a Recall Election

  • September 16, 2021

What’s happening? This week was Election Day in California to vote on whether to recall its Governor. The recall failed and cost the state more than $276 million. Cost estimates for the election were more than $60Million under anticipated costs.

Why is this important? In recent weeks, other states have considered walking back their initiative and referendum process.

How will this be important? Keep an eye on states that don’t have initiative and referendum, and watch those moves.

SF Gate | Here’s how much the failed Gavin Newsom recall election cost California

Record Sports Betting Numbers

  • September 10, 2021

What’s happening? Estimates for sports betting in 2021 are coming and here’s where we are:

  • 45.2 million Americans will place a bet
    • Up 36.2% from 2020
  • $27 billion have been wagered on sports over the first 7 months of 2021
  • Fans in 26 states and DC have access to legal sports betting

Why is this important? The number of people betting and the bets placed are increasing over 2020 by as much as 70%

How will this be important? 18 of the 26 states that have legalized sports betting are home to NFL teams

S&P Global | As more states approve sports betting, record 45M will bet on NFL games in 2021

Bills to Clarify what that Recycle Triangle Means

  • September 10, 2021

What’s happening? The California Legislature is moving a bill that would ban companies from using the arrows symbol unless they can prove the material is in fact recycled in most California communities, and is used to make new products. SB 343 (2021 | CA)

Why is this important? The recycling triangle can be printed on items that as a whole are not recyclable. That means companies that process waste operate at 80% efficiency at best because more than 1/5 of the materials in their possession are not recyclable

How will this legislation be important? California would be the first in the nation to pass this legislation

New York Times | California Aims to Ban Recycling Symbols on Things That Aren’t Recyclable

Local Revenue Trend: Multiple Law Enforcement Agencies

  • September 9, 2021

What’s happening? The City of Austin is considering created a law enforcement agency solely for its transit agency

Why is this important? Transit agency says it is growing rapidly and is preparing for that growth with its own law enforcement agency

How will this be important? Dat shows that the number of calls for law enforcement to the transit agency did not decrease during the pandemic

Austin American Statesman via Governing | Austin Considers Separating Transit Security from Police

New Caucus: Progressive Caucus

  • August 26, 2021

What is happening? The Texas Legislature is now home to the Progressive Caucus

Why is this important? Founders state the caucus formed in response to “radical, right wing laws that hurt Texans”

How will this be important? First Republicans splintered off and formed Tea Party Caucus and Freedom Caucuses, and now a similar effect on the other side of the political spectrum

@jasminefor100

City Sues State Over Unconstitutional Budget

  • August 26, 2021

What’s happening? Phoenix sued the State of Arizona claiming the state’s approved budget violates the State Constitution by exceeding the one subject rule and changing substantive law.

Why is this important? One subject laws are common. First we had 1 Governor veto Legislative Funding, now we have several. Same with this- first we have 1 city suing its State…

How is this important? Local Control, preemption & the mandates on cities are moving to the courts, folks

KTAR News | Phoenix sues Arizona, claims budget bill violates state constitution

Phoenix.gov | City Files Lawsuit Against State for Violation of Constitution

Gig Economy. Worker Classification Round 3.

  • August 26, 2021

What is happening? A California Court ruled the very pricey initiative that declared gig economy workers were independent contractors is unconstitutional.

Why is this important? The court said that the initiative violates the right of the state legislature to pass future laws around worker safety and status

How will this be important? Other states, including Massachusetts, are trying to statutorily classify gig economy workers.

Tech Crunch | A California judge just struck down Prop 22: Now what?

East Bay Times | Gig worker advocacy groups react to court ruling that Prop. 22 is ‘unconstitutional’ 

Initiative & Referendum. Constitutionality.

  • August 26, 2021

What’s happening? Idaho Legislature passed a ban on initiative and the Idaho Supreme Court declared the ban unconstitutional. SB 1110 (2021 | ID)

Why is this important? Recalling elected officials whether the passed around petition in Austin, TX or the recall vote on Governor Newsom are increasing as partisan divides grow deeper.

How will this be important? It was a group of attorneys in Idaho that has been successful in initiatives in Idaho. Watch for gatherings of attorneys.

Governing | Idaho Law on Citizen-Led Initiatives Ruled Unconstitutional

+1 City to the Guaranteed Income Bandwagon

  • August 18, 2021

What’s happening? Austin TX dips its toe into guarantees income pilot program by committing $1+ million to study the creation of a guaranteed income program for most vulnerable populations

Why is this important? Other cities are finding the programs save them revenue. In Austin, the study will be with an ongoing pilot program conducted by the Family Independence Initiative, Up Together and other philanthropic groups

How will this be important? Austin is using part of COVID recovery funding

Austin Monitor | Council funds guaranteed income pilot program

Interstate Compact to End Economic Development Funding

  • August 17, 2021

What’s happening? A fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University says 15 states have introduced legislation supporting an interstate compact to cease funding economic development.

Why is this important? Supporters say it frees up billions in funding

How will this be important? Supporters also say that it would shore up the economy after COVID

Governing | The Billions Being Wasted in the Economic Development Subsidy Wars

Innovation Zone: Private Company Becomes a Local Government

  • August 17, 2021

What’s happening? Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak proposed emerging technologies be given the freedom to develop autonomous districts to diversify Nevada’s tourism-driven economy.

Why is this important? Draft legislation would permit a company to qualify for an innovation zone if it owned at least 50,000 acres of land and invested at least $1.25 billion over 10 years.

How will this be important? Local governments are concerned about granting companies governance authority.

Route Fifty | Cryptocurrency Company Makes Case for Running its Own Local Government

Local Revenue: Library of Things

  • August 17, 2021

What is happening? Libraries across the country are diversifying to include things like radon detectors, telescopes, museum passes, decorative art, taxidermies animals, puzzles, board games, tools, sewing machines, air fryers,

Why is this important? The old is new again, Newark NJ library in 1904 had art in its collection that could be loaned out like a book.

How will this be important? Library of Things programs are grant funded and continue the ethos of libraries to encourage learning.

Route Fifty | Now Available at the Local Library: Basketballs, Air Fryers and Taxidermied Animals

Do COVID vaccine incentives work?

  • August 12, 2021

What’s happening? OH had a vaccine lottery that awarded prizes and scholarships for people got vaccinated. The result: 114,553+ people got vaccines that probably wouldn’t have otherwise

Why is this important? Does your state or business need a way to motivated people to get vaccinated.

How will this be important? OH remains below 50% vaccination rate

Route Fifty | One State’s Covid-19 Vaccine Lottery Prompted More Than 100,000 People To Get Vaccinated

CARES ACT Funds for Hazard Pay

  • August 12, 2021

What is happening? Local governments are utilizing CARES Act fund to provide hazard pay for service during the pandemic for government employees and “gratitude grants” for grocery workers.

