Kane wants a piece of Ron Ramsey:
Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey is being challenged to a debate on the Internet Sales Tax by professional WWE wrestler and anti-tax activist Glenn Jacobs. In a blog post today Glenn Jacobs (stage name Kane) criticized the Lt. Governor for pushing the Internet sales tax and called for a debate on the topic at the Lt. Governor’s convenience.
“Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey claims that the Internet sales tax mandate is not a new tax. Nor, according to Ramsey, is it an unfair tax. Ramsey is wrong on both counts.” Glenn writes. “ I, therefore, invite Lt. Gov. Ramsey for a policy debate on the issue of the Marketplace Fairness Act in a public forum at his convenience.”
In recent weeks Glenn Jacobs has been appearing in various media outlets advocating against the national Internet sales tax mandate with appearances on nationally syndicated terrestrial radio, satellite radio, and local radio stations in Tennessee. Jacobs has written multiple blog posts and op-ed pieces against the national Internet sales tax mandate.
Earlier this week the TN Campaign for Liberty challenged Lt. Gov Ramsey to show he had paid the obscure TN Use Tax for his online purchases after he called the vast majority of Tennesseans “criminals” for not paying it.
The national Internet sales tax mandate will likely come up for a vote in the US House of Representatives later this year. The bill is titled “Marketplace Fairness Act” and is being opposed by the Campaign for Liberty, eBay, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity, Freedomworks, the Heartland Institute, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, and many other conservative figures.
Glenn Jacobs lives with his family in Jefferson City, Tennessee and is a co-founder of the Tennessee Liberty Alliance. Mr. Jacobs is a critic of big government and a professional wrestler with the WWE.
Corrections Corp. of America is front and center in a Sunday New York Times story about the growing corporate trend of converting from a standard corporation to a real estate investment trust.
The Nashville-based prison operator (Ticker: CXW) expects to save $70 million on a REIT conversion in 2013 and recently announced a $675 million special dividend payout to shareholders, or about $6.63 per share.
One industry analyst tells the Times the interest in REIT conversion is the highest it’s been in 30 years. Another analyst says he expects more conversions to come in railroads, highways, mines, landfills, vineyards, farmland or other immovable structures that generate revenues.
The tax savings and potential benefit to shareholders of REIT conversions can’t be denied, but the trend worries some industry experts. Some think it could jeopardize the tax status of traditional trusts, while others question the need for more tax-saving strategies for corporations when there are already so many available.
The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday morning voted unanimously in favor of the Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013, the push launched early this year by craft brewers seeking to overhaul the fiscal regime that is based on price, not volume. Next up this afternoon is a vote by the House Finance Committee. A full floor vote could come as early as next week.
Now this is clever enough to make us want to quaff a cold one or two. Nashville-based Yazoo Brewing and fine folks at Calfkiller Brewing out Cumberland Plateau way have teamed to create some humor highlighting Tennessee's progressive beer tax.
From the Yazoo Facebook page:
We bottled "The Beacon – a TN High Tax Ale" today – our collaboration brew with the guys from Calfkiller Brewing! That's the good news. The bad news? The label is taking longer than we expected to be approved by the Feds so we can't get them labelled and out to you yet."
SEE ALSO: Group launches push to reform beer tax
Friday was progressing nicely for investors in Middle Tennessee's most prominent retail stocks, which like much of the market were buoyed a better-than-expected consumer sentiment report. Then Bloomberg broke the story that Wal-Mart's February-to-date sales have, in the words of one executive, been "a total disaster" and "one of those weeks where your best-prepared plans weren’t good enough to accomplish everything you set out to do."
And poof, there went the good vibes and a lot of people were set to spend the weekend fretting (again) about consumer spending post-tax hikes. Not surprisingly, Dollar General shares suffered the most among the locals, giving up more than 4 percent in the space of a few minutes and sliding some more into the close. But Tractor Supply, Genesco and Cracker Barrel also took their lumps.
For more on Wal-Mart's sales and what they say about the broader economy, check out the discussion on Friday's Options Action on CNBC.
We're catching up a bit to this note but thought it was interesting to pass along. Remember two years ago when we were all talking about Amazon's is-it-or-isn't-it nexus and rifling through the fine points of Quill v. North Dakota? The tax team at Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz says Department of Revenue officials could be moving to clear up some of the confusion: Part of a recent Court of Appeals ruling cites a New Jersey case that links the licensing of intellectual property to the creation of a nexus.
A coalition of brewers, distributors, lawmakers and others will gather this afternoon at Yazoo Brewing in The Gulch to formally launch their push to overhaul the way Tennessee taxes the brewing of beer. The state now assesses on brewers a wholesale tax that is based on price, not volume, and that has grown more than 30 percent since 1999. (Check out some of the group's talking points here.) Following today's event, other campaign stops will be organized in Memphis, Clarksville, Nashville, Cookeville, Chattanooga, Knoxville and the Tri-Cities.
“Tennessee is beyond the tipping point,” said Rich Foge, president of Tennessee Malt Beverage Association. “The current tax policy allows the tax rate to rise unchecked at such a dramatic rise that it is now impacting competitiveness, economic opportunity and costs and choice for consumers. The tax rate is out of control — it’s time to modernize this old tax and make it right.”
SEE ALSO: #fixthebeertax
The recent payroll tax increase has a number of retail players concerned about the spending of many consumers and has turned investor sentiment regarding deep discounters such as Dollar General downright gloomy. Bloomberg's Chris Burritt has made the rounds with a number of analysts who expect the coming year to be one of slowing sales and profit growth — although the Street still expects Dollar General to grow EPS 15 percent — because of pressure on the consumer and stronger competition from Wal-Mart Stores.
Family Dollar Chief Executive Officer Howard Levine is all too aware of how higher payroll taxes will affect shoppers.
“Our customers are clearly making choices,” he said on a Jan. 3 conference call. Higher payroll taxes “go against our customers’ wallet. Clearly they do not have as much for discretionary purchases than they did.”
That was one reason for the downgrade of both Family Dollar and Dollar General this week by RBC Capital Markets' Scott Ciccarelli, who now has Dollar General at 'sector perform' versus his previous 'outperform.' Ciccarelli's price target now stands at $49 from $54 — his Family Dollar one has come down to $63 from $67 — because he's concerned about an ominous list of factors that also includes price competition, a less profitable sales mix and lower government subsidies.
What remains to be seen is whether the 2013 script will read the same for both Dollar General and Family Dollar. Dollar General CEO Rick Dreiling and his team have made clear to investors that they will put market share over profits for the time being — something Levine, whose turnaround story trails that of Dollar General by several quarters, may not be able to do as easily. Still, that philosophy could cap the upside in Dollar General shares, which have slid 15 percent in the past three months (Ticker: DG) and are back where they were in March of last year.