CANDIDATES MAKE TAX PLANSChicago — Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., called for an “emergency energy rebate” of $1,000 to be offered to families this fall, along with a $50 billion stimulus package to help jump-start job creation.

The Democratic presidential nominee announced the two-part “emergency economic plan” in response to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which showed a loss of 51,000 jobs in July. Half of the $50 billion stimulus package would go to state governments that are facing large budget shortfalls, while the other half would be used to invest in national infrastructure, replenish the Highway Trust Fund and rebuild crumbling roads, bridges and schools.

Obama’s rival, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has proposed cutting the gasoline tax, reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent, extending the Bush tax cuts, allowing a first-year deduction of equipment and technology investments, establishing a permanent tax credit equal to 10 percent of wages spent on R&D, and banning Internet taxes and new cell phone taxes, among other measures.

STUDIES RANK CITY, STATE TAXES

New York — Big Four firm KPMG has released a study that ranks cities with the most favorable tax structures for business. San Juan, P.R.; Baltimore; and Atlanta ranked as the top three among cities with a population of more than 2 million. Omaha, Neb.; Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.; and Little Rock, Ark., took the top three spots among cities with between 500,000 and 2 million people.

Among cities with a population between 100,000 and 500,000, the top three were Saginaw, Mich.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Other high-ranking cities included Tampa, Fla.; Detroit; Phoenix; Milwaukee; Youngstown, Ohio; Raleigh, N.C.; McAllen, Texas; Buffalo, N.Y.; Salt Lake City; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Shreveport, La.; Lexington, Ky.; and Montgomery, Ala.

A separate study by the Tax Foundation found that New Jersey taxpayers are stuck with the heaviest burden in state and local taxes, while Alaska taxpayers pay the least.

The study found that New Jersey residents paid 11.8 percent of their income in state and local taxes, while Alaska residents paid just 6.4 percent. The nation as a whole paid 9.7 percent of its income in state and local taxes this year, down from 9.9 percent in 2007, mainly because income grew faster than tax collections between 2007 and 2008.

New Yorkers were in second place with 11.7 percent of income taxed by state and local authorities, followed by Connecticut (11.1 percent), Maryland (10.8 percent), Hawaii (10.6 percent), California (10.5 percent), Ohio (10.4 percent), Vermont (10.3 percent), Wisconsin and Rhode Island (10.2 percent each).

Next to Alaska, Nevada residents pay the least as a percentage of income at 6.6 percent. That’s followed by Wyoming (7.0 percent), Florida (7.4 percent), New Hampshire (7.6 percent), South Dakota (7.9 percent), Tennessee (8.3 percent), Texas and Louisiana (8.4 percent each), and Arizona (8.5 percent).

DUFF & PHELPS BUYS WTS-US

New York — Investment banking firm Duff & Phelps has entered into a global alliance with World Tax Service Alliance and acquired WTS’s U.S. member, World Tax Service U.S., for an undisclosed sum.

WTS Alliance was formed in 2003 by German tax consultancy firm WTS AG. WTS Alliance now has global operations through its 16 alliance members and extensive network of cooperating firms.

WTS Alliance mainly focuses on transaction tax support for investments and mergers and acquisitions, global financial services, transfer pricing and value-added taxes advisory services. WTS-US has offices in New York and Morristown, N.J. Its services include international and domestic corporate tax structuring, M&A tax advisory, investment fund structuring, institutional investor representation, and related tax compliance services. WTS-US will go to market as Duff & Phelps WTS LLC.

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