Same-sex marriage to boost state tax revenue
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The Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriages across the United States was a victory for the couples who long fought for equal marital rights.
It also could prove to be a reason for state treasuries to celebrate.
The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law says that the increased number of weddings could produce a national economic boost of up to $2.6 billion in just the first three years that same-sex marriage ceremonies are performed nationwide.
That should lead to a total of $184.7 million in new tax revenue, says the law school think tank.
More wedding money
The money, according to the group’s data, will come from the expanded wedding services as gay and lesbian couples head to the altar.
Businesses that provide wedding planning, catering, venue and myriad other wedding-related services naturally will see their incomes and taxes increase.
So will ancillary industries, such as the travel and lodging sectors that will have the couples’ out-of-town wedding guests as new customers. This spending boost can lead to an increase in state and local tax revenue and an influx of tourism dollars that benefit local businesses.
More state income taxes possible
In addition, the Williams Institute estimates more than 13,000 new jobs will be created nationwide, thanks to the growing number of nuptials.
For the 41 states that collect income taxes, that will mean additional taxes from the new workers within their borders.
Some states also could see increased tax collections simply from the new couples’ filing status changes.
Now that same-sex couples can fill out returns as married filing jointly in states with income taxes, some of the new married couples could see their taxes go up as their combined incomes push them into higher tax brackets.
No income tax, no problem
Even the states that don’t levy individual income taxes should benefit substantially.
In my home state of Texas, for example, Williams Institute researchers estimate that more than 23,000 couples will marry during the first three years of legal same-sex marriage, providing the Lone Star treasury with nearly $15 million in tax revenue on total wedding spending of almost $182 million.
The financial forecast is similar for Florida, another large, no-income-tax state that offers lots of beach venues where couples can exchange vows.
Tax planning for all
Of course, the opposite is true, too. States could see a dip in their revenue, thanks to the newly married same-sex couples.
This might happen, for example, if only one spouse works. By now being able to file a joint state tax return, the same-sex newlyweds could see lower tax bills.
So states, just like their taxpaying residents, will be doing some tax planning to see how the new marriage equality law affects their bottom lines.
Generally, however, more wedding business will be good not only for the happy couples, but for the states’ economies and tax collectors.
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