Here are a few links to articles on tax (or in some way related to tax) that are worth a read.
Patrick McGeehan, Big Chains Benefit From City Tax Incentives but Don't Create Jobs, Report Says, NY Times, May 29, 2008 (noting that fast-food restaurants, gas stations and national chain stores have reaped the benefits of Manhattan tax breaks (to the tune of more than $400 million last year and more than the city Housing Authority has in its budget) to displace independent competitors, without creating new jobs).
Mary Williams Walsh, In Stock Plan, Employees See Stacked Deck, NY Times, May 29, 2008 (noting the concerns of US Sugar employees and former employees regarding its treatment of its ESOP program; employees are cashed out on retirement according to an "independent appraisal" that is supposed to ensure they get fair value for a privately held company, but US Sugar, a company that went private under the Mott family, has found a way to use the ESOP that is supposed to benefit employees to its advantage. It paid employees considerably less than 2 offers it received for the stock over a two year period--the offers were for $293 a share, and many employees received as little as $194 a share under the "independent appraisal" and were not told about the offers for the higher price (nor were they allowed to attend a shareholder meeting, which is normally permitted). The company rejected the offer of 293 a share in part because it had another appraisal for that purpose valuing the company at more than $1000 per share. The company also stopped paying dividends on the shares. The company benefits when retirees are cashed out (especially if they are cashed out at a cheap price) because it concentrates share ownership back in the non-employee owners of the company. In the US Sugar case, the Mott family, and possibly a private foundation established with Mott family shares because of a need to reduce their percentage ownership of the company, are the beneficiaries. (See next item for more on the Foundation.) Not surprisingly, some of the employees feel cheated, and they are taking their case to court. ESOPs are primarily at private companies--95% of the 10,000 ESOP plans. Makes one wonder if these tax-benefited plans are primarily serving the companies in getting employees to be super-productive and then ripping them off with appraisals that undervalue the stock.....).
Mary Williams Marsh, Ostensibly Independent, a Charity is US Sugar's Swing Vote Shareholder, NY Times, May 29, 2008 (noting the role of a charity in supporting US Sugar, whereas if it sided with the employees (i.e., the ESOP), the two blocks would control the company).
Jeremy Peters, New York to Back Same-Sex Unions from Elsewhere, NY Times, May 29, 2008 (noting Governor Paterson's order to agencies to ensure that Full Faith and Credit is provided under New York law to other state's marriage laws, including all tax and other economic benefits (such as filing a joint tax return) that accrue under state law to married couples. This is another good move that steps the US towards a decent and egalitarian policy towards committed couples, rather than the biased, religion-based policy that dominates the country today.).
Brian Krebs, New Tax Plan could Jeopardize Small Business Owners' Privacy, Washington Post, May 22, 2008 (noting business concerns about loss of privacy and potential ID theft if a White House proposal for credit card companies to report merchants' income is approved).
Jonathan Weisman, McCain Offers Tax Policies He Once Opposed, Washington Post, April 25, 2008 (chronicling McCain's early statements about the harm of tax cuts directed towards the nation's wealthiest taxpayers and comparing them to McCain's campaign positions favoring the Bush tax cuts). And you might want to remember what we thought back then--see Jonathan Weisman's 2004 article on "Tax Burden Shifts to the Middle".
Alec MacGillis, Economists Knock Proposed Gas Tax Break, Washington Post, May 1, 2008 (noting that oil companies would get richer, funds for infrastructure repairs would be substantially reduced, and Americans would hardly see the difference at the pump).
(I'll be off in Montreal for the Law and Society meeting through Sunday. Ataxingmatter will be on a break as well.)