http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/draghi/CBO en Peak "Greatest Fool" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-18/peak-greatest-fool <p>Confirming everything US "investors" already knew but were afraid to admit... <strong>earnings-less IPOs just hit peak greatest fool levels</strong> in the most uncomfortable deja vu moment of the 'recovery'...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/04/20140418_IPO.png"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/04/20140418_IPO.png" width="593" height="419" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We are sure, however, that Yellen and her compatriots will still not see any bubbles here...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.sentimentrader.com/"><em>Chart: sentimentrader.com</em></a></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-18/peak-greatest-fool#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 18:28:46 +0000 Tyler Durden 487468 at http://www.zerohedge.com These Are America's Most And Least "Taxing" States (And Everything Inbetween) http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-18/these-are-americas-most-and-least-taxing-states-and-everything-inbetween <p>One of the most consistent debates emanating out of Washington in the past 6 years has been that dealing with income tax. Whether high, low, "fair" or "unfair", said discussions, however, focus solely on tax paid at the Federal level, and largely ignore that "other" key tax: <strong>state</strong>. Which is surprising, considering some states such as California demand a total contribution amounting to a third of the highest marginal Federal tax bracket, which could make some wonder if those bracing sea breezes are really worth it. But what about the other states? Here is the full breakdown of the states with the top income tax rates, those with the lowest, and all the states inbetween.</p> <p>As Bloomberg <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/money-gallery/2014-04-14/most-least-taxing-states-2014.html">reports </a>citing <a href="http://www.taxfoundation.org/">Tax Foundation data</a>, as of Jan. 1, nine states don't levy income tax on wages, and eight have a flat tax. Brackets in which taxes kick in differ by state, as do exemptions.</p> <p><strong>Here are the highest "taxing" states in the US:</strong></p> <ol> <li>California 13.3%</li> <li>Hawaii 11%</li> <li>Oregon 9.9% (a, b)</li> <li>Minnesota 9.85%</li> <li>Iowa 8.98% (b)</li> <li>New Jersey 8.97% (a)</li> <li>Vermont 8.95% (tie)</li> <li>Washington, D.C. 8.95% (tie)</li> <li>New York 8.82% (a, c)</li> <li>Maine 7.95%</li> </ol> <p><em>a) Local income taxes are excluded.</em><br /><em>b) Allows "some or all federal income tax paid to be deducted from state taxable income," according to the Tax Foundation.</em><br /><em>c) The Tax Foundation notes that New York has "'tax benefit recapture, by which many high-income taxpayers pay their top tax rate on all income, not just on amounts above the bracket threshold.” </em></p> <p><strong>And the lowest:</strong></p> <ol> <li>Pennsylvania 3.07%* (a) </li> <li>North Dakota 3.22%</li> <li>Indiana 3.4%* (a) </li> <li>Michigan 4.25%* (a) </li> <li>Arizona 4.54%</li> <li>Colorado 4.63%* ** (d) </li> <li>Kansas 4.8% (a)</li> <li>New Mexico 4.9%</li> <li>Alabama 5% (a, b): tied with Illinois*, Mississippi, New Hampshire* (c) and Utah</li> </ol> <p><em>*flat rate</em><br /><em>**of federal adjusted gross income with modifications </em></p> <p><em> a) Local income taxes are excluded.</em><br /><em>b) Allows "some or all federal income tax paid to be deducted from state taxable income," according to the Tax Foundation.</em><br /><em> c) Tax applies to interest and dividend income only.</em><br /><em>(d) of federal taxable income</em></p> <p><strong>And all the other ones, sorted alpabetically:</strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/ijU7mEaDYVjY.jpg" alt="&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Alabama has the lowest state and local property tax collections per person, though it's one of seven states that don’t provide a sales tax break for groceries. It doesn't give beer drinkers a break, either, imposing the nation’s third-highest beer excise tax, at $1.05 per gallon. Taxes get complicated for same-sex couples in Alabama. Because the state doesn't recognize their unions, couples must each file single state income tax returns and apportion their joint income according to a ratio.</p> <p>At least one obsolete tax law remains on the books here -- a tax for Confederate veterans of the Civil War. The tax now supports the Confederate Memorial Park, which includes a museum.</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iclwqyh7gxL0.jpg" alt="&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Alaska gets significant income from corporate taxes, mostly from the oil-and-gas industry. The state collects high revenue per person -- $19,686 in 2012, according to the Tax Foundation -- without collecting income, state sales tax or inheritance tax. Alaska's average local sales tax rate is 1.69 percent.</p> <p>Property taxes, however, at $2,076 per person, are relatively high. And while a full day on a fishing boat or oil rig will likely put many of the state’s residents in the mood for a cold one, Alaska’s beer excise tax is the second-highest in the nation, at $1.07 per gallon.</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iXWU6z90W3Qo.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>With a comparatively low income tax, Arizona relies heavily on other levies. It gets a little more than 70 percent of its state and local tax collections from property tax and general sales taxes. Still, its tax revenue is lower than other states' -- it collects $4,812 per capita (as of 2011), ranking 49th out of 50. </p> <p>Arizona doesn't recognize the marriage of same-sex couples. The state instructs those who file joint federal returns to file state income tax returns as single filers and then requires an additional form to determine how to allocate joint income from the federal return.</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/ikrYmfMoVYmM.jpg" alt="&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Arkansas has the sixth-lowest state and local revenue per capita, according to the Tax Foundation. More than 60 percent of state and local tax collections come from general sales tax, individual income tax and corporate income tax. Arkansas does not recognize same-sex marriage and requires single returns from both members of same-sex couples.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/id.hVPNgyyNg.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Living in a place that's home to Hollywood, the Golden Gate Bridge, beaches and mountain ranges comes at a price, and this includes higher taxes. California’s top income tax rate is 12.3 percent for up to $1 million in income, and then jumps to 13.3 percent, the highest in the nation. The state’s sales tax rate (not including local sales taxes) is also the highest in the nation, as is the state gas tax rate, at 52.5 cents per gallon. </p> <p>Tax season is a little easier here for same-sex married couples than in many other states. Since California recognizes same-sex marriage, couples don't have to use different or additional forms to determine how much state tax is due.</p> <p><em>*There is an additional 1 percent tax on income over $1 million, bringing the top rate to 13.3 percent.</em></p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iaK2BtK.tDZE.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Of the 44 states that levy an individual income tax, Colorado's is sixth lowest, according to the Tax Foundation. Colorado made history in 2012 as one of the first two states to legalize recreational adult marijuana use, and now the state is raking in cash from taxing pot. It imposes a 15 percent excise tax on recreational marijuana and marijuana-related products and a general 2.9 percent sales tax. And that might not be all, depending on where the stuff is purchased -- localities may enact their own special taxes. Recreational marijuana sales brought in $2 million in taxes in January, and state officials expect steady revenue patterns to develop by April. </p> <p><em>*Flat rate </em></p> <p><em><br /></em></p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iGGq8V5Nu5ls.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Connecticut has the third-highest state gasoline tax in the country, behind California and New York, at 49.3 cents per gallon. It’s generally a high-tax jurisdiction, which is evident from its “tax freedom day,” representing how long a person would have to work into the year to have earned enough to pay all federal, state and local taxes. Connecticut has the latest such day of all states -- May 13, according to the Tax Foundation. Those high taxes also come with the highest income per capita -- $60,847 in 2013, according to preliminary numbers from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Connecticut is one of 13 states that tax Social Security income.</p> <p><em>*Exemption is $2 million.</em></p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iUrAHv2FC4o8.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Delaware’s top individual income tax rate was scheduled to decrease in 2014, but state officials decided to keep the rate at 6.6 percent to plug a budget shortfall. For 2012, the state had the seventh-highest individual income tax collections per person, at $1,307. It also ranks as one of the highest per capita collectors of corporate income tax, placing fifth at $288 per person.</p> <p><em>*Exemption is $5.34 million. </em></p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/izviujlckjMY.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Retirees and millionaires have good reason to flock to Florida, since it has no personal income tax, inheritance tax or estate tax. Still, the state is projected to have more money to play with this year after state economists forecast a $1.2 billion budget surplus, thanks in part to increased sales tax revenue. Governor Rick Scott has proposed using some of the surplus to cut $500 million in taxes and fees.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iye3OExeyL6A.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>It’s cheaper to buy cigarettes in Georgia than in most of the rest of the U.S., because Georgia’s cigarette taxes rank 47th out of 50, at $0.37 per 20-pack. But not all sin taxes are equal here. It’s a little more expensive, in tax terms, to drink beer and wine than in other states. Georgia’s wine excise tax is $1.51 per gallon (eighth in the nation), while its beer excise tax is $1.01 per gallon (fourth nationwide). Want to drink and still pay lower taxes here? Choose spirits, which are taxed at $3.79 and rank 34th-highest in the country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iFRxDs0iLhKc.