  • in Cairo, Georgia is giving $1,500 to public safety employees and $1,000 to municipal workers for a total of $178,000
  • Thomas County GA is setting aside $6 million and calculating bonuses based on the formula
  • Hagerstown, Maryland, is awarding $5,000 bonuses to full-time city employees
  • in Alabama, Birmingham and Mobile each plan on giving $5,000 to full-time and $2,500 to part-time staff
  • Oxnard, CA is using ARPA funding to give $1,000 bonuses to eligible grocery workers
  •  Florida and Minnesota have approved premium pay for workers statewide

Why is this important? Journal of the American Medical Association says workers like sanitation workers, farm workers and grocery store employees are 25% low income and 13% high risk households.

How will this be important? Treasury Department guidance says that premium pay includes “government employees and private sector workers such as nursing home staff and home care workers, and workers at farms, food production facilities, grocery stores and restaurants.”

Route Fifty | Governments Doling Out Bonuses for Public Employees, ‘Gratitude Grants’ for Grocery Workers

State Considering Universal Basic Income

  • August 12, 2021

What’s happening? In the 1960s President Richard Nixon is said to have supported universal basic income. We’ve seen cities like Stockton, CA find benefits from their universal basic income pilot project. Now New Mexico is considering adopting it statewide.

Why is this important? Las Cruces and Santa Fe are moving toward universal basic income. Santa Fe will pilot a program that they’ll call a “stability stipend” to provide 100 people under age 30 who have children and are attending Santa Fe Community College with monthly payments of at least $400.

How will this be important? it’s not as red/blue as you think. “Alaska has long offered its full-time residents an annual dividend based on the investment earnings on mineral royalties” Add to that Nixon backed the idea before Milton Friedman became the go-to.

Albuquerque Journal via Governing | New Mexico Considers Statewide Universal Basic Income

+1 Super Small City for Franchise Fees for Internet

  • August 12, 2021

What’s happening? Fort Scott, KS and its 8000 population have seen a decline in cable taxes so to make up for it, they want to implement a franchise fee for internet services like Netflix.

Why is this important? Local governments in  Missouri, Texas and Ohio are also pursuing a tax on streaming services.

How will this be important? If trends that show cable subscribers era decreasing that loss of revenue to local governments will have to be offset somehow.

Topeka Capital Journal via Governing | Why Is a Small Town in Kansas Suing Netflix and Hulu?

New Legislative Caucus TRENDING. Post COVID. Post BLM.

  • August 6, 2021

What’s happening? Meet the BIPOC Caucus that brings together what is often a coalition of caucuses.

Why is this important? The BIPOC caucus will have greater membership numbers than individual caucuses. The power of numbers.

How will this be important? Oregon isn’t the first state to create a BIPOC Caucus.

OPB | Oregon Legislature’s BIPOC caucus calls out Newberg School Board for effort to reverse anti-racist policies

COVID Delta + Republican Gov. + No Mask Mandate = Special Session to Except Schools

  • August 6, 2021

What’s happening? Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson wants to walk back the statewide no mask mandate bill that passed this spring.

Why is this important? Arkansas is experiencing high COVID Delta rates and public support favors mask mandates in schools.

How will this be important? A litmus test for other No Mask Requirement Legislation.

Route Fifty | “I Wish It Had Not Become Law,” Says Governor Of Mask-Banning Order He Signed Into Law

Local Gov. Options. Condo Collapse Ordinances 2.0

  • August 5, 2021

What’s happening? If cities determined that oversight for condo buildings needs to move from condo associations to local governments the options include special assessment districts.

Why is this important? What can a special assessment district do?

  •  levy a special charge on properties
  • the special charge can be for a designated district or a single building
  • it can cover a wide variety of public improvements
  • the district bills either by owner or based on ad valorem property values
  • The city can take out bank loans or sell bonds, at lower tax-exempt interest rates, to finance the improvements that are secured by the liens on the properties, thereby lowering costs

How will this be important? Aging infrastructure is real.

Governing | A Municipal Finance Tool to Avert Another Deadly Condo Collapse

+1 City Pension Obligation Bonds

  • August 5, 2021

What’s happening? Add Santa Rosa, California to the list of cities that may offer pension obligation bonds to shore up its pension liabilities. It can result in a win for the city if returns exceed the interest paid to bond holders.

Why is this important? Texas cities have talked about it.

How will this be important? Pension types say that the 2008 financial crisis will be felt in the pension world over the coming decade. Pension systems will be looking for ways to cover the disparities created during the 2008 event.

Santa Rose Press Democrat via Governing | Santa Rosa May Sell Bonds to Reduce Pension Liabilities

Those State Fund Divestment Bills in the Real World

  • July 30, 2021

What’s happening? Texas and Florida are trying to determine if legislation that the states enacted to divest state funds from businesses that boycott Israel. The “boycott” at issue: Ben and Jerry’s made a business decision to not sell ice cream in Israel.

Why is this important? Let’s tie this to the post this week about Texas decline in best state to do business, does imposing political views on businesses sounds like the kind of state that makes you feel good?

How will this be important? If one of the pension systems, that invest in Unilever, which supports Israel and is Ben and Jerry’s parent company, divest from Ben and Jerry’s, then it seems reasonable to ask- what issue will be added to the code of behavior for Texas state funds.

Texas Public Radio | Texas Investigates Ben And Jerry’s For Potentially Boycotting Israel

Why did TX Drop in Top State For Business?

  • July 30, 2021

What’s happening? CNBC listing for Best States to Do Business for years has had TX at the top. But, it fell. To #4.

Why is this important? CNBC added to it’s rankings ” life, health and inclusion” which this year included inclusiveness initiatives, health care resources, progress in ending the pandemic and other more traditional quality-of-life measures.

How will this be important? “This ranking is a compelling early warning signal that short-sighted, counterproductive policies risk eroding the progress over the past 30 plus years in building Texas to be the most competitive economy in the country,” said Perryman, president and chief executive officer of The Perryman Group. 

Dallas Morning News | Economist calls Texas’ slip from top three U.S. states for business ‘eerily disturbing’

COVID Vaccine Incentive in the Show Me State

  • July 29, 2021

What’s happening? Missouri has a new COVID vaccine incentive program that partners the Department of Health and Senior Services  with the Missouri Lottery to draw 180 winners who will win either $10,000 cash or $10,000 towards an education savings account. In total there will be 900 winners for the life of the incentive program.

Why is this important? Vaccine incentive programs are an interesting perspective at what motivates certain populations in certain states, especially effective incentive programs.

How will this be important? There is no limit to the potential partnerships with the state lottery.

Neosho Daily News | Missouri’s Vaccine Incentive Program promotes MO ABLE as an option for Missourians with disabilities

Social Equity Council + Cannabis Licenses

  • July 29, 2021

What’s happening? MA legalized cannabis creatively as we know and part of that was by creating a Social Equity Council that will play apart in determining licensure and distribution of revenue to impacted communities.

Why is this important? Times are changing, keep up or get left behind. The impact to communities now factors into decision making. Communities that have been disproportionately and negatively impacted by disproportionately higher incarceration rates, under MA Social Equity Council will see revenue returned to the community to build up the community.

