“Who Pays?”

Here’s an analysis of the progressivity and regressivity of tax systems in various states, i.e., who pays a greater proportion of their income in taxes, conducted by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy:

Executive Summary

Who Pays? is the only distributional analysis of tax systems in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This comprehensive 7th edition of the report assesses the progressivity and regressivity of state tax systems by measuring effective state and local tax rates paid by all income groups.[1] No two state tax systems are the same; this report provides detailed analyses of the features of every state tax code. It includes state-by-state profiles that provide baseline data to help lawmakers and the public understand how current tax policies affect taxpayers at all income levels.

Key Findings

  • The vast majority of state and local tax systems are regressive, or upside-down. This requires a much greater share of income from low- and middle-income families than from wealthy families. The absence of a graduated personal income tax in many states and a heavy reliance on consumption taxes contribute to this effect.
  • The lower one’s income, the higher one’s overall effective state and local tax rate. On average, the lowest-income 20 percent of taxpayers face a state and local tax rate nearly 60 percent higher than the top 1 percent of households. The nationwide average effective state and local tax rate paid by residents to their home states is 11.3 percent for the lowest-income 20 percent of individuals and families, 10.5 percent for the middle 20 percent, and 7.2 percent for the top 1 percent.

. . .

The 10 Most Regressive State and Local Tax Systems

Ten states — Florida, Washington, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Illinois, Arkansas, and Louisiana — are particularly regressive, with upside-down tax systems that ask the most of those with the least. These states tax their poorest residents — those in the bottom 20 percent of the income scale — at rates averaging three times higher than those charged to the wealthy. Middle-income families in these states pay an average rate more than twice as high a share of their income than the wealthiest families. Florida, which has the most regressive state tax system in the nation, fares worst by these two measures, with low-income families paying almost 5 times more than the wealthy and middle-income families paying more than 3 times more.

You can read the whole analysis at ITEP.org.

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