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Hawaii has the second-highest top income tax rate in the country, after California. It's one of the few states that tax net capital gains at below the top income tax rate -- they’re taxed at 7.25 percent. It's one of seven that impose the full sales tax rate on groceries. Hawaii’s combined state and local sales tax rate of 4.35 percent places it near the bottom of the pack.</p> <p><em>*Exemption is $5.34 million.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iMlipY2BkhIA.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>The Idaho State Tax Commission is among the states reminding consumers this year that all of those Internet purchases on which they didn't pay sales tax weren't tax-free -- consumers owe a 6 percent use tax to the state when the goods are used in Idaho. Consumers must include this in their income tax returns, but since these taxes are notoriously difficult to track and collect, whether they pay up is another story. Idaho is one of seven states that don't offer a sales tax break for groceries.</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iozgQnE1RJ.4.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Illinois’s income tax rate is slated to drop to 3.75 percent in January, but Governor Pat Quinn has proposed making a 2011 income tax hike permanent that would keep the current 5 percent rate. The debate could spill over into the governor’s reelection season.</p> <p><em>*Flat rate </em>; <em>**Exemption is $4 million. </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iUouIntqeF6w.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Amazon began collecting Indiana’s 7 percent sales tax on Hoosiers’ purchases on its site this January. Indiana was originally supposed to phase out its inheritance tax over 10 years beginning in 2013, but instead the state repealed the tax for people dying after Dec. 31, 2012. In coming years businesses could pay less in taxes, too. Governor Mike Pence signed legislation in March that includes a provision that will gradually reduce corporate income taxes in Indiana to 4.9 percent in 2023. Indiana’s current corporate income tax rate is 7.5 percent, but that is scheduled to decrease on July 1 to 7 percent.</p> <p><em>*Flat rate</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/ij3nWvDf4nvo.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>The top bracket of Iowa’s state income tax reaches 8.98 percent at $68,175 in 2014. The state phased out its tax on Social Security income in 2014. If you want to raise a toast in celebration, it’ll cost you: Iowa has some of the highest excise tax rates on table wine and spirits, according to the Tax Foundation and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. </p> <p>A potential gas tax increase, intended to pay for transportation infrastructure, has been percolating in the Iowa Legislature this session, but nothing had passed as of mid-April.</p> <p><em>Note: Spouse, lineal-ascendant and lineal-descendant transfer is tax-free; sibling or child-in-law transfer is taxed at 5 percent to 10 percent; all other transfers are taxed at 10 percent to 15 percent.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iX7yYP8GsqRk.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>A few years ago Kansas enacted sweeping tax cuts. Recently, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington-based group that supports programs that assist the poor, released a study citing Kansas' experience as a cautionary tale for other states. "As other states recover from the recent recession and turn toward the future, Kansas's huge tax cuts have left that state's schools and other public services stuck in the recession, and declining further," the report said.</p> <p>The Sunflower State is one of 13 that tax Social Security Income; an exemption applies to Social Security income received by taxpayers with annual federal adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less. Kansas does not recognize same-sex marriage, so for income tax purposes that means same-sex couples who file a federal joint return must allocate their income on two separate single returns using a state-provided schedule.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/ithXv63gSsB0.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>&nbsp; The Bluegrass State may cater more to jockeys than car drivers. Kentucky ranks 16th among the states on gas tax, making drivers pay 30.8 cents per gallon. The gas tax has been largely debated this legislative season, with some legislators proposing to raise it to pay for transportation projects. ??</p> <p><em>Note: Spouse, parent, lineal-descendant and sibling transfer is tax-free; aunts, nieces, nephews, and child in-law transfer is taxed at 4 percent to 16 percent with a $1,000 exemption; all other transfers are taxed at 6 percent to 16 percent with a $500 exemption.</em></p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/ijr_VhFf5L6g.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>The home of “Duck Dynasty” has long been a destination for sportsmen and partiers. Visitors should be prepared to be taxed heavily on their fun. Louisiana’s state and local sales tax rate of 8.89 percent is third-highest of the states. That doesn’t mean the state is rolling in dough: Its general sales tax collections per person in 2012 were $614, putting Louisiana in 37th place. Its income tax can be burdensome for same-sex married couples. It requires them to each fill out pro forma single federal returns and then use that information on their single state returns.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/icuXBoiwejcE.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Maine recognizes same-sex marriage, so any married couple there can file a joint state tax return. The state’s cigarette excise tax is $2 per 20-pack, making it the 11th-highest cigarette excise tax in the country. Maine imposes a 5.5 percent state sales tax on medical marijuana, but the 7 percent tax rate on prepared food applies if the herb is baked into brownies.</p> <p><em>*Exemption is $2 million.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/irtwz16lTbME.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Maryland and New Jersey are the only states with both an estate tax and an inheritance tax. This year Maryland is expected to enact significant changes to its estate tax that will increase the exemption amount. The current $1 million exemption would be gradually increased over five years to match the federal government’s exemption amount, which is now $5.34 million, and is indexed for inflation. </p> <p>The General Assembly had a recent brush with Hollywood when "House of Cards" star Kevin Spacey visited Annapolis to persuade lawmakers to increase the Netflix show’s subsidy for its third season. The show is set in the District of Columbia, but much of it is filmed in Maryland. </p> <p><em>Note: Spouse, lineal-descendant, spouse of lineal-descendant, and sibling transfer is tax-free; all other transfers are taxed at 10 percent.;*Exemption is $1 million.</em></p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iTt6XDd66ECI.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Massachusetts’ individual income tax rate decreased at the beginning of December, because state revenues had grown enough to trigger a rate cut from 5.25 percent to 5.2 percent. Last year, the Massachusetts legislature enacted a sales tax on computer software services in 2013, only to repeal it a few months later when it proved unpopular with businesses. </p> <p>The state has one of the highest cigarette taxes -- at $3.51 per 20-pack, it's second only to New York. Gamblers here might notice that they're taking less in winnings home since last year, when the state started withholding income tax from winnings of more than $600, regardless of the original wager amount.</p> <p><em>*Flat rate; **Exemption is $1 million. </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/inRAoYiNFZl0.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>The Great Lakes State has a gas tax of 39.1 cents per gallon, the sixth-highest in the country. Michigan, like many other states, gets more in property tax revenue, in percentage terms, than from any other state and local tax. Property tax makes up 37.6 percent of state and local tax collections, followed by general sales tax (26.3 percent), individual income tax (18.8 percent) and corporate income tax (2 percent). </p> <p><em>*Flat rate</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iFFnLIAw9esk.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Tax cuts are coming in after this legislative session. Last year Minnesota became the only state besides Connecticut to impose a gift tax, but this year legislators repealed it. Those who already had paid the tax should look for a check -- the state will refund any payments. Lawmakers also increased estate tax exemption amounts and repealed several “business-to-business” sales taxes -- warehousing or storage services for tangible personal property, repairing and maintaining electronic precision equipment and repairing and maintaining commercial and industrial machinery and equipment.</p> <p>*Exemption is $1.2 million.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iNNAsZZteWqA.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Missouri has the country’s lowest cigarette taxes, at 17 cents per pack. There had been talk of raising that tax, but voters narrowly defeated a tobacco tax initiative in 2012. Low taxes on beer, too: Missouri ranks 49th with a beer excise tax of 6 cents per gallon. </p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iRcmEXUVtF5U.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Montana is among the 13 states that tax Social Security income. However, it's also one of five states that don't impose a state-level sales tax. It gets 39 percent of its state and local revenue from property tax.</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/i8pHK1rCydNE.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Nebraska enacted several tax cuts in early April, which include indexing tax brackets for inflation, exempting more Social Security income from taxes, a sales tax exemption for farm machinery, an increase to the state's property tax credit program and the expansion of a property tax homestead exemption.