Colo. gov wants to speed up candy, soda tax plan

Gov. Bill Ritter wants to speed up a plan to tax things such as candy and soda, pesticides and industrial energy use to help balance the state budget.

In the fall, Ritter proposed suspending or eliminating 13 tax exemptions and credits starting in July to raise $132 million to help balance next year’s budget. In December, lawmakers learned that tax revenues were forecast to drop even more, requiring them to cut another $48 million from the current year’s budget for a total of about $600 million in cuts.

Ritter is proposing that seven of the sales tax exemptions be lifted starting in March instead of July. That would bring in another $18 million, which would mean lawmakers would have to cut only $30 million more than planned from the current budget.

Ritter plans to formally introduce his plan on Jan. 27. But members of his staff met with business leaders on Wednesday to warn them of what was coming. [Read the full article]

Despite what you may think, estate planning isn’t all about what happens after you die. Besides death, there are plenty of other unpleasantries — accident, injury, or other maladies that make you unable to manage your own affairs for a while — that can go much more smoothly for you and your loved ones if you’ve prepared for them ahead of time.

Planning your estate doesn’t have to be painful. Spend a minute to get your bearings and see how easy it can be to get your affairs in order.

1. Pick the people you want to get your stuffThe best-known way for you to say who gets your possessions when you die is to write a will. Contrary to popular belief, wills don’t have to be complicated. Depending on whom you want to receive your assets, how much your estate is worth, where you live, and what types of things you own, a simple will may be adequate to get the job done.

2. [Read the full article]

No matter the time of year, taxes are an important topic for investors. There are quite a few investment strategies you can use to lower your tax bill, retain as much of your pretax profit as possible, and give your after-tax bottom line a money-in-the-bank boost.

Ways to save, this year and beyondTactic: Buy to hold. The IRS provides a strong incentive for doing what Fools do anyway: Invest for the long haul. Your income affects the rate you’ll pay on realized capital gains (i.e., investment profits), but consider two identical investments of $10,000 by a pair of tax filers in the 28% tax bracket. Investor A gets an itchy trigger finger, sells after a heady six-month run-up of 40%, and pockets a pretax profit of $4,000. Investor B holds the position for more than a year and endures a bit more volatility but ultimately earns that same 40%.

A wash? Not at all. The IRS will ding impatient Investor A at a marginal rate of 28%, to the tune of $1,120. [Read the full article]

Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates forced a unanimous vote Thursday that killed former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine’s proposed income tax increase and the two-year budget it was intended to support.

Ninety-seven delegates — Democrats and Republicans — voted against the measure that Republicans forced to the floor with great fanfare, leaving Democrats with no choice but to spurn their national chairman or be on record as supporting a $2 billion tax boost.

Democrats were under no illusion that the bill would ever pass. A bolstered majority of anti-tax Republicans and new Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell had plainly said they would approve no tax increases to resolve a projected $4 billion revenue shortfall over the next two years.

House Democratic Leader Ward L. Armstrong of Henry County accused the GOP of provoking a partisan skirmish by staging the embarrassing vote.

“We know why this bill is before us. [Read the full article]

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