Study–Texas Has the 5th Most Unfair Tax System

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Dick Lavine, Senior Fiscal Analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities

We’re #5!

You have heard many times how Texas ranks 38th on state spending on public schools and 50th on state spending overall per resident.  Well, finally Texas ranks 5th in something.

Unfortunately, it’s in the ranking of how unfair our state and local tax system is.

Texas asks its lowest income families to pay four times as much in taxes, as a percentage of family income, than it requires of the 1% with the highest incomes.  And Texas asks its middle-income families to pay nearly three times as much in taxes as it does of the top 1%.

ITEP Who Pays

This ranks Texas as having the 5th most unfair (“regressive”) tax system in the country.

What’s worse is that, even though many Texas politicians  brag about the state’s low taxes, poor Texas families pay a higher percentage of their meager family incomes in state and local taxes than to similarly poor families in all but five other states.  That’s because even Texas’ relatively low taxes are distributed so unfairly that the poorest must still pay an unusually high percentage of their income to support public services.

All this information – and more – is contained in a report released today by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), a well-regarded national tax research organization.  Here’s more on the full report.

At the Center for Public Policy Priorities, we believe in a Texas that offers everyone the chance to compete and succeed in life. We envision a Texas where everyone is healthy, well-educated, and financially secure. We want the best Texas - a proud state that sets the bar nationally by expanding opportunity for all. CPPP is an independent public policy organization that uses data and analysis to advocate for solutions that enable Texans of all backgrounds to reach their full potential. We dare Texas to be the best state for hard-working people and their families.


  • OH SHUCKS: – ya better cool it…
    The Conservatives might get a copy of your list and figure out a way to make Texas the most unfair tax state instead of being #5. The state legislature is back in session and Conservatives are doing their best to keep things as cheap as ever. While we got budget cuts still affecting schools from pre-K to college,, we got a Governor who is trying to out-shout a Republican Lt. Governor who might run against him, in saying he wants to give tax money back to people as state services go to crap. Mental health services are a cruel joke, the highways we got are wearing out and cracking while the state is too broke to build new ones. Nursing homes are among the lowest funded in the nation, 1/4 of Texans have no health insurance, and in many cases no medical help. The state park system is shot,

    And the Republicans talk about making further cuts in taxes. No one enjoys paying taxes, but state services are not supplied for free by Santa and his elves.

    Ken 30.01.2013
  • […] Texas is a low tax state, for the wealthy. That is the more money you the less you pay in taxes, but the opposite is true too, the less money you make the more you pay in taxes. Better Texas Blog has the details, Study–Texas Has The 5th Most Unfair Tax System. […]

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