</p> <p> Note: Transfer to a spouse or charitable organization is tax-free; transfer to descendants and siblings is taxed at 1 percent with a $40,000 exemption; transfers to aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews are taxed at 13 percent with a $15,000 exemption. All other transfers are taxed at 18 percent with a $10,000 exemption.</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/in3FHUHhC6m4.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Nevada’s lack of an income tax makes sales and property taxes crucial revenue generators. And since January, Nevada residents have been paying sales tax on their Amazon.com purchases. </p> <p>For visitors who make it to Las Vegas for a little fun, Nevada imposes an additional tax of 5 percent to 10 percent on admission, food, refreshments and merchandise. Visitors can gamble from their hotel rooms now, since Nevada was the first state to legalize online gambling last year.</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/i_jJP88ZA7YA.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>The “Live Free or Die” state doesn’t tax most types of income, other than a 5 percent tax on interest and dividend income. New Hampshire relies heavily on property taxes, getting more than 60 percent of its state and local tax collections from them, according to Tax Foundation data. </p> <p>New Hampshire may have a tough time following the lead of other states to capitalize on sales of recreational marijuana. In late March the state’s House of Representatives killed a bill that would have legalized small amounts of recreational marijuana for those 21 and up.</p> <p><em>*On interest and dividend income, not wages</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iXdFGBE8TFm4.jpg" alt="&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Same-sex married couples in New Jersey can use a joint tax return for both federal and state income tax filings. And gamblers can choose whether they place their bets by computer or in person, since New Jersey recently started allowing online gambling. In February, online gambling brought $10.3 million in revenue to the state.</p> <p><em>*Exemption is $675,000.</em></p> <p><em>Note: Transfer to a spouse, domestic partner, lineal descendant or charitable organization is tax-free; transfer to children-in-law is taxed at 11 percent to 16 percent with a $25,000 exemption; all other transfers are taxed at 15 percent to 16 percent with a $500 exemption.</em></p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iLAaZlaasNZs.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>The fictional home of “Breaking Bad” may not be the ideal place for service providers. New Mexico is one of a handful of states in which services are presumed to be subject to sales tax. It depends more on general sales tax than on other levies for its state and local tax revenue, and collects some of the lowest property taxes in the country, ranking 47th. It doesn't have an inheritance tax, and its gas tax is relatively low at 18.88 cents per gallon. Same-sex couples can file a joint state income tax return, because New Mexico recognizes same-sex marriage.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iDIYC1kwrSMI.jpg" alt="&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>New York collects more individual income tax per person than any other state: $2,289 as of 2011. And its gas tax of 49.6 cents per gallon is the second-highest in the U.S. But under its recently enacted budget, some New York residents may pay less in property taxes.</p> <p>A plan was announced earlier this year to allow 20 hospitals to distribute medical marijuana via executive order, but it’s unclear whether the trial program will lead to a larger plan to tax and regulate the herb.</p> <p><em>Note: For people who die on or after April 1, 2014, and before April 1, 2015, the exclusion amount is $2,062,500 and the rate range is 3.06 percent to 16 percent. New York is increasing the estate tax exclusion amount over three years. By April 1, 2017, it will be $5,250,000.</em></p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/ib1pC.6rZo4E.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>North Carolina residents have had to wave goodbye to their tax-free online shopping days. In February, Amazon started collecting sales tax on purchases delivered here, ending a long disagreement with the state. And last year’s first-time-in-a-century Republican control of the state’s executive and legislative branches helped usher in a new era of a flat income tax rate of 5.8 percent, replacing the state’s graduated rate structure. </p> <p>Like some other states, North Carolina has grappled with how to make up lost gas tax revenue due in part to more fuel-efficient vehicles on the road. Electric car owners now pay a new $100 registration fee.</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/idv9B3LBHOc8.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>These are boom times for North Dakota. According to the most recent annual U.S. Census information, the state's severance taxes -- a tax on natural resources taken out of the ground -- accounted for 56.7 percent of its total tax collections in 2012. At the same time, its top income rate of 3.22 percent applies only after the taxpayer’s income reaches $405,100. Retirees are taxed on Social Security income.</p> <p>There are downsides for some taxpayers in the Roughrider State. It doesn't recognize same-sex marriage, so the couples must allocate income to two single returns using a schedule provided by the state.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/idt1oxxp4rto.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Ohio Governor John Kasich has again proposed cutting the income tax, but this time he wants to make up the revenue with a new tax on oil drillers, a hike in the Commercial Activity Tax and a tax increase on cigarettes, tobacco products and electronic cigarettes. The state doesn't recognize same-sex marriages, so couples must allocate their income between two single state returns and use an additional state-provided schedule to determine their state income tax liability.</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/ipb4t5bA7BNc.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Oklahoma has a pretty low income tax rate but is one of seven states that tax groceries at the full sales tax rate. Its combined state and local sales tax rate of 8.72 percent ranks fifth-highest among the states. Drivers of gas-guzzlers get a break here -- the state’s 17-cents-per-gallon gas tax ranks 47th in the nation.</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iGL3tBrU8VHM.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Oregonians have no sales tax but pay one of the highest state income tax rates in the country, at 9.9 percent for top filers. That's right behind California and Hawaii. When same-sex married couples in Oregon file their taxes this year, they'll be able to use their federal adjusted gross income on their joint return.</p> <p><em>*Exemption is $1 million</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iHAxWZOuXbbA.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Pennsylvania's 3.07 percent flat income tax rate is the lowest top rate of states that impose individual income tax, according to the Tax Foundation, and its property tax collections per capita of $1,305 are 25th lowest nationally. Taxpayers here work until April 17 to earn enough to pay the year's total tax bill.</p> <p>Pennsylvania has one of the highest corporate income tax rates of the states, at 9.9 percent. Only two jurisdictions -- Iowa (12 percent) and the District of Columbia (9.975 percent) -- have higher rates. Not all of the state’s taxes are high; a recent report found that Pennsylvania has among the lowest taxes on gas drilling in the country.</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/ivkqqRVSoEDw.jpg" alt="&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Rhode Island’s largest source of state and local tax collections is property tax, which makes up 44.7 percent of the collections. Rhode Island allows medical marijuana, but whether it will legalize and then tax adult recreational marijuana is unclear. Governor Lincoln Chaffee indicated in a Bloomberg News interview that he may consider “whether to ‘regulate it and tax it in these tough times.’ ” </p> <p><em>*Exemption is $921,655. </em></p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/i42muOpIpKOw.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>For those taking driving vacations this summer, South Carolina would be a good choice for gas tax savings -- its tax of 16.75 cents per gallon is the 48th-lowest in the nation. And if you're a South Carolina taxpayer, the state may owe you money. The IRS recently estimated that South Carolina owes taxpayers $10 million from unclaimed 2010 refunds. Better hurry -- the return filing deadline is April 15. </p> <p>Since South Carolina doesn't recognize same-sex marriage, couples must make pro forma federal single returns and use that information on their state single returns.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/i.GHd9MsyauM.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>South Dakota's tax-friendly trust laws are among the reasons it is becoming a legal tax shelter for nonresidents, as wealthy families from outside the state finding ways to stash their assets here.</p> <p>With no income tax, investors in South Dakota are happy to hold on to their capital gains. But shoppers have to shell out a little more in tax than in many other states, because it's one of seven states that don't offer a sales tax break on groceries. </p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iq8asahlZS.w.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Tourists have long been entertained by the state's thriving music scene. High sales taxes will likely leave them singing the blues. Tennessee has the highest combined state and local sales tax rate, at 9.45 percent, according to the Tax Foundation. It doesn't tax income apart from a 6 percent levy on interest and dividends, and capital gains are exempt. Tennessee has an inheritance tax now (see the note below), but it will be phased out in 2016. </p> <p><em>*On interest and dividend income; none on wages</em><br /><em>**Plus a 2.75 % tax on certain sales worth $1,600.01 and up to $3,200</em><br /><em>***Tennessee calls this an "inheritance tax," but it functions as an estate tax. The exemption is $2 million.</em></p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iGbXD5qBUPfA.