Aguero: Margin tax will bring in as much as $750 million year, result in massive tax increase for retailers

The proposed margin tax will bring in between $650 million and $750 million a year, bringing business revenue in the state to more than $1 billion annually.

Those are the findings of numbers maven Jeremy Aguero, who is preparing a report for the coalition opposing "The Education Initiative." The actual gross revenue from the margin tax is about $1 billion, according to Aguero's calculations, with the net estimate arrived at from credits to businesses paying the payroll tax. But they still pay that so-called Modified Business Tax, which puts the total business revenue number in 10 figures. 

Aguero's numbers contrast with those of the new Guinn Center for Policy Priorities, which released its first position paper on the margin tax and estimated the tax would raise $460 million. Aguero met with the GCPP folks this week, described their efforts as "well-intenioned" and believes (as do I) that there was no attempt to distort.

The teachers' union, pushing the tax, has said it will raise $800 million, but it has been unclear whether that was an annual or biennial estimate. Aguero's number is not far from the teachers, if the union's was a yearly guess.

Aguero has collected data on 250 different job sectors from 3.8 million corporate filings, and his report is expected to be devastating. As opposed to what the GCPP found in its assumptions about the retail industry, for instance, Aguero's report will show a 418 percent tax increase for those businesses.

In an email to lawyers and consultants for the mining-gaming-retailers-chamber coalition opposing the tax, Aguero said the GCPP inadvertently underestimated the impacts: "I continue to believe that our assessment is accurate, and we will not be making any adjustments to our approach or conclusion as a result of this report."

Or, as he matter-of-factly told me: "The numbers are what the numbers are."

I can't wait to see his report....