How will this be important? Social Impact data tells us Gen Z and Millenials that outnumber Gen X and Boomers are concerned ab0ut impact. I’d wager a lot of Xers are too, it’s just our style to let the young ones talk about it.

Governing | Ned Lamont Appoints First Five Members to Marijuana Council

$454 Million in Film Incentives in CA

  • July 22, 2021

What’s happening? CA has added an additional $124 Million in film incentives to its $330 Million film incentive program and will include construction incentives like building sound stages

Why is this important? CA says the data shows the incentives work to keep films in CA

How will this be important? It is a test to see if GA and other states with film incentives will be competitive

Sacramento Bee | California filmmakers to get more tax breaks in new law. Do incentives keep shows here?

What are economists saying about states spending Federal COVID Funds

  • July 22, 2021

What’s happening? Economists watching MA are applauding its slow pacing to spending federal COVID funds.

Why is this important? States have until 2026 to spend the federal funding, while it must be allocated for spending by 2024. Economists say that studying state trends and needs helps maximize the impact of the COVID funding.

How will this be important? Many government projects take years of planning before building can occur which means the impact of the funds in communities may be years in the future.

Boston Herald | Economic experts back Massachusetts Legislature’s slow approach to spending federal coronavirus relief dollars

The Low Down on Taxing Streaming Services in 2021

  • July 22, 2021

What’s happening? As people stop paying for cable, the fees/taxes associated with cable are a revenue loss for local governmental entities. To make up for this revenue loss, the proposal that gains ground is taxing streaming services.

Why is this important?

  • Connecticut, Delaware, and Florida have passed a dedicated streaming service tax.
  • Chicago applies its 9% amusement tax on streaming services
  • OH is trying to apply the Fair Competition in Cable Operation Act to tax streaming
  • Some Texas cities are trying to apply the Texas Video Service Providers Act to tax streaming services
  • MO argues streaming should be taxed as  video service providers
  • Courts are grappling with the above and lawsuits in Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Nevada, and Tennessee.

How will this be important? Some states tax right-of-way fees for internet access, taxing streaming services could be seen as a double taxation.

Tax Foundation | Cutting the Cord from Cable Has States Courting New Revenue Streams

COVID Fund Use: Diversity & Development

  • July 22, 2021

What’s happening? A permitted use of federal COVID Relief funding is downtown development. Treasury Department Guidance for this use includes broad flexibility to build up disproportionately impacted communities.

Why is this important? COVID impacted real estate in downtown areas and also impacted BIOPIC communities disproportionately.

How will this be important? Legislative bodies have not finalized how they intend to utilize federal COVID relief funding.

Recast City via Governing | A Unique Opportunity for Racial Equity in Downtown Development

COVID. Minnesota Legislature Approves Cash to Essential Workers.

  • July 16, 2021

What’s happening? Minnesota chose 1 of 4 specific uses for COVID federal relief funds to provide payments to essential workers during the pandemic.

Why is this important? The legislation’s only requirement for essential worker is that long-term care workers be included. The final decision for who is included will be approved by a group of appointees created by the amendment.

How will this be important? Other states are grappling with how to appropriate federal relief funds.

MinnPost | Minnesota lawmakers approved cash bonuses for essential workers. Now they just need to figure out who’s going to get the money.

California’s Comeback Plan

  • July 16, 2021

What’s happening? Governor Newsom signed SB 129 (2021 | CA) that is a $100 billion California Comeback Plan that includes:

  •  immediate cash relief to middle class families and businesses hit hardest by the pandemic
  •  biggest state tax rebate in American history
  • largest small business relief package in the nation
  • Confronts homelessness and the housing affordability crisis
  • Transforms public schools into gateways of opportunity
  • Bolsters wildfire resilience and tackling climate change
  • Builds the infrastructure of the next century

Why is this important? California is providing the biggest tax breaks in the country.

How will this be important? The impact may be felt by other states if Californians stay in California.

Office of California Governor Gavin Newsom | California Roars Back: Governor Newsom Signs $100 Billion California Comeback Plan to Accelerate State’s Recovery and Tackle Persistent Challenges

+1 State Limits Disaster Powers to 28 Days

  • July 15, 2021

What’s happening? Michigan Legislature voted to limit healthcare disaster declarations to 28 days unless the Legislature approves a longer timeline. The nifty tagline for the bill- Unlock Michigan.

Why is this important? Many legislatures looked to curtail the power of the Governor or their health care officials and require Legislative approval. In Michigan the Supreme Court has already ruled that the Governor exceeded her authority.

How will this be important? More states will consider reigning in declarations.

AP | “Unlock Michigan” goes to Legislature, 2nd drive will seek more restrictions on powers

Tax Situs. Why it Matters.

  • July 15, 2021

What’s happening? Texas Comptroller is said to have changed the tax rules to “source sales tax revenue from online purchases to the buyer’s location instead of the seller’s place of business.”

Why is this important? Well, if the county is Williamson County and relied on the sales tax generated by the seller, Dell Computers, that’s a hit to your county sales tax revenues.

How will this be important? It’s one of the many examples that details matter when you write laws and rules, the words have an impact. In this case, the impact is Williamson County is suing the State Comptroller of the change in tax rules.

Community Impact | City of Round Rock files suit against Texas Comptroller over changes to sales tax rules

COVID Response. State Apprentice Programs.

  • July 15, 2021

What’s happening? Some say there is a shortage of workers in certain fields. Some say workers are looking for living wages. In the Great Depression states created Apprentice Programs to fill this gap. Apprentices are paid from day one, and employers cover any costs of education required. At the end of the apprenticeship the employee gains licensure and the employer finds that the newly licensed employee stays longer than a new college graduate.

Why is this important? The process benefits the employee who doesn’t incur higher education debt, and benefits the employer who gains a loyal employee.

How will this be important? These programs are working successfully in 27 states. That leaves 23 states.

Governing | States Expand Apprenticeship Programs as Worker Shortages Grow

What is Freedom Week Sales Tax Holiday?

  • July 9, 2021

What’s happening? Florida has a Freedom Week which means no sales tax one athletic tickets, recreational purchases, live music, in-theater movies, cultural events and entrance to museums and state parks, outdoor equipment as tents, grills, bicycles, kayaks and fishing gear

Why is this important? Sales tax holiday expansions are popular. Massachusetts is contemplating a months long sales tax holiday.

How will this be important? Looking for some populist goodwill for your state, here you go.

CBS 4 Miami | Just Hours Left Of Florida’s ‘Freedom Week’ Sales Tax Holiday

Arizona Gaming Commission Rules Released

  • July 9, 2021

What’s happening? Arizona Gaming Commission set fees for tribes and operators at $750,00o initial license and $150,000 renewal. Arizona legislature legalized sports betting earlier this year and anticipate betting by September 9th.

Why is this important? Some states put license fees in statute, some delegate the fee amounts to the state agency incharge.

How will this be important? Anyone working in this field worth their mettle, are keeping tabs on licensing fees around the country. Add this one to the list.

AZ Central | Arizona reveals costs for professional teams, tribes to get licenses for sports betting

Does online registration for sports betting increase or decrease revenue?