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Texans don't pay state income tax, but some of their income tax savings gets spent on state and local sales tax, ranked 11th in the nation, at 8.15 percent. Property taxes are higher here than in a lot of other states, too, with $1,557 in per-person collections coming in at 15th in the nation. Will that always be the case? One candidate for the state’s comptroller of public accounts recently spoke about getting rid of property taxes. The state is in the middle of a drilling boom that contributed to its 2012-2013 budget surplus.</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iRzxYb0VKA_k.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>The state makes solid revenue on so-called sin taxes, including those on alcohol. Utah imposes the eighth-highest state spirits excise tax, at $12.19 per gallon, and the 13th-highest state beer excise tax, at 41 cents per gallon. It also imposes a 10 percent tax on all businesses that feature nude performance. Utah is among the growing number of states that permit same-sex couples to file joint returns for state income tax purposes.</p> <p><em>*Flat rate </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/ipWocaWMZDLg.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Vermont is one of 13 states that tax Social Security income and has the highest state and local excise collections per person in the country.</p> <p>A controversy surrounding the tax treatment of electronic cigarettes is raging in the Green Mountain State. A budget bill that recently preliminarily passed the state House of Representatives includes a 92 percent tax on the wholesale cost of electronic cigarettes.</p> <p><em>*Exemption is $2.75 million</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/io8RWx5TND_0.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Virginia recently enacted special fees on environmentally friendly vehicles, but has kept tax rates low on tobacco. In this tobacco-rich state, the cigarette excise tax rate of 30 cents per pack ranks 49th lowest out of 50.</p> <p>Last year the Virginia General Assembly passed a sweeping deal to overhaul how the state pays for transportation. This year, the legislature repealed a small part of that act -- a $64 annual fee on electric car owners, meant to ensure that all car owners contribute equally to repairing the state’s roads. </p> <p><em>*4.3% state, 1% local; the Tax Foundation includes a “mandatory, statewide, local add-on sales tax” in the state rate.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/igy4HcAJwrws.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>Washington will start selling recreational marijuana for adults this year, and users should be ready to pay up. The state plans to impose a 25 percent excise tax at each stage of growing, processing and selling cannabis products. The Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast predicted that cannabis-related sales will generate $51 million in taxes and fees for the 2015-2017 budget period. Smoking cigarettes is expensive here, too. Washington imposes the sixth-highest cigarette excise tax in the country, at $3.025 per 20-pack. </p> <p><em>*Exemption is $2.01 million</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/i4Vok7n2YwOA.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>The District of Columbia’s sales tax is the lowest in its local region for the first time in 45 years, according to the Tax Foundation. The D.C. Council (the District’s local governing body) voted last year to cut the previous 6 percent sales tax rate by a quarter of a percentage point to roll back a 2009 increase that was used to cover a budget shortfall. The rate reduction and the fact that there are no other local sales tax rates give Washington, D.C., one of the lowest combined sales tax rates in the country. </p> <p>Residents may feel the pinch more in property ownership than in retail shopping. Property tax collections are some of the highest in the country, at $2,871 per person.</p> <p><em>*Exemption is $1 million. </em></p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/iTuQLd1xzPPc.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>West Virginia taxes Social Security income, but shoppers are no longer paying sales tax on groceries after the state eliminated that tax last year. Those who didn't file a tax return for 2010 but think they might have a refund coming their way have a short time to get caught up. The IRS recently announced it has $3 million in unclaimed federal tax refunds for West Virginians. The filing deadline to get those refunds is April 15.</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/i_1FdBmAE3QM.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>The Wisconsin Assembly and Governor Scott Walker recently put through a budget bill that cuts income and property taxes by more than $500 million annually. The lowest individual income tax bracket will be lowered from 4.4 percent to 4 percent. Recent data show that Wisconsin’s property tax per person ranks 12th in the country, at $1,724, according to the Tax Foundation</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.bloomberg.com/image/i2PW5tJV_Fgk.jpg" alt="&nbsp;&nbsp;" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: #ffffff; width: auto; max-width: 620px; max-height: 100%; color: #333333; font-family: AG_regular, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 13px; orphans: auto; text-align: center; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; display: inline; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;" id="main_slideshow_image" /></p> <p>With no tax on income, capital gains or net corporate income, Wyoming makes up the difference in property taxes. The state has the sixth-highest property tax per person in the country, according to the Tax Foundation. </p> <p></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-18/these-are-americas-most-and-least-taxing-states-and-everything-inbetween#comments Bloomberg News Federal Tax Florida Gambling Illinois Indiana Las Vegas Mexico Michigan None Ohio Oklahoma Personal Income Recession Same-Sex Marriage South Carolina Tax Revenue Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:41:36 +0000 Tyler Durden 487467 at http://www.zerohedge.com Consumer Confidence Collapses In Japan http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-18/consumer-confidence-collapses-japan <p><em>Submitted by Pater Tenebrarum of <a href="http://www.acting-man.com/?p=29925">Acting-Man blog</a>,</em></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">As a little addendum to our recent <a href="http://www.acting-man.com/?p=29880">ritual lambasting of Abenomics</a>, here are the&nbsp; <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-17/japan-consumer-confidence-drops-to-lowest-level-since-august-11.html">latest news on Japan&#39;s consumer confidence</a> &ndash; the reading, mind, is from March &ndash; before the introduction of the higher sales tax:</span></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;"><strong><em>&ldquo;Japan&rsquo;s&nbsp;consumer confidence&nbsp;fell in March to the lowest level since August 2011, a reading that may tumble further this month after a sales-tax increase on April 1 sapped the public&rsquo;s spending power.</em></strong></span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/04/20140417_japam.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/04/20140417_japam_0.png" style="width: 600px; height: 303px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">The reading of 37.5, down from 38.5 in February, was released by the Cabinet Office in&nbsp;Tokyo&nbsp;today. About 90 percent of respondents to the survey expect prices to rise over the next 12 months, the highest in comparable data back to 2004.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">Prime Minister Shinzo Abe risks the public souring on his campaign to sustain growth in the world&rsquo;s third-biggest economy as prices start to rise while wages stay stagnant. Weaker sentiment could make it harder to drive a rebound from a contraction forecast this quarter, and raise the odds that the&nbsp;Bank of Japan&nbsp;adds to its already unprecedented easing.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;"><strong><em>&ldquo;Consumer sentiment has been undermined to a large extent by rising prices,&rdquo; Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economists Naohiko Baba and Yuriko Tanaka wrote in an e-mailed note before the release. &ldquo;We expect a major retreat in sentiment from April as the tax hike drives inflation.&rdquo;</em></strong></span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">The confidence reading was 39.9 when Abe took office in December 2012, and rose to 45.7 in May last year &mdash; the highest point during his current term as prime minister. The&nbsp;Topix&nbsp;index of stocks is down more than 10 percent this year after soaring 51 percent in 2013.</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;"><strong><em>Confidence dropped in all five components in the survey, with willingness to buy durable goods dropping the most, down by 2 to 30.8.&rdquo;</em></strong></span></span></p> </blockquote> <p><em><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">(emphasis added)</span></span></em></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">In light of yet more damning evidence of failure coming to light, we are moved to make a prediction about the near term future of Abenomics.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">It isn&#39;t going to be abandoned just because it is failing. Instead, we are hereby confidently predicting a &#39;flight forward&#39;. Instead of relieving the increasingly sapped and demoralized Japanese consumer from the scourge of rising prices, the pump priming effort<em> will be increased even further</em>. Fresh inflationary measures may well be announced at the next BoJ meeting already.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva,sans-serif;">Anyone want to bet?</span></span></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-18/consumer-confidence-collapses-japan#comments Bank of Japan Consumer Confidence Consumer Sentiment Goldman Sachs goldman sachs Japan Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:46:11 +0000 Tyler Durden 487463 at http://www.zerohedge.com Guest Post: Why The West's Financial Warfare Against Russia May Lead To The Real Thing http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-18/guest-post-why-wests-financial-warfare-against-russia-may-lead-real-thing <p><em>Authored by Harold James, originally posted at <a href="http://www.europeanvoice.com/article/imported/the-west-s-financial-arsenal/80563.aspx">European Voice</a>,</em></p> <p>The revolution in Ukraine and Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea have generated a serious security crisis in Europe. But, <strong>with Western leaders testing a new kind of financial warfare, the situation could become even more dangerous.