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These 6 States Tax the Poor the Hardest

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Tax fairness has become a hot-button issue, with a big debate over whether the rich and the poor pay their fair share of federal taxes. But at the state level, many states have tax structures that make poor people pay a far greater percentage of their incomes in taxes than those who are better off.

Back in January, the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy released an analysis (opens  a PDF) of the tax systems in all 50 states, with the