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Most progressive and regressive taxation states

  • Most progressive and regressive taxation states

    Depending on who is asked, taxation may be perceived as outright theft or as a necessary mechanism by which governments can give back to their citizens via a handful of goods, services, and support programs. Whether or not there should be a difference in how much the wealthy pay in taxes versus how much those with less pay is a hotly contested political issue. At the heart of the debate are competing philosophies in the form of progressive and regressive taxation.

    A recent survey revealed that the average American pays just under $10,500 in federal, state, and local taxes on an annual basis, indicating an average effective tax rate of 29.8%. While this figure paints a good picture for the nation as a whole, there are a handful of factors that dictate the varying amounts of taxes paid by different American taxpayers, including which state they call home, and how much that state caters to the financial interests of their rich and poor citizens.

    Stacker used 2015 data from the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy to find out which states offer the most progressive and regressive tax policies. A regressive tax system is defined as one in which individuals with lower incomes pay a higher percentage in taxes than the rich, whereas a progressive one demands a larger percentage from those with higher incomes. Regressive tax systems are often characterized by flat tax rates, oftentimes in the form of sales or excise taxes, which uniformly impact all taxpayers regardless of income.

    One of the most prevalent debates surrounding the morality of taxation is what constitutes “equality” and “inequality,” with some claiming a flat tax treats everybody the same and others arguing the richer should pay back a higher percentage of their wealth since they have more to spare. Stacker ranked all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, according to the ITEP Tax Inequality index, which takes into account the percentages of wealth paid in total taxes by the lower, middle, and upper classes, and then compares the rates.

    Read on to learn about the progressiveness or regressiveness of your state’s taxes.

    ALSO: States benefitting the most from the new tax code

  • #51. Delaware

    Index: –0.5%

    Tax rate for the poorest 20%: 5.5%
    Tax rate for the middle 60%: 5.3%
    Tax rate for the top 1%: 4.8%

    Poorest 20% to top 1% ratio: 113%
    Middle 60% to top 1% ratio: 110%

  • #50. Washington, D.C.

    Index: –0.9%

    Tax rate for the poorest 20%: 5.6%
    Tax rate for the middle 60%: 9.3%
    Tax rate for the top 1%: 6.4%

    Poorest 20% to top 1% ratio: 87%
    Middle 60% to top 1% ratio: 146%

  • #49. California

    Index: –1.0%

    Tax rate for the poorest 20%: 10.5%
    Tax rate for the middle 60%: 8.3%
    Tax rate for the top 1%: 8.7%

    Poorest 20% to top 1% ratio: 121%
    Middle 60% to top 1% ratio: 96%

  • #48. Oregon

    Index: –1.3%

    Tax rate for the poorest 20%: 8.1%
    Tax rate for the middle 60%: 7.6%
    Tax rate for the top 1%: 6.5%

    Poorest 20% to top 1% ratio: 125%
    Middle 60% to top 1% ratio: 117%

  • #47. Montana

    Index: –1.4%

    Tax rate for the poorest 20%: 6.1%
    Tax rate for the middle 60%: 6.2%
    Tax rate for the top 1%: 4.7%

    Poorest 20% to top 1% ratio: 129%
    Middle 60% to top 1% ratio: 131%

  • #46. Vermont

    Index: –1.7%

    Tax rate for the poorest 20%: 8.9%
    Tax rate for the middle 60%: 9.8%
    Tax rate for the top 1%: 7.7%

    Poorest 20% to top 1% ratio: 115%
    Middle 60% to top 1% ratio: 127%

  • #45. Minnesota

    Index: –1.7%

    Tax rate for the poorest 20%: 8.8%
    Tax rate for the middle 60%: 9.7%
    Tax rate for the top 1%: 7.5%

    Poorest 20% to top 1% ratio: 117%
    Middle 60% to top 1% ratio: 128%

  • #44. Maine

    Index: –1.9%

    Tax rate for the poorest 20%: 9.4%
    Tax rate for the middle 60%: 9.2%
    Tax rate for the top 1%: 7.5%

    Poorest 20% to top 1% ratio: 125%
    Middle 60% to top 1% ratio: 123%

  • #43. Idaho

    Index: –2.0%

    Tax rate for the poorest 20%: 8.5%
    Tax rate for the middle 60%: 8.1%
    Tax rate for the top 1%: 6.4%

    Poorest 20% to top 1% ratio: 133%
    Middle 60% to top 1% ratio: 126%

  • #42. West Virginia

    Index: –2.3%

    Tax rate for the poorest 20%: 8.7%
    Tax rate for the middle 60%: 8.7%
    Tax rate for the top 1%: 6.5%

    Poorest 20% to top 1% ratio: 134%
    Middle 60% to top 1% ratio: 135%

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