</strong></p> <p><strong>A democratic, stable, and prosperous Ukraine would be a constant irritant – and rebuke – to President Vladimir Putin's autocratic and economically sclerotic Russian Federation. </strong>In order to prevent such an outcome, Putin is trying to destabilise Ukraine, by seizing Crimea and fomenting ethnic conflict in the eastern part of the country.</p> <p>At the same time, Putin is attempting to boost Russia's appeal by doubling Crimeans' pensions, boosting the salaries of the region's 200,000 civil servants, and constructing large, Sochi-style infrastructure, including a $3 billion (€2.2bn) bridge across the Kerch Strait. <strong>This strategy's long-term sustainability is dubious, owing to the strain that it will put on Russia's public finances</strong>. But it will nonetheless serve Putin's goal of projecting Russia's influence.</p> <p>For their part, the European Union and the United States have no desire for military intervention to defend Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. But verbal protests alone would make the West look ridiculous and ineffective to the rest of the international community, ultimately giving rise to further – and increasingly far-ranging – security challenges. <strong>This leaves Western powers with one option: to launch a financial war against Russia.</strong></p> <p>As the former US Treasury official Juan Zarate revealed in his recent memoir “Treasury's war”, the US spent the decade after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks developing a new set of financial weapons to use against the United States' enemies – first Al Qaeda, then North Korea and Iran, and now Russia. These weapons included asset freezes and blocking rogue banks' access to international finance.</p> <p><strong>When the Ukrainian revolution began, the Russian banking system was already over-extended and vulnerable.</strong> But the situation became much worse with the toppling of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the annexation of Crimea, which triggered a stock-market panic that weakened the Russian economy considerably and depleted the assets of Russia's powerful oligarchs.</p> <p><strong>In a crony capitalist system, threatening the governing elite's wealth rapidly erodes loyalty to the regime. </strong>For the corrupt elite, there is a tipping point beyond which the opposition provides better protection for their wealth and power – a point that was reached in Ukraine as the Maidan protests gathered momentum.</p> <p><strong>Putin's public speeches reveal his conviction that the EU and the US cannot possibly be serious about their financial war, which, in his view, would ultimately hurt their highly complex and interconnected financial markets more than Russia's relatively isolated financial system. </strong>After all, the link between financial integration and vulnerability was the main lesson of the crisis that followed the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008.</p> <p>In fact, Lehman was a small institution compared to the Austrian, French, and German banks that have become highly exposed to Russia's financial system through the practice of using deposits from Russian companies and individuals to lend to Russian borrowers. Given this, a Russian asset freeze could be catastrophic for European – indeed, global – financial markets.</p> <p><strong>Putin's plan for destabilising Ukraine is thus two-pronged:</strong> capitalise on linguistic or national animosities in Ukraine to foster social fragmentation, while taking advantage of Western – especially European – financial vulnerabilities. Indeed, Putin sometimes likes to frame it as a contest pitting him against the power of financial markets.</p> <p><strong>The arms race that preceded the First World War was accompanied by exactly the same mixture of military reluctance and eagerness to experiment with the power of markets. </strong>In 1911, the leading textbook on the German financial system, by the veteran banker Jacob Riesser, warned: “The enemy, however, may endeavour to aggravate a panic...by the sudden collection of outstanding claims, by an unlimited sale of our home securities, and by other attempts to deprive Germany of gold. Attempts may also be made to dislocate our capital, bill, and securities markets, and to menace the basis of our system of credit and payments”.</p> <p>Politicians began to grasp the potential consequences of financial vulnerability only in 1907, when they faced a financial panic that originated in the US but that had serious consequences for continental Europe (and, in some ways, prefigured the Great Depression). <strong>That experience taught every country to make its own financial system more resilient to ward off potential attacks, and that attacks could be a devastating response to diplomatic pressure.</strong></p> <p>That is exactly what happened in 1911, when a dispute over control of Morocco spurred France to organise the withdrawal of 200 million Deutsche Marks invested in Germany. But Germany was prepared and managed to ward off the attack. Indeed, German bankers proudly noted that the crisis of confidence hit the Paris market much harder than markets in Berlin or Hamburg.</p> <p><strong>Countries' efforts to protect their financial systems often centred on increased banking supervision and, in many cases, enlarging the central bank's authority to include the provision of emergency liquidity to domestic institutions. </strong>Subsequent debates about financial reform in the US reflected this imperative, with some of the US Federal Reserve's founders pointing out the military and financial applications of the term “reserve”.</p> <p>At that time, financial-reform efforts were driven by the notion that building up financial buffers would make the world safe. But this belief fuelled excessive confidence among those responsible for the reforms, preventing them from anticipating that military measures would soon be needed to protect the economy. <strong>Instead of being an alternative to war, the financial arms race made war more likely – as it may well be doing with Russia today.</strong></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-18/guest-post-why-wests-financial-warfare-against-russia-may-lead-real-thing#comments European Union France Germany Great Depression Guest Post Iran Lehman Lehman Brothers North Korea Ukraine Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:45:24 +0000 Tyler Durden 487466 at http://www.zerohedge.com China Wanted Capitalism But it Also Got Strikes http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2014-04-18/china-wanted-capitalism-it-also-got-strikes <p><a href="http://www.financialjuice.com/zerohedge" style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px;">Follow ZeroHedge in Real-Time on FinancialJuice</a></p> <p><img src="https://discuss.financialjuice.com/uploads/default/1782/b2528b1a915db120.jpg" /></p> <p style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">Peering in from the outside or through the looking glass at what’s going down on the other side is always a distortion of reality. We sit here in the west looking at the development, the changes and the progress of China and then the stark reality kicks in. Yes,&nbsp;<strong>China</strong>&nbsp;got capitalist. It got controlled neo-liberalist (if that can ever exist). They have tried anyhow to make it as much. But, along with that opening up came the strike force of the labor market. Unhappy workers, the masses tired of drudging day-in and day-out to the factories and donning their uniforms to go down the coal mines to fuel the burners blazing away under Beijing. In March alone, according to China Labor Bulletin (based in Hong Kong) there were no fewer than 119 strikes that took place in the country.</p> <p style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">119 strikes might not seem like a lot given the scope and the demography of the country; but, when was the last time you heard of over a hundred strikes in the country you are sitting in? Even the French couldn’t top that one; and they are renowned for downing tools and taking to the streets. There are tons of strikes that they like to do: sit-ins, by rota, partial, sympathy, wild-cat strikes, go-slow or work-to-rule. Call it what you will. The Chinese are now doing it and following suit.</p> <p style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">Although there are no official government statistics, the labor-rights group in Hong Kong is just about the only thing we might be able to rely on. There’s no wonder that the strikes are taking place. The workforce has shrunk by 920 million (National Bureau of Statistics) since 2012. The one-child policy has meant that the active population has taken a beating and been weaned off the multitude of workers that the factories had to make do with less. Less is more? Hardly, they are paying the price of all of that today. Parents are also not prepared to allow their only child to work their hind legs off in some factory and they have looked for better alternatives to factory drudge.</p> <p style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">• Factories had to respond to that hole and to attract the workers back to the factories.&nbsp;<br />• Factory workers have had an increase that we haven’t ever seen in the West.&nbsp;<br />• It took us hundreds of years to get what they got.&nbsp;<br />• Since&nbsp;<strong>2005</strong>, the official minimum wage in China has increased to 1, 3000 Yuan, or $<strong>210</strong>.&nbsp;<br />• Wages have increased by&nbsp;<strong>80</strong>% since the financial crisis hit. They have tripled since&nbsp;<strong>2005</strong>.&nbsp;<br />• The factories had to also provide perks. Yes, the Chinese workers wanted better.&nbsp;<br />• They didn’t want ‘less is more’, they wanted just MOAR.&nbsp;<br />• They got libraries and day-nurseries, they got sports facilities.&nbsp;<br />• They got a&nbsp;<strong>2008</strong>&nbsp;law that protected their severance pay.&nbsp;<br />• They got the&nbsp;<strong>2011</strong>-social insurance law that strengthened the necessity for their employers to contribute on their behalf.&nbsp;<br />• They are nearly there to getting collective bargaining rules.