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Improving American Tax Policy 2018

Professor Len Burman

Today I learned about the Robot Tax! I love that I get a chance (every now and then) to sneak into a class, or in this case, a symposium of student presentations.  Professor Len Burman’s winter break Tax Policy & Politics class presented their final tax analysis projects today.  They have been critically examining aspects of the American federal, state and local tax systems. Today they presented their assessments of key tax policies and recommendations for future actions.  Professor Burman moderated the sessions and it was free and open to the public. When I asked a student if he and his classmates “fixed” our tax system, he said not yet, but maybe by 5 pm! It was a thought provoking afternoon, and while I was only able to attend for a short while, I love that I learned something new! Just another reason I love this community.

Students presented on the following tax policies:

Issues in Individual Income Taxation 

Chih Yun Huang:  Marriage Penalties
Elizabeth deJoseph:  Charitable Contributions

Issues in Business Taxation

Derry Kiernan:  Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Jared Shepard:  New Markets Tax Credits

Tax Policy for Human and Computer Brains 

Chelsea Thomas:  Education Tax Incentives
Ian Ludd:  Robot Taxes

Issues in State and Local Taxation

Samantha Netzband:  The Tampon Tax
Patrick Lohmann:  Property Tax Circuit Breakers

And Now, For Something Completely Different

Boone Oneil:  Financial Transaction Taxes
Robert Evans III:  The X-tax

Tax Policy and the Economy in Theory and Practice

Christopher Pulliam:  Dynamic Scoring
Victoria Wright:  Tax Policy and Humans

Professor Len Burman is the Paul Volcker Chair in Behavioral Economics at SU’s Maxwell School and Institute Fellow, Urban Institute.  His specialties are federal tax policy, budget policy, tax expenditures, the individual alternative minimum tax, and the changing role of taxation in social policy.

He co-founded the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, in 2002. He was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis at the Treasury from 1998 to 2000 and Senior Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office from 1988 to 1997. He is past-president of the National Tax Association (NTA) and 2016 recipient of the NTA’s Davie-Davis Award for Public Service. Burman is the co-author with Joel Slemrod of Taxes in America: What Everyone Needs to Know and author of The Labyrinth of Capital Gains Tax Policy: A Guide for the Perplexed, and co-editor of several books.  He is often invited to testify before Congress and has written for scholarly journals as well as media outlets such as the Washington Post, New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Len received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Minnesota in 1985,

And tonight he and his wife, Missie, are hosting the students at his summer home just outside Syracuse.  Maxwell is just that kind of place where students get a chance to learn from some of the greatest minds.. and not only that, but learn from each other, and get together having great discussions, inside and outside of the classroom.

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