  • July 9, 2021

What’s happening? Illinois stopped its online sports betting registration that it began during COVID. When the state removed online registration, immediately a $30 million cut to the monthly sports betting handle

Why is this important? The revenue decreases did not occur in other states that have online registration.

How will this be important? As more data is known, it will impact how states that have yet to legalize sports betting handle things like online registration.

The Lineup | As Illinois Removes Online Registration Sports Betting Revenue Trends Down

State Taxes & Sports Betting

  • July 9, 2021

What’s happening? All states tax sports gaming revenue based on taxes on gross gaming revenue. Most states do not allow operators to take deductions.

Why is this important?  Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Virginia allow specific deductions for promotions, losses, and/or federal excise taxes paid, aligning their tax more with a gross receipts tax.

How will this be important? Sports betting is going to expand, and successful tax systems will be replicated and tweaked. So treat this as your roadmap.

Tax Foundation | Large Spread in Tax Treatment of Sports Betting Operators

Confidential Non Profit Contribution Disclosure Reversed

  • June 25, 2021

What’s happening? NY regulators had determined that donors to non-profits should be disclosed, and then the Legislature reversed that decision.

Why is this important? The disclosure came about with a budget amendment that required political advocacy nonprofits, filed as 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations, to submit financial disclosure reports if they’ve spent more than $10,000 in communications endorsing or opposing legislation

How will this be important? Dark Money. should it be fixed? should there be disclosures? Is the reversal in NY telling?

NYN Media | State legislature passes bill undoing NY’s new donor disclosure requirement

Wisconsin’s Method to Deal with Unruly Legislators

  • June 25, 2021

What’s happening? Wisconsin approved creating a stand alone HR department for the Legislature that will handle complaints about lawmakers, including the resolution of any investigation, while keeping all information confidential.

Why is this important? WI is reacting to years long complaints about sexual harassment by elected officials.

How will this be important? Legislatures across the country are trying to figure out how to tackle this issue

AP | Legislature’s plans for new HR office raises concerns

Extended Sales Tax Holiday to Jump Start Pandemic Economy

  • June 25, 2021

What’s happening? The Massachusetts Governor has proposed that the 2 day sales tax holiday to be extended to a 2 month sales tax holiday.

Why is this important? The extended sales tax holiday is aimed at jumpstarting the economy and providing help to small businesses and consumers.

How will this be important? The states revenue projections are 15% ahead, giving the state revenue reserves to afford the extended sales tax holiday.

Ap | Baker files legislation proposing 2-month sales tax holiday

What % of GDP is spent on Infrastructure? By The Numbers.

  • June 24, 2021

What’s happening? Let’s play keeping up with the Jones, but it’s keeping up the governments. The US spends 2.4% of its GDP on Infrastructure.

Why is this important? The EU spends 5%. China spends 9%.

How will this be important? It is harder for smaller cities to maintain aging infrastructure, and revenue sources like property taxes are not keeping up with maintenance costs.

Governing | Small Cities Can’t Manage the High Cost of Old Infrastructure

Decades Ago New Hires Removed from Pension. They’re Back

  • June 18, 2021

What’s happening? Decades ago New Jersey removed new hires and some local governmental entities from he state pension system. Now the state is considering adding them back.

Why is this important? Itis a compounding of scenarios. (1) The Governor has promised that the state will make its first full funding payment to the pension in 25 years. (2) A fiscal note on one of the bills says it will save money based on pension accounting and administrative costs (3) Federal COVID dollars may mean more contributions

How will this be important? If successful, will other states take note

Politico | State may allow some workers back into pension system, a decade after they were removed

Drafting Lessons. PTA Donations & PTA Funded School Positions

  • June 17, 2021

What’s happening? Schools in TX were getting PTA funds donated to pay for positions in the schools. Then the pandemic hit and well, things changed. So, in 2021, Texas Legislature approved an amendment on HB 1525 (2021 | TX) that sought to say- if a school got PTA donations for funding specific positions, those funds had to be spent for that purpose within the time period specified. Then Austin ISD said the budget will be approved before the bill I approved, so it won’t apply to this upcoming school year.

Why is this important? An Attorney General opinion has been requested to clarify this.

How will this be important? The Attorney General Opinion will determine not only how and when PTA donated funds can be used but also sets the tone for how to interpret similarly drafted laws in the future.

TX Attorney General Opinion Request RQ-0411 (2021)

Fintech Sandboxes. The Numbers.

  • June 17, 2021

What’s happening? 4 states, Arizona, Florida, Utah and Wyoming, have sandbox programs that allow companies to test prototypes without getting a state license.

Why is this important? In none of these 4 states ,is there an active business in the sandbox.

How will this be important? The hurdle to explain how sandboxes help innovation is higher. Lousiana wouldn’t let sandbox bill out of committee.

Route Fifty | Relaxed Rules Attract Entrepreneurs to State ‘Sandboxes’

City Workers Get COVID Bonuses

  • June 17, 2021

What’s happening? Mobile, Alabama is proposing bosses for its workers that worked through the COVID pandemic. $5000 for full time employees and $2500 for part time employees.

Why is this important? Mobile is following in the foot steps of Birmingham, Alabama and will be funded with federal relief for COVID-19

How will this be important? Premium pay for essential (city) workers is a permitted use of COVID relief funds.

Governing | Mobile Wants to Give City Employees COVID Bonuses

55 Parishes to get sports betting

  • June 11, 2021

What’s happening? Louisiana first asked its voters to decide whether each parish would allow sports betting 55 said yes. This year, the Legislature passed rules for sports betting. There will be 20 licenses, regulation will be by the Louisiana Lottery Corporation, and mobile betting is a go. SB 247 (2021 | LA)

Why is this important? Preemptive voter approval, approval through Indian gaming compacts, or approval by adding sports betting to the state budget. States are passing sports betting in creative ways.

How will this be important? Louisiana staggered tax rates, so let’s take notes. 10% tax collected on wagering at onsite locations and a 15% tax on wagering through mobile apps. It also dedicates 25% of tax revenues to early learning programs for children

AP | Louisiana lawmakers OK sports betting rules, send to Edwards

Why are internet ad taxes gaining momentum?

  • June 11, 2021

What’s happening? A guy left his east coast home to visit his Mom in a flyover state. His phone then got a lot of ads for a toothpaste his Mom uses, but they never discussed and he never googled. He tweeted. It got retweeted over 160,000 times. The tweet explains how tech companies can latch onto other devices on the same network- and viola’ random toothpaste ads. Or, like if my parents ever visited me, they’d be bombarded with organic gardening ads.

Why is this important? The proliferation of unwanted Internet ads and Big Tech’s staggering pandemic profits have fueled bipartisan efforts to tax digital ads

How will this be importation? There’s an appetite for these ads to stop, so there’s an appetite for these ads to be taxed.

Government Technology | Lawmakers on Right and Left Unite in Desire to Tax Online Ads

Colorado Taxes Streaming Services

  • June 11, 2021

What’s happening? Colorado passed HB21- 1312 ( 2021 | CO) that among other taxes added a tax on streaming services by making streaming services subject to the state’s sales and use tax.

Why is this important? The number of jurisdictions taxing streaming services keeps increasing.

How will this be important? Taxation of streaming services is new and shiny and ripe for tax writers.

Colorado Sun | 5 big tax bills Colorado lawmakers passed this year that will affect your wallet

COVID Tax Trend: Internet Ad Tax

  • June 11, 2021

What’s happening? Arkansas SB 558 (2021 | AR) taxes internet ads to fund cyber crimes, specifically cyber crimes against children.Maryland was the first state to tax internet ads. 9 other states are now considering it.

Why is this important? Some say it is a way for politicians to air their frustration at tech companies.

How will this be important? This year its 9 new states entering these waters, expect those numbers to increase.

Stateline via Route Fifty | Internet Ads Are a Popular Tax Target for Both Parties

2020 Effect. Cannabis Revenue Up.

  • June 4, 2021

What’s happening? Looking at Oregon’s cannabis revenue, the pandemic strengthened cannabis revenue. The state had predicted the revenue to decrease as more entertainment venues open, and the revenues have stayed strong even as the state re-opens. Totals for the 2019-2021 biennium are expected to be$304 million. Revenues are expected to reach $462 million in 2027-2029

Why is this important? The same effect is reflected in Illinois cannabis revenue.

How will this be important? Continued data can support long term stability of the revenue.

Green Entrepreuer | Oregon’s Cannabis Market Has Become Stronger During The Pandemic

Roadmap: Florida didn’t pass a Fantasy Sports bill. Fantasy Sports Legally Operates.

  • June 4, 2021

What’s happening? Florida handed sports betting to the Seminole Tribe. At the same time, the Legislature failed to pass any fantasy sports rules. But, the Seminole Compact now explicitly defines fantasy sports as a game of skill.

Why is this important? Hello unregulated, legal fantasy sports thanks to the Seminole Compact.

How will this be important? Is unregulated better than an available revenue source?

Florida Politics | Future looks good for fantasy sports games in Florida

ESG Requirements for Pensions

  • June 4, 2021

What’s happening? Sustainable Investment Policies Act and the Retirees Sustainable Investment Opportunities Act

Why is this important? Together the bills would ” give workers a bigger say in where they invest their retirement savings by requiring large asset managers and plan investors and fiduciaries to take into account and explain to beneficiaries how they consider environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors when making investment decisions”

How will this be important? The ESG pushing pension plans is happening from the pensions themselves (see California), by investors (see Blackrock) and now a push to include it in ERISA.

Ballotopedia | Economy and Society: Proposed legislation would further integrate ESG into retirement plans

Taxing Remote Workers

  • June 3, 2021

What’s happening? Ohio is considering HB 157 (2021 | OH) which would prepaid a tax credit for local taxes imposed by the city in which a worker works but does not live. This largely applies to income taxes in OH. But this also applies when a worker lives in one state and works in another.

Why is this important? In the northeast there is a brewing lawsuit when Massachusetts passed a “convenience of the employer” rules, meaning they impose taxes on employees based solely on the employer’s location. New Hampshire, which has no income tax called it a tax grab for their residents incomes. 14 states are involved in the litigation.

How will this be important? The taxation impact of COVID isn’t dwindling this year or next.

Route Fifty | Ohio Lawmakers Approve Bill to Allow Teleworkers to Seek Commuter Tax Refunds

Sports Betting Numbers from Colorado

  • May 28, 2021

What’s happening? CO collected $1.08m in taxes from sports betting in April. One year of sports betting tax revenue amounted to $6.6m.

Why is this important? Colorado has had sports betting for one full year offering a look into long term revenue

How will this be important? Even with a dip in play, the revenue numbers stayed fairly level.

Play Colorado Revenue

CA Voters + Sports Betting

  • May 28, 2021

What’s happening? CA will have its voters decide on sports betting in 2022. Under the initiative, sports betting would be permitted at at tribal casinos and horse-racing tracks. It is estimated to bring California some $1 billion in gross annual revenue without online betting. 

Why is this important? The initiative was written by California’s tribes who succeeded in a gaming expansion in 2008, in a $115 Million ballot initiative.

How will this be important? Meet the  Coalition to Authorize Regulated Sports Wagering & The California Gaming Association says it does nothing to “advance sports wagering”.

L A Times | California voters will decide in 2022 whether to allow sports betting

How a state limited fantasy sports in a gaming agreement

  • May 28, 2021

What’s happening? CT has permitted fantasy sports since 2017. A 2021 state tribal gaming compact will limit the number of operators of fantasy sports, excluding regional and local operators.

Why is this important? When drafting you could have current operators, which CT either knowingly or unknowingly excluded, and other legitimate fantasy sports operators who operate in other states.

How will this be important? Unintended consequences in new trending legislation is common practice, keep your eyes open and think creatively

News & Observer | Fantasy sports industry says bill will put games on hold

COVID + School Finance. Boon for School Choice.

  • May 27, 2021

What’s happening? Arkansas Legislature funded a $2M school choice program. West Virginia Legislature created an ESA program for all students, a 1st in the U.S. IN, MO & KY all adopted ESA programs for the first time.COVID added suburban Republicans to the usual coalition of conservative Republicans and social justice democrats to support school choice.

Why is this important? The change in the coalition because of COVID brought in the suburban Republicans.

How will this be important? Whether the effects of COVID linger in minds to continue an alliance with suburban Republicans.

Governing | School Choice Advocates Enjoy Their Best Year Ever

End No Bid Emergency State Contracts

  • May 21, 2021

What’s happening? A call in Pennsylvania to end no bid emergency state contracts.

Why is this important? A COVID no bid contract in PA went to a data center that had a data breach of health care records.

How will this be important? More cracks in the COVID contracts will be known in years ahead which will lead to state procurement reforms. Follow the bread crumbs.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette | State government should end emergency no-bid contracts 

COVID Liability Protections For Business in Missouri

  • May 21, 2021

What’s happening?  SB 51 (2021 | MO) has liability protections for employers, product manufacturers, and health care providers related to COVID.

Why is this important? The bill sets the standard that by entering the business the consumer assumed the risk.

How will this be important? It is going to be a year to compare and contrast the varying ways liability was protected.

Thompson Coburn LLP | Missouri legislature passes new protections for businesses from COVID-19 suits

TX adds Financial Literacy to Collegiate Athlete Image Bill

  • May 20, 2021

What’s happening? States are passing bills that allow collegiate athletes to profit from their own image. Endorsement deals is the name of the game. SB 1385 (2021 | TX)

Why is important? The financial literacy workshop will be required in the 1st and 3rd year and prohibits marketing of financial products during the instruction.

How will this be important? We’ll see more of these bills add financial literacy requirements.

Anatomy of a Fantasy Sports Legislative Fight

  • May 20, 2021

What’s happening? Florida Legislature, during a special session, was considering HB9A (2021 | FL). It didn’t go anywhere because the 2 chambers were at lagger heads.

Why is this important? The House added a provision that hasn’t been seen in any other state- it would require “fantasy sports teams to include at least seven players competing in at least five separate events” They also excluded college sports

How will this be important? 25ish states still have no laws on fantasy sports

Clay Today | Fantasy sports regulations bill dropped for Special Session

Miami Herald | Fantasy sports regulation bills appear dead in Florida until next year

More lucrative tax: Cannabis or Alcohol?

  • May 14, 2021

What’s happening? Illinois is raking in more tax revenue from cannabis than it is from alcohol sales. In February and March 2021, cannabis accounted for $56 million, compared to about $39 million in liquor taxes.

Why is this important? Revenue estimates are delivering.

How will this be important? Cannabis represents a new revenue source as legalization spreads.

Green Entreprenuer | Illinois Makes More Money from Cannabis Taxes than It Does from Liquor Taxes

Pensions Up the Ante on BlockChain

  • May 14, 2021

What’s happening? Fairfax County Police Officers Retirement System announced its 3rd commitment to blockchain investment

Why is this important? If we’re seeing pensions get into bitcoin, we’re seeing pensions get into blockchain

How will this be important? The number of bitcoin or blockchain entities are only growing.

Chief Investment Officer | Pension Fund Increases Its Blockchain Technology, Bitcoin Allocations

Pensions and ESG

  • May 14, 2021

What’s happening? Currently $100 trillion in assets under management are committed to  Principles for Responsible Investment. Most are focused on the US, UK, Nordics, Germany and France. And, now Japan is being asked to step up.

Why is this important? More and more assets are adopting or leaning into ESG.

How will this be important? The new economy is a stakeholder economy that puts sustainability, how businesses treat their stakeholders and employees, and how businesses treat their community.

Bloomberg | Japan Urged to Push Pension Funds to Adopt ESG Principles

Who is raising the gas tax this week?

  • May 14, 2021

What’s happening? Missouri Legislature sent a gas tax bill to the Governor. It would annually raise the gas tax by 2.5 cents until 2025.

Why is this important? The pandemic hit gas taxes, but even before the pandemic, fuel taxes were anemic.

How will this be important? Working from home will continue in some form and the gas tax will continue to lag in revenue collection as fuel efficiency increases.

Missourian | Fuel tax increase approved by legislature, awaits Parson’s signature

COVID Transparency Bill

  • May 7, 2021

What’s happening? Oregon is considering SB 719 (2021 | OR) that would set transparency requirements for state gathering COVID data.

Why is this important? Oregon’s current public information laws have an exception from disclosure for health investigations which has led to data being withheld.

How will this be important? Transparency of COVID data will only help the state with its message to vaccinate.

East Oregonian | Our view: Pass bill to ensure transparency about COVID-19

Does NY get more revenue from weed or sports betting?

  • May 7, 2021

What’s happening? By 2025 New York is expected to get 100% more revenue from sports betting than from cannabis.

Why is this important? The state comptroller estimates that this year legal cannabis will bring in about $20 million in tax revenue this year and online sports betting will bring in $99 million, a whopping difference of 395%. But cannabis will get a later revenue start, so the comparison isn’t exactly equal.

How will this be important? Sports gambling was legalized in NY within the state budget a tool that other states could pick up on soon. There remain plenty of states that have legalized neither of these streams of revenue.

Forbes | Mobile Sports Betting To Bring New York State 100% More In Tax Revenue Than Cannabis

Sneak Peak at Lousiana College Athlete Pay Bill

  • May 7, 2021

What’s happening? Lousiana is considering SB 60 (2021 | LA)

Why is this important? Republicans say the state needs to do something because the NCAA has not. No university spoke against the bill.

How will this be important? Each state is or will tackle this legislative issue.

AP | Louisiana bill would grant image rights to student athletes

How to tax companies that use your data

  • May 6, 2021

What’s happening? Big tech companies use your data and make money from your data. Some groups want to find ways that makes tech companies pay you for your data use, some groups want to impose a tax on those companies for that data use and dedicate the revenue for greater land use.

Why is this important? An ad hoc group of California scholars are studying the issue. There is a report. People will talk about it. And revenue raising is something states are skilled at.

How will this be important? How states choose to levy a fee (tax) for using your data will become a partisan issue.

@Businessweek

Sample Small Business Tax Breaks 2021

  • April 30, 2021

What is happening? California has approved allowing small business to receive a tax credit for their PPP funds. Unlike the federal tax help, California’s won’t apply to every business, it only applies if the business can show a loss of 25% or more during a three month period.

Why is this important? California passed bipartisan tax relief.

How will this be important? States are grappling with how to handle PPP funds, how to apply tax breaks, and how to fill in state lost revenue.

CBS San Diego | California Legislature OK’s Tax Break for Small Businesses

State Pension $400 M to Sustainable Investing

  • April 30, 2021

What is happening? The $247.7 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund has committed approximately $400 million to two funds. This follows its Sustainable Investments and Climate Solutions (SICS) Program. $300 million to Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners . $100 million to Excelsior Energy Capital’s inaugural fund, the Excelsior Renewable Energy Investment Fund I.

Why is this important? NY State Controller set a goal of transitioning its portfolio to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040

How will this be important? More and more states are either transitioning or making sustainable investing a choice for their pension members.

Chief Investment Officer | NY State Pension Commits to $400 Million in Sustainable Investments

Incentivizing COVID Vaccines

  • April 29, 2021

What is happening? West Virginia is offering $100 for people, 16-35 years old, to be vaccinated. Funds will come from the CARES Act

Why is this important? Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican, credits young West Virginias as key to shutting down the transmission of COVID

How will this be important? West Virginia’s approach could be modeled in other states or other future pandemics

NPR | West Virginia Will Pay Young People $100 To Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19

Declining Tech Campaign Contributions

  • April 29, 2021

What is happening? 7 Republicans in Congress are openly declining campaign contributions from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple and Twitter

Why is this important? Appears to be Phase 2 in the standoff between certain politicians and big tech. Phase 1 is the legislation that responds to big tech blocking users or content.

How will this be important? The wedge between these 2 sides appears to be increasing, more to come.

The Hill | Seven House Republicans vow to reject donations from Big Tech

5 States Limit Private Prison Management

  • April 23, 2021

What’s happening? Washington State became the 5th state to limit the private prison industry.

Why is this important? The Washington State legislation bans private prisons from operating in the state and looks to shut down an immigration detention facility that is privately run in Tacoma by 2025.

How will this be important? California, Nevada, New York and Illinois in passing legislation to reduce, limit, or ban the operation of private prison companies in the state. Every year more states will begin considering similar legislation.

@goodgoodgoodco | Washington Governor Jay Inslee just signed a bill into law banning private, for-profit detention centers

Winning Sports Betting Bill Methodology

  • April 22, 2021

What’s happening? Arizona, like Massachusetts, first reached an agreement with each state’s tribes before passing legislation. Reaching an agreement with tribes first has been said to be the key factor to the bill passage.