&nbsp;<br />• Soon, China will be the workers’ paradise.&nbsp;<br />• The idea is that wildcat strikes will be a thing of the past in China if the workers get collective bargaining.</p> <p style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">Strikers are not protected by the law and there is no right to strike. When, it turns out of the factory gates and ends up on the streets, those striking workers can be arrested (in theory) and thrown in prison. But, they won’t be, the workers have too much power since they are so few and far between today to do anything to them. Even China has succumbed to the age-old laws of supply and demand that regulate the market.</p> <p style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">A shoe factory in&nbsp;<strong>Dongguan</strong>&nbsp;has been on strike for the past ten days now.&nbsp;<strong>Wal-Mart</strong>&nbsp;is dealing with a strike at one of its stores (closed since last month) and is still sitting round the negotiating table talking things out.</p> <p style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">The workers will change the face of the market in China. China Labor Bulletin believes that the majority of the cases involving strikes could have been resolved beforehand if the management had communicated better. It looks like managers in China are going to have to listen, talk and answer to workers in the future in China. The supply of workforce is not suddenly going to increase and can only shift the power to the workers’ side in the coming months and years even more.</p> <p style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">Any country that goes through its industrial revolution ends up with striking workers on their hands that are tired of not being paid more, of not being better looked after and that aren’t prepared to bow their heads in silence. And look! It still hasn’t finished. Here’s just one example:</p> <p style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">• In the&nbsp;<strong>UK</strong>&nbsp;in&nbsp;<strong>2013</strong>,&nbsp;<strong>250, 000</strong>&nbsp;working days were lost due to industrial action.<br />• The highest reached&nbsp;<strong>1.4 million</strong>&nbsp;lost working days in&nbsp;<strong>2011</strong>.&nbsp;<br />• The majority were in the public sector and defense industrial group (<strong>60</strong>% of the days lost).</p> <p><strong style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 17.333332061767578px;">Originally posted:&nbsp;</strong><span style="color: #1e439a; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px;"><strong><a href="http://discuss.financialjuice.com/t/china-wanted-capitalism-but-it-also-got-strikes/484">China Wanted Capitalism But it Also Got Strikes</a></strong></span></span></p> <p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 17.333332061767578px;"><span style="color: #1e439a; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px;"><strong><a href="http://www.tothetick.com/">Day Trading Data Sheets&nbsp;Futures and Forex</a></strong></span></span></p> <p style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande', Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 17.333332061767578px;"><a href="http://www.financialjuice.com/zerohedge" style="text-decoration: underline; color: #000000; line-height: 17.328125px;"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user22400/imageroot/2013/08/ZH.png" width="300" height="150" style="max-width: 100%; height: auto;" /></a></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2014-04-18/china-wanted-capitalism-it-also-got-strikes#comments China Hong Kong Reality United Kingdom Yuan Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:44:44 +0000 Pivotfarm 487465 at http://www.zerohedge.com "Holy Grail" HFT Firm Virtu Questioned By NY AG http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-18/holy-grail-hft-firm-virtu-questioned-ny-ag <p>Having the <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-10/holy-grail-trading-has-been-found-hft-firm-reveals-1-losing-trading-day-1238-days-tr">trade record of Bernie Madoff and the braggadocio of a WWF wrestler</a> was just too much for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to ignore. <strong>Rigged Market HFT Poster-child, and recent-delayed IPO, Virtu Financial has received a letter of inquiry from the AG&#39;s office</strong> requesting information about its business. <a href="http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-17/high-speed-trader-virtu-said-questioned-in-n-y-inquiry.html">As Bloomberg reports</a>, a person with knowledge of the matter said this week that six high-frequency trading firms have received subpoenas as part of Schneiderman&rsquo;s investigation and <strong>Virtu was asked for similar information in a letter of inquiry which could be escalated to a subpoena if the company doesn&rsquo;t comply voluntarily</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-17/high-speed-trader-virtu-said-questioned-in-n-y-inquiry.html"><em>As Bloomberg reports,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Virtu Financial Inc., the high-frequency trader trying to sell shares in an initial public offering, has grabbed the attention of New York&rsquo;s attorney general as he investigates the industry.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The New York-based trading firm has received a letter of inquiry from Eric Schneiderman&rsquo;s office requesting information about its business</strong>, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked to not be identified because the process hasn&rsquo;t been made public.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The request comes as Virtu attempts to go public, a process delayed after the March 31 publication of Michael Lewis&rsquo;s latest book sparked unprecedented scrutiny of high-frequency traders. Schneiderman announced last month that he&rsquo;s investigating services and technologies used by high-frequency traders, including faster data feeds that may give certain firms a split-second edge over others. <strong>The Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun its own industry examination.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A person with knowledge of the matter said this week that six high-frequency trading firms have received subpoenas </strong>as part of Schneiderman&rsquo;s investigation, including Jump Trading LLC, Chopper Trading LLC and Tower Research Capital LLC. <u><strong>Virtu was asked for similar information in a letter of inquiry, according to the person with knowledge of the matter. This could be escalated to a subpoena if the company doesn&rsquo;t comply voluntarily.</strong></u></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Following a decision two weeks ago to postpone the IPO, Virtu has now delayed the deal indefinitely because of market conditions</strong>, a person familiar with the matter said yesterday. The IPO filing hasn&rsquo;t been withdrawn, the person said. Shares of Virtu&rsquo;s rival KCG Holdings have tumbled 13 percent since the Lewis book, &ldquo;Flash Boys,&rdquo; was published.</p> </blockquote> <p><u><strong>What gave it away?</strong></u></p> <p>From the S-1: &quot;The chart below illustrates our daily Adjusted Net Trading Income from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2013. As a result of our real-time risk management strategy and technology, we had only one losing trading day during the period depicted, a total of 1,238 trading days. &quot;</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2014/03/VRTU%20Trading%20Days%20.jpg" style="outline: 0px none; text-decoration: none;"><img height="405" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2014/03/VRTU%20Trading%20Days%20_0.jpg" width="600" /></a></p> <p>Let that sink in: one trading loss day and 1237 days of profits. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the Holy Grail of the New Normal broken, manipulated markets.</p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-18/holy-grail-hft-firm-virtu-questioned-ny-ag#comments HFT Market Conditions Michael Lewis New Normal Risk Management Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:08:15 +0000 Tyler Durden 487464 at http://www.zerohedge.com Ukraine Tanks Stopped By Unarmed Woman http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-18/ukraine-tanks-stopped-unarmed-woman <p>There days ago it was the male "separatists" <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-15/watch-donetsk-locals-stop-ukraine-tank">that stopped Ukraine tanks</a> armed with just their bodies. Yesterday, in the seceding Ukraine town of Kramatorsk, it is a woman's turn.</p> <p><object width="601" height="338" data="//www.youtube.com/v/8K3Qa750ZEI?version=3&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"><param name="data" value="//www.youtube.com/v/8K3Qa750ZEI?version=3&amp;hl=en_US" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="//www.youtube.com/v/8K3Qa750ZEI?version=3&amp;hl=en_US" /><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /></object></p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-18/ukraine-tanks-stopped-unarmed-woman#comments Ukraine Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:43:38 +0000 Tyler Durden 487462 at http://www.zerohedge.com Obama Administration Encouraged Insider Trading http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-18/obama-administration-encouraged-insider-trading <p>Back in 2011, many people were outraged when it was revealed that two months before the US Treasury pushed the insolvent GSEs into bankruptcy, then Treasury Secretary, Goldman alum Hank Paulson <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/hank-paulson-tipped-goldman-led-plunge-protection-team-about-fannie-bankruptcy-7-weeks-advance">held a secret meeting with various hedge funds </a>(most of them headed by Goldman alumni themselves) in which he gave them advance warning about the imminent bankruptcy, and allowing them to trade appropriately on material, and certainly non-public information. </p> <p>Since then the general population has gotten far more used to encouraged criminal activity and facilitated insider trading by the government so comparable revelations no longer generate the expected loathing and disgusts, which is perhaps why over the past week the Obama administration once again leaked material information, in effect allowing and encouraging frontrunning of public data, when it told "asset managers last week that it was planning additional sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine."