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Ear to the Ground

State Taxes Stacked Against the Poor

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Posted on Feb 4, 2012
wallyg (CC-BY)

Though many conservatives would rather not discuss it, not all taxes are created equal. Sure, the federal income tax is progressive (though less so than in the past), but payroll and state taxes—which include levies on income, property, sales and various fees—are not, and the differences between the top 1 percent and the bottom 20 percent can be large. —ARK

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones:

How progressive are state taxes?

Answer: They aren’t. The Corporation for Enterprise Development recently released a scorecard for all 50 states, and it has boatloads of useful information. That includes overall tax rates, where data from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shows that in the median state (Mississippi, as it turns out) the poorest 20 percent pay twice the tax rate of the top 1 percent. In the worst states, the poorest 20 percent pay five to six times the rate of the richest 1 percent. Lucky duckies indeed. There’s not one single state with a tax system that’s progressive. Check the table below to see how your state scores.

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By Derek, February 4, 2012 at 11:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think that is part of the problem, not only a disparity in tax rates between the rich and poor but also between states! I currently reside in florida, so luckily we pay no state tax. But many other states do, and I know especially in New York people are sick of high taxes. I’m no accountant, but is the flat tax more equitable?

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