Why is this important? This successful path can be replicated in other states with a tribal gaming footprint.

How will this be important? Sports betting legislation is passing throughout the country and will continue to, so why not look at how other states succeeded and take winning pieces to build your own strategy.

AZ Family | Arizona gives timelines for new gambling, sports betting in state

Rio Grande Guardian | Hinojosa, Huberty: It is time to legalize sports betting in Texas

Anatomy of a Dead Soda Tax Bill + COVID Argument.

  • April 22, 2021

What’s happening? California was considering AB 1163 (2021 | CA) that would have reinstated cities and counties’ ability to put soda taxes before voters. Political watchers say the bill died because of anti-tax sentiment.

Why is this important? Supporters of soda taxes point to Philadelphia and Seattle using soda tax revenue to provide food for those in need during the pandemic.

How will this be important? The complex nature of the issue and how soda consumption and food deserts intertwine is being talked about more. Look for soda taxes in food desert legislation.

Route Fifty | Another Soda Tax Bill Dies. Another Win for Big Soda

New Legislative Caucus for Mayors, County Judges + more.

  • April 22, 2021

What’s happening? U.S. House lawmakers that were formerly local officials are forming a new caucus Congressional Caucus of Former Local Elected Officials. 1 in 4 House members are formerly local officials. The goal being to improve dialog between Congress and local governments.

Why is this important? is your state preempting local action? Would it help if your local officials who are now state officials had a caucus? Probably so.

How will this be important? As states and cities are at odds, the federal government could find more ways to provide direct to local government funding and assistance.

Route Fifty | House Lawmakers Form New Caucus of Former Local Officials

Let’s Look at the States Working to Pay Student Athletes

  • April 22, 2021

What’s happening? In 2020 California passed Fair Pay to Play Act SB 26 (2020 | CA) that allows student athletes to have an agent and negotiate business ventures that do not directly compete with their university’s endorsed products. Effective January 1 2023. Florida came next with SB 646 (2020 | FL) which will be effective in 2021. New Jersey SB 971 (2020 | NJ). Also following suit are Nebraska, New Mexico, Arizona, Michigan and Colorado.

Why is this important? NCAA jumped and created rules too but won’t be effective until the 3 divisions approve the rules.

How will this be important? Gone are the days of college teams having the upper hand on monitizing college athlete images. Leveling the playing – every discussion and article about this issue will be laden with puns.

Governing | States Move Forward on Compensation for Student Athletes

17th State Legalizes Cannabis

  • April 15, 2021

What’s happening? New Mexico has legalized cannabis for adults. It seems weird that the article mentioned for adults and that I decided to type it as well. Of course it is cannabis legalized for adults no state would legalize cannabis for toddlers. Retail sales will begin April 1, 2022. It is estimated to raise at least $20 million in tax revenue the first year, $380 million in sales, and create 11,000 jobs.

Why is this important? New Mexico is the 17th state to legalize. The numbers keep going up.

How will this be important? Every state has slightly different regulatory framework. Consider NM having added to the regulatory possibilities.

KCBD | New Mexico Governor, Legislature legalizes adult-use cannabis

Pension Trend Across the Pond

  • April 15, 2021

What’s happening? Pension industry in Europe is being asked to educate its membership about ESG investments for pensions. Advisors say there is a disconnect between what people think is happening to their pension funds and what is happening to their pension funds. Such as members strongly supporting global warming initiatives but not have investments to that end.

Why is this important? The new economy plus transparency means people want to know that they are voting with their dollars.

How will this be important? The younger generations care even more about social impact issues, so consider us on a tricycle now so that by the time Gen Z gets to pension age we’ll have cycling shoes that click into peddles.

Pensions Age | Pensions industry urged to educate members on ESG investing

Esports on the Radar

  • April 15, 2021

What’s happening? Esports has become a $1 Billion in sales industry. Add onto the revenue from events. Esports is big business and big sports that is entering the sports betting ethos.

Why is this important? Esports is starting to train like professional athletes too. Esports isn’t only kids in a basement.

How will this be important? Esports is big business that keeps growing.

@bloombergbusiness on @instagram

State Innovation Expansion Program. $10 M for Manufacturers.

  • April 15, 2021

What’s happening? Oklahoma has created the  Innovation Expansion Program within its Department of Commerce to support manufacturers that are innovating and spur investments.

Why is this important? Th program began because Oklahoma wanted to help businesses emerge from the pandemic.

How will this be important? What happens in one state will eventually be proposed in other states.

The Oklahoman via Governing | Oklahoma to Use $10 Million to Boost Investment, Innovation

Anatomy of North Carolina’s Sports Betting Bill

  • April 9, 2021

What’s happening? North Carolina is considering a sports betting bill SB 688 (2021 | NC). The bill will expand sports betting beyond the 2 tribal casinos and into online sports betting. NC Education Lottery Commission would run the show. At least 10 online sports wagering licenses would be available, but no more than 12. 8% tax on sports betting revenue. $500,000 license fee.

Why is this important? Many states are grappling with this very thing and they are all handling it differently. Lots of tools for our toolboxes, my friends.

How will this be important? If successful, it is another blueprint of how to pass sports betting a fairy red location.

Legal Sports report | NEW NORTH CAROLINA SPORTS BETTING BILL WOULD OPEN ONLINE MARKET

Pro Sports Ticket Tax Proposal

  • April 9, 2021

What’s happening? Nevada is considering SB 367 (2021 | NV) that removes the sales tax exemption for professional sports tickets. Professional sports tickets ahem been exempt from the liven entertainment tax since 2015. The tax applies to events with more than 200 attendees.

Why is this important? The raiders say the tax could harm expansion for the Las Vegas team.

How will this be important? All states are identifying new ways to impose new or amended taxes. Keep it in your memory vault.

Las Vegas Review Journal | Proposed ticket tax could block pro sports expansion, Knights, Raiders say

+1 State Increases the Gas Tax with a Republican Counter Offer

  • April 9, 2021

What’s happening? Minnesota legislators voted to increase the state gas tax by 5 cents. Republicans countered the bill with an increase in the sales tax for auto parts.

Why is this important? gas tax revenues have been in decline because of fuel efficiency, low gas prices and less driving during the pandemic.

How will this be important? ll states are grappling with declining gas tax revenues.

Pine Journal | Minnesota panel green-lights 5-cent gas tax hike for road, bridge repairs

COVID Effect. +2 States Retain Alcohol Sales to go. Alcohol Delivered.

  • April 8, 2021

What’s happening? Alabama S126 (AL- 2021) and Texas are both seeing alcohol to go sales moving through their legislative chambers.

Why is this important? The pandemic led Governors to loosen certain regulatory restrictions, which created a pilot program of sorts to test how will the state operate if we loosen these rules. Turns out, it will be A-OK. So now those looser rules are getting codified.

How will this be important? The new economy will continue to be a reassessment of the old rules. Just because we always did it that way, doesn’t mean that way was the right way.