</p> <p><a href="http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-18/u-s-said-to-have-warned-money-managers-of-more-russia-sanctions.html">Bloomberg reports </a>that the meeting, convened a week before talks with Russia in Geneva that ended yesterday, left managers grappling with the question of whether the government intended to follow through, or was trying to trigger asset sales through the threat of sanctions, said the person. Former administration officials have said forcing Russia out of global financial markets is the strongest tool President Barack Obama has at his disposal in trying to defuse the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Officials from the Treasury Department and the National Security Council met in Washington with mutual-fund and hedge-fund managers, according to a person who attended. Their comments sent a message that more sanctions are on the way and that investors, if they were concerned about the impact, should manage that risk, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions weren’t public.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The meeting in Washington last week included several mutual-fund companies with large bond units, according to the person. Separately, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been asking U.S. asset managers about their investments in Russian securities, said the person.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The National Security Council is the president’s main forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters.</p> </blockquote> <p>At least while Obama was happy leaking clearly material information to a select few, he didn't force them to sell Russian assets. At least not yet:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>An administration official, who asked for anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said there have been no specific requests made to investors not to invest in Russia. The official said the Department of Commerce and the Treasury do have conversations with the business community to explain what they’re doing, such as briefing executives after a sanctions announcement. The official said the government maintains open lines of communication so businesses understand what policy makers are doinga.</p> </blockquote> <p>No, the perfectly public trading "reco" was left to Obama spokesman Jay Carney. We all <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-11/putting-costs-us-sanctions-russia-context">know what happened after</a>.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/04/20140411_costs.png"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/04/20140411_costs_0.png" width="600" height="319" /></a></em></p> <p>As for those who participated, their actions indicate quite clearly that when it comes to securities laws, there are "laws", or rather loopholes, for the chosen ones, and then there are <em><strong>laws </strong></em>for everyone else.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>One bond manager at a large U.S. mutual-fund company, who also asked not to be named citing company policy, said the firm has been working to sell Russian debt and wasn’t inclined to return to the market in the near future. The person, who hadn’t heard of any government attempts to influence money managers, said the company perceives risk in Russia as having increased significantly.</p> </blockquote> <p>So just in case those lovely anchors with ultra white tooth veneers of financial comedy TV are still confused why the general public has completely given up on the stock, and every other "market", it is not only the HFT parasites, it is not only the Fed's gross manipulation of every asset class known to man and economist. It is the fact that insider trading is not only condoned but encouraged from the very top, and what's worse - it benefits <em><strong>only those </strong></em>who no longer have to worry about money ever again. </p> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-18/obama-administration-encouraged-insider-trading#comments Barack Obama Bond Department Of Commerce Hank Paulson Hank Paulson HFT Insider Trading national security Obama Administration Securities and Exchange Commission Treasury Department Ukraine Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:58:30 +0000 Tyler Durden 487461 at http://www.zerohedge.com Ukraine "De-escalation" Voided As Pro-Russia Militia Refuse To Vacate Occupied Buildings http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-18/ukraine-de-escalation-voided-pro-russia-milita-refuse-vacate-occupied-buildings <p>If yesterday <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-17/so-much-deescalation-kiev-says-military-operation-east-ukraine-continue">we had questions </a>about the half life of the effectiveness of the latest diplomatic de-escalation of Ukraine tensions 'achieved' in Geneva, following news that both Ukraine would continue its anti-terrorist operation and that fighting had broken out in various east Ukraine locations after the agreement, today any questions have been swept aside following news that the Ukraine "separatist" milita, who after all is the primary object of Ukraine "anti-terrorist activities", has announced that they will only leave the occupied east Ukraine buildings if the interim government in Kiev resigns. Denis Pushilin, a spokesman of the self-appointed Donetsk People's Republic, <strong>told reporters that the insurgents do not recognize the Ukrainian government as legitimate</strong>.</p> <p>Indeed, in an amusing twist, the militia has flipped the Geneva agreement on its head, alleging that if they are to abide by a signed document, so should the "illegitimate" government, which as a reminder took power following a US-assisted coup, even though an <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-02-21/ukraine-crisis-settlement-agreement-reached-full-statement">explicit agreement was signed on February 21 </a>between Ukraine and western powers previously retaining Yanukovich as president of the country, and ushering in presidential elections later in 2014. Needless to say, that agreement was made null and void within hours of signing. It is only logical, and perfectly expected, that so should this one.</p> <p>"<strong>This is a reasonable agreement but everyone should vacate the buildings and that includes Yatsenyuk and Turchynov</strong>," he said referring to the acting Ukrainian prime minister and president.</p> <p>More <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/deal-brings-no-immediate-change-eastern-ukraine">from AP</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Ukraine and Russia on Thursday agreed to take tentative steps toward calming tensions along their shared border after more than a month of bloodshed. But Pushilin, speaking at the insurgent-occupied regional administration's building in Donetsk, said the deal specifies that all illegally seized buildings should be vacated and in his opinion the government in Kiev is also occupying public buildings illegally.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The deal calls for disarming all paramilitary groups and the immediate return of all government buildings seized by pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine as well as pro-West right-wing protesters in Kiev. But none of the government buildings seized across eastern Ukraine has yet been vacated, according to local media.</p> </blockquote> <p>Needless to say, neither the Ukrainian government nor as the Right Sector movement, whose activists are occupying Kiev's city hall and a cultural center in the capital, have commented on the call for buildings in Kiev to be vacated. One can assume they will hardly comply.</p> <p>So what is the militia's demand? </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Pushilin on Friday reiterated the insurgents' call for a referendum that he said will allow "self-determination of the people."</p> </blockquote> <p>Or precisely what Russia wanted all along: a Crimea-style endgame, where the people are '<em>given the right'</em> to determine their own future, as long as that future means becoming part of Russia in the coming weeks or months.</p> <p>Finally, for those who enjoy updates from the ground, here is a BBC producer on location:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>America kills south east! Slogan outside <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23donetsk&amp;src=hash">#donetsk</a> republic HQ on east <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23ukraine&amp;src=hash">#ukraine</a> <a href="http://t.co/o4s46LHoPb">pic.twitter.com/o4s46LHoPb</a></p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="https://twitter.com/Dinanewman/statuses/457110829968924672">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Donetsk&amp;src=hash">#Donetsk</a> republic HQ: slogans: no to fascism, no to EU, no to US. <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Ukraine&amp;src=hash">#Ukraine</a> east <a href="http://t.co/NpnP7UFgef">pic.twitter.com/NpnP7UFgef</a></p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="https://twitter.com/Dinanewman/statuses/457108220449161216">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Molotov cocktails and bricks on the ready at <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Donetsk&amp;src=hash">#Donetsk</a> republic HQ, East <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Ukraine&amp;src=hash">#Ukraine</a> <a href="http://t.co/3AuPQcUCp5">pic.twitter.com/3AuPQcUCp5</a></p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="https://twitter.com/Dinanewman/statuses/457108633088950272">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Glory to Berkut! (Special forces used against <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Maidan&amp;src=hash">#Maidan</a>) slogan on <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23donetsk&amp;src=hash">#donetsk</a> republic HQ east <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Ukraine&amp;src=hash">#Ukraine</a> <a href="http://t.co/CNDfiSVP1H">pic.twitter.com/CNDfiSVP1H</a></p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="https://twitter.com/Dinanewman/statuses/457108977248374784">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Inside <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23donetsk&amp;src=hash">#donetsk</a> republic HQ: ready to resist the storming of the building. east <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23ukraine&amp;src=hash">#ukraine</a> <a href="http://t.co/RNBBJrJexa">pic.twitter.com/RNBBJrJexa</a></p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="https://twitter.com/Dinanewman/statuses/457110336450334720">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>'I get 1000 Hr per month as my pension. I cannot pay the bills. Putin, please save us!' <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Donetsk&amp;src=hash">#Donetsk</a> republic female volunteer is crying</p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="https://twitter.com/Dinanewman/statuses/457111419893579776">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>'<a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Kiev&amp;src=hash">#Kiev</a> junta want power. That's why they want early election" <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23donetsk&amp;src=hash">#donetsk</a> republic activist in east <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Ukraine&amp;src=hash">#Ukraine</a></p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="https://twitter.com/Dinanewman/statuses/457111883771019264">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Donetsk&amp;src=hash">#Donetsk</a> republic presser: "We do not trust Kiev. Remember 21 Feb? An agreement was signed with <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Yanukovich&amp;src=hash">#Yanukovich</a> but not honored"</p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="https://twitter.com/Dinanewman/statuses/457112461314105345">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23donetsk&amp;src=hash">#donetsk</a> republic presser: "we will not vacate the building. We are getting calls from towns and villages who are joining the republic."