THE FUTURE OF SALES TAX REVENUE

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1 THE FUTURE OF SALES TAX REVENUE Presented by Adam Fulton, Senior Economic Associate The Outlook for Sales Taxes State governments rely on state sales taxes for more than a fifth of their revenue Economic and demographic changes are eroding the state sales tax base Aging population Changing patterns in consumption Differences in prices Internet sales vs. brick-and-mortar stores Policy makers must decide how to respond 1

2 The Role of State Sales Tax Sales taxes are a significant source of revenue for states. Sales and gross receipts accounted for one-fifth of states own tax revenue in Source: Tax Policy Center History of State Sales Taxes Great Depression inspired many states to adopt sales taxes Falling corporate income and property tax receipts prompted states to seek new revenue sources Mississippi and Kentucky are credited with pioneering the retail sales tax in the early 1930s By 1938, 21 states used the sales tax; other states followed after World War II Sources: Dr. Edward T. Howe, Siena College & Dr. Donald J. Reeb, SUNY-Albany; Dr. William F. Fox, University of Tennessee 2

3 An Array of Options Forty-five states and the District of Columbia collect general sales taxes Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon are the exceptions Rates vary from 2.9 percent in Colorado to 7.5 percent in California Thirty-six states (including Alaska) permit sales taxes at the county, municipal, or special district level Maximum local rates range from 0.25 percent in Mississippi to 7.5 percent in Alabama Source: Tax Policy Center Sales tax dilemmas Viewed as a regressive tax Low-income households pay at higher proportion of sales taxes compared to income. Many states offer exemptions for certain purchases, including food and prescription drugs Some states tax food but offer rebates or tax credits to low-income families As U.S. shifted from manufacturing to service economy, some states extended sales tax to certain services State policies for taxing services varies greatly Source: Tax Policy Center 3

4 About REMI Research Services related to regional modeling, forecasting, and economic impacts Began as an offshoot from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in the 1970s and 1980s, and it is still an ongoing research project Custom Software Full-service, commercial off-the-shelf, Windows-based software programs for economic and demographic research at the regional-level Model regions and capabilities customized to the users specific requirements Services and Technical Support All REMI software comes with training and technical support from a team of graduate-trained economics and software technicians Issue-oriented policy research, consulting reports, and expert testimony REMI-led Budget Analysis 4

5 Jobs/People/Millions of $ Jobs/People/Millions of $ /15/2015 Four Methodologies Input-Output (IO) Industry-to-industry transactions and social accounting matrices (SAM) Supply-chains, regional purchase concepts (RPCs), and multipliers Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) Long-term effects after markets clear back to a new equilibrium Dynamic adjustments to population, market shares, fuel mixtures, etc. New Economic Geography Endogenous productivity adjustments from industry/labor clustering Full trade-flows by industry and interregional competitiveness Econometrics Estimation of statistical parameters from observable data Strength of responses, elasticities, preferences, and time-lags Static v. Dynamic 5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0 Static Model $600 $500 $400 $300 $200 $100 $0 Dynamic Model 10,000 8,000 6,000 4,000 2,000 0 $1,400 $1,200 $1,000 $800 $600 $400 $200 $0 Total Employment Population Gross Domestic Product Real Disposable Personal Income Total Employment Population Gross Domestic Product Real Disposable Personal Income 5

6 Model Structure Trends in Sales Taxes Changes in Demographics Changing Consumer Preferences Changes in PCE or CPI Expanding retail markets (i.e. Internet sales) 6

7 CHANGE IN DEMOGRAPHICS US Ratio of 65+ Population to Total Population 25% 20% : 1 in : 1 in 5 15% 10% 5% 0%

8 Alaska New Hampshire Connecticut 1990 Colorado 1992 Vermont 1994 Maryland Virginia 1996 New Jersey 1998 Wyoming 2000 California 2002 Minnesota Maine 2004 Nevada 2006 Massachusetts 2008 Wisconsin Rhode Island 2010 Texas 2012 Georgia 2014 Hawaii 2016 Washington New York 2018 Florida 2020 North Carolina 2022 Delaware 2024 Montana Missouri 2026 New Mexico 2028 Illinois 2030 Kansas Arizona 2032 Michigan 2034 Nebraska 2036 Tennessee 2038 Ohio Oregon 2040 South Carolina 2042 South Dakota 2044 Indiana 2046 Kentucky Pennsylvania 2048 Mississippi 2050 Iowa 2052 Alabama Idaho 2054 Louisiana 2056 Oklahoma 2058 West Virginia 2060 Arkansas Utah North Dakota District of Columbia 4/15/2015 Daily Rate of 65 year olds in US Age State Change in 65+ population per capita 65+ is a component of the dependant share of the population 1/4 1/5 3/20 1/ /10 8

9 Retirement Migration, 2020 Southwest States Half-Back States Florida Source: eremi Consumption Equation The consumption equation accounts for the share of regional Demographic Age Group (%DG) and its respective propensity to consume (PC). 9

10 /15/2015 CHANGES IN CONSUMPTION PATTERNS Trend of Taxable Items (US) total wages Estimated Sales Tax Base w CO Personal Consumption Expenditures GDP 10

11 California: A Case Study California s sales tax base total amount of taxable spending has grown 1.4 percentage points slower annually than the state s economy In 1979, CA consumers spent 53 cents of each dollar on taxable items Consumers now spend 33 cents of each dollar on taxable items Prices for services have grown four times as much as prices for goods since 1980 Source: CA Legislative Analyst s Office Taxable and Non-taxable purchases Graphic: CA Legislative Analyst s Office 11

12 CHANGES IN PCE OR CPI Reasons Behind the Gap Consumers are spending more of their money on services, such as health care, that are not covered by states general sales taxes 12

13 PCE of Goods and Services Goods Services EXPANDING RETAIL MARKETS 13

14 E-Commerce: Opening the Market Online sales as a share of total retail sales rose from 2.1% in 2004 to 6.7% by end of 2014 Internet commerce expected to grow over the next several years, reaching nearly $500 billion by 2018 Sources: Census Bureau, Internet Retailer New Retail Markets Source: Census Bureau 14

15 U.S. E-Commerce Sales, Forecasters see steady rise in e-commerce (in billions) Sources: emarketer, Forrester Research; Graphic: Internet Retailer Sales Tax Impact States will find it harder to balance books with traditional sales taxes Legislators may need to adjust tax code to maintain sustainable level of revenue 15

16 Sales Tax Policy Debate What should states include and exclude? How do states capture online sales revenue? How does a state choose its overall blend of different revenue sources? Revenue Sources over Time State and Local General Revenue by Source, Graphic: Tax Policy Center 16

17 Solution Don t get old Be a 1970 s consumer Earn More Money NO Include Services in the Sales Tax Collections Discuss how to collect taxes across new markets Migrate towards away from sales taxes QUESTIONS? REMI Contact: Adam Fulton, M.S. Senior Economic Associate Regional Economic Models, Inc

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