AL.com | Alabama alcohol delivery bill awaits Kay Ivey’s signature

Collecting a Vehicle Fee to Build Charging Stations

  • March 26, 2021

What’s happening? Florida Senate is moving SB138 (2021 | FL) that will use it’s $135 EV fee to create the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Grant Program to help pay to install the charging stations.

Why is this important? The bill has an economic development component for the EV infrastructure building and will split funds between the Florida Department of Transportation and local governments, with counties getting 36% to make up for lost gas tax revenue.

How will this be important? Building out EV charging station infrastructure is big business. “This is going to create a very large industry,” said Sen. Tom Wright, R-New Smyrna Beach. 

Tallahassee Democrat | Florida Senate panel approves new fee to build electric vehicle charging stations

Colorado’s Proposed Insurance Premium Fee for Disasters

  • March 26, 2021

What’s happening? Colorado is considering the Natural Disaster Mitigation Enterprise, HB21-1208 (2021 | Co) that would add a $1.25 per every $1,000 in premiums to create the state-run natural disaster mitigation enterprise fund that would help communities finance necessary work to lessen or prevent future catastrophes. 

Why is this important? Mitigating disasters is big talk and big work in state legislatures.

How will this be important? The pacing of “disasters” seems to be increasing.

The Colorado Sun | Could a new insurance-premium fee prevent Colorado’s next big natural disaster? Some lawmakers say yes.

Data will reclassify your city. Bye, bye funding.

  • March 25, 2021

What’s happening? The Office of Management and Budget is set to reclassify the size requirements for Metropolitan Statistical Areas. In 1950s when they came up with the size of MSAs, the low end was 50,000. Times changed. There’s a lot more people in the US. Now, they want to change the MSA designation to 100,000 population for core cities.

Why is this important? MSA stays determines federal funding. If you lose your MSA status, you lose the funding access.

How will this be important? It will hit 6 cities in TX, 5 in CA and 9 in PA, among scores of others.

AP | Lawmakers fear turning 144 cities into “micropolitan” areas

Infrastructure Building. What matters as much as cost & time?

  • March 25, 2021

What’s happening? Governing Column looks at what is important when governments build infrastructure. Turns out it isn’t just time and money. It’s also who owns the infrastructure, what it looks like (design matters) and connections.

Why is this important? Because often the choice is which costs the least, but in the end the project can cost more if it’s an eye sore, serves no purpose because it doesn’t connect people and communities, or is run by a 3rd party.

Why will this be important? Public Private Ownership is a perennial policy decision and works well with good actors. But, when the public turns on a project managed by a bad actor, its a costly policy problem.

Governing | What Are the Five Principles of Good Infrastructure?

How are small towns in MI increasing their tax revenue? Marijuana sales.

  • March 19, 2021

What’s happening? Michigan legalized cannabis more than a year ago. mall cities are reaping the revenue benefits without raising existing taxes.

Why is this important? Cities benefit from license fees and tax revenue from marijuana with no impact to law enforcement activity or budgets.

How will this be important? When cities have little ability to rate taxes, new taxes provide a key revenue source.

Fox 17 | Small towns getting thousands of dollars in tax revenue thanks to marijuana sales

Sports Betting Revenue. 4th State Breaks $500M/Month

  • March 19, 2021

What’s happening? Illinois became the 4th state to take in more than $500 million in sports bets in a single month. Illinois came close to $600M for January.

Why is this important? Operator revenue (jobs) in January was $49.4 million. $7.2 million in taxes for the state. 39.5% of the state’s total handle came from basketball betting.

How will this be important? Not every state has legalized sports betting and as more states top $500 million in revenue for a month, the revenue numbers are enticing.

YogoNet & PlayIllinois | Illinois breaks sports betting revenue and handle records in January

Legislative Procedure. Can you Speed Read?

  • March 18, 2021

What’s happening? Co courts blocked an end run around filibuster-ish rules. In the CO a member can force the reading of a bill in its entirety to take up time. Well, to be clever, and thinking that they found a loophole, the legislative leaders opted for speed reading by computer. The CO Supreme Court said- no, speed reading does not comply with the constitutional requirements.

How is this important? These tactics and court cases, led to the two parties to work together to find common ground. Statesmanship lived.

Why will this be important? CO courts may not have liked it, but maybe Texas courts thinks, yeah, that works.

AP | Colorado court: Speed-reading bills violates constitution

Digital Ad Taxes

  • March 18, 2021

What’s happening? Overriding a veto, Maryland is the first state to tax digital advertising. Now, Big Tech is suing to stop the bill.

Why is this important? There’s big money involved. The MD bill will generate revenue like this:

  • 2.5% for companies with global annual gross revenues of $100 million through $1 billion
  • 5% for companies with global annual gross incomes greater than $1 billion through $5 billion
  • 7.5% for companies with global annual gross revenues greater than $5 billion through $15 billion
  • 10% for companies with global annual gross revenues exceeding $15 billion

How will this be important? Revenue source. New revenue source. New revenue source. It’s like a money tree for elected officials. Opponents say it violates the Commerce Clause and is discriminatory.

Government Tech | Maryland’s Digital Ad Tax Under Pressure from Big Tech

How will Local Governments Spend CARES funding?

  • March 18, 2021

What’s happening? State and local governments will get an extra W$350 billion,   with $65.1 billion in direct federal aid for counties & an additional $1.5 billion for public land counties.

Why is this important? There are Dos and Don’t on spending. Do: health safety measures and PPE demands; payroll, vaccine distribution, small business needs, food, education, broadband Do not: bridge repairs

How will this be important? The feds are watching & will react if spending proposal is outside of COVD recovery.

Governing | Local Govs Will Spend Stimulus Relief in Different Ways

How to Pass Cannabis Legalization in the State Budget.

  • March 12, 2021

What’s happening? The Governor of Rhode Island is placing legalization in the state budget bill.

Why is this important? The Governor lays out his entire regulatory frame work.  25 marijuana retailers to be licensed each year. Licenses awarded on a lottery system, except 5 licenses are reserved for minority owned businesses. 17% sales tax rate on cannabis sales.

How will this be important? The Governor goes further to divvy up the revenue with 60% going to the state general fund, 25% would cover administrative costs and the remaining 15 percent would go to local governments.

Marijuana Moment | Rhode Island Governor Puts Marijuana Legalization Plan In Budget, Days After Lawmakers File Competing Plan

Which Southern State Will be the 1st to Legalize Cannabis?

  • March 12, 2021

What’s happening? Virginia is poised to legalize cannabis, or this clever article points out, “Virginia is close to becoming the first Southern state to get a tax revenue high.”

Why is this important? The estimated revenue for legalized cannabis in Virginia is $698 million to $1.2 billion annually in economic activity and up to $274 million in tax revenue per year.

How will this be important? Virginia got to this point after the Governor created a commission to estimate the revenue potential. 12 states are currently considering some kind of cannabis reform legislation. States like New York, Connecticut, New Mexico and Hawaii could soon see legislation on governors’ desks.

CNBC | Virginia gets close to legalizing recreational weed as other states eye cannabis tax windfalls