</p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="https://twitter.com/Dinanewman/statuses/457112857432580096">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Donetsk&amp;src=hash">#Donetsk</a> republic presser: "thinking about a confederation with <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Kharkiv&amp;src=hash">#Kharkiv</a> and Lugansk regions" in east <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23ukraine&amp;src=hash">#ukraine</a></p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="https://twitter.com/Dinanewman/statuses/457113177286004736">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Donetsk&amp;src=hash">#Donetsk</a> republic presser: "we are the <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Russian&amp;src=hash">#Russian</a> bear which is waking up. We've been patiently waiting for the past 24 years" east <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Ukraine&amp;src=hash">#Ukraine</a></p> <p>— Dina Newman (@Dinanewman) <a href="https://twitter.com/Dinanewman/statuses/457113644485345280">April 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-18/ukraine-de-escalation-voided-pro-russia-milita-refuse-vacate-occupied-buildings#comments Activist Shareholder None Twitter Twitter Ukraine Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:58:30 +0000 Tyler Durden 487460 at http://www.zerohedge.com BP Manager In Charge of Cleaning Up the Gulf Oil Spill Dumped BP Stock Before the Severity of Spill Was Discovered http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2014-04-18/bp-manager-charge-cleaning-gulf-oil-spill-sold-1-million-bp-stock-severity-sp <p>The Securities and Exchange Commission <a href="http://www.sec.gov/News/PressRelease/Detail/PressRelease/1370541517274#.U1CqRVfPrLv" target="_blank" title="announced">announced</a> today:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a former 20-year employee of BP p.l.c. and a senior responder during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill with insider trading in BP securities based on confidential information about the magnitude of the disaster.&nbsp; The price of BP securities fell significantly after the April 20, 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, and the subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, resulted in an extensive clean-up effort.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the SEC&rsquo;s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, <strong>BP tasked Keith A. Seilhan with coordinating BP&rsquo;s oil collection and clean-up operations in the Gulf of Mexico and along the coast</strong>.&nbsp; Seilhan, an experienced crisis manager, <strong>directed BP&rsquo;s oil skimming operations and its efforts to contain the expansion of the oil spill</strong>.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The complaint alleges that within days, Seilhan received nonpublic information on the extent of the evolving disaster, including <strong>oil flow estimates and data on the volume of oil floating on the surface of the Gulf</strong>.</p> <p>&ldquo;<strong>Seilhan sold his family&rsquo;s BP securities after he received confidential information about the severity of the spill that the public didn&rsquo;t know</strong>,&rdquo; said Daniel M. Hawke, chief of the Division of Enforcement&rsquo;s Market Abuse Unit.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>***</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The complaint alleges that by April 29, 2010, in filings to the SEC, BP estimated that the flow rate of the spill was up to 5,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd).&nbsp; The <strong>company&rsquo;s public estimate was significantly less than the actual flow rate</strong>, which was estimated later to be between 52,700 and 62,200 bopd.&nbsp; The information that Seilhan obtained indicated that the magnitude of the oil spill and thus, BP&rsquo;s potential liability and financial exposure, was likely to be greater than had been publicly disclosed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the complaint, while in possession of this material, nonpublic information, and in breach of duties owed to BP and its shareholders, Seilhan directed the <strong>sale of his family&rsquo;s entire $1 million portfolio of BP securities</strong> over the course of two days in late April 2010.&nbsp; The trades allowed Seilhan to avoid losses and reap unjust profits &hellip;.</p> </blockquote> <p>Interestingly, the <em>head</em> of BP - Tony Hayward - sold 1.4 million pounds worth of BP shares a <a data-mce-="" href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/7804922/BP-chief-Tony-Hayward-sold-shares-weeks-before-oil-spill.html">few weeks before</a> the start of the Gulf oil spill.&nbsp; While - at first glance - this sound like it could not <em>possibly</em> have been connected to the Gulf spill, BP actually had <em>major</em> problems with the Gulf well <a data-mce-="" href="http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/07/did-bp-keep-drilling-even-though-it-had-lost-control-of-the-oil-well-much-earlier.html"><strong><em>months</em></strong> before the spill</a>. In other words, the spill hadn&#39;t yet happened ... but it should have been obvious to knowledgeable insiders that the well was <a data-mce-="" href="http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/07/did-bp-keep-drilling-even-though-it-had-lost-control-of-the-oil-well-much-earlier.html">highly dangerous and unstable</a>.</p> <p>Sadly, Mr. Seilhan, Mr. Hayward and the rest of the BP team made normal oil-skimming procedures <em>impossible</em> because they sunk the oil with Corexit dispersant &hellip; so the oil <a href="http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/07/of-course-clean-up-workers-cant-find-the-oil-bp-used-dispersants-to-temporarily-hide-it-so-now-it-will-plague-the-gulf-for-years.html" title="skimmers couldn’t get to it">skimmers <em>couldn&rsquo;t get to it</em></a>.</p> <p>And it is beyond doubt that <a href="http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/06/experts-bp-lowballing-size-of-leaking-oil-reservoir.html" title="BP">BP</a> and <a href="http://phys.org/news205605198.html" target="_blank" title="the government">the government</a> blatantly <a href="http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/07/in-trying-to-cover-its-own-behind-bp-has-lowballed-the-amount-of-oil-which-has-made-everything-worse.html" title="low-balling">low-balled</a> the amount of oil spilled.</p> <p>Indeed, most people still don&rsquo;t understand that &ndash; while the well was &ldquo;capped&rdquo; in 2010 &ndash; top experts say that the oil spill could have <a href="http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/09/bp-oil-well-is-dead-but-what-about-the-nearby-seeps.html" title="increased&amp;nbsp; the amount of oil flowing form natural seeps">increased&nbsp; the amount of oil flowing form natural seeps</a> in the area &hellip; so that more oil continues to leak into the Gulf for <em>years</em>.&nbsp;&nbsp; Indeed,&nbsp; <a href="http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/01/huge-new-slick-at-bps-gulf-oil-well.html" title="large">large</a> oil <a href="http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/10/new-4-mile-long-oil-slick-at-bps-macando-oil-well.html" title="slicks">slicks</a> have flowed for <em>years</em> <a href="http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/11/new-mile-long-oil-slick-from-bps-gulf-macondo-well.html" title="after">after</a> the BP well was capped (and BP&rsquo;s explanations for this phenomenon <a href="http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/10/new-video-contradicts-bp-clais-about-oil-spill.html" title="don’t hold up to scrutiny">don&rsquo;t hold up to scrutiny</a>.)</p> <p>Postscript:&nbsp; Some BP personnel were <a href="http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/11/bp-employees-indicted-for-manslaughter-and-lying-to-federal-investigators-in-connection-with-the-gulf-oil-spill.html" title="criminally indicted for manslaughter and lying to federal investigators">criminally indicted for manslaughter and lying to federal investigators</a>.</p> <p>But the U.S. has <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/14/business/energy-environment/epa-to-lift-suspension-of-oil-leases-for-bp.html?_r=0" target="_blank" title="let BP back into the Gulf">let BP back into the Gulf</a>.&nbsp; And BP is going to drill <a href="http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2012/02/08/BP-plans-to-drill-deeper-than-ever/UPI-62971328705233/" target="_blank" title="even deeper">even deeper</a> &hellip; with an even <em>greater</em> potential for disaster (and see&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/14/experts-fear-another-oil-_n_849352.html" target="_blank" title="this">this</a>).</p> http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2014-04-18/bp-manager-charge-cleaning-gulf-oil-spill-sold-1-million-bp-stock-severity-sp#comments Insider Trading Mexico Securities and Exchange Commission Fri, 18 Apr 2014 05:48:48 +0000 George Washington 487459 at http://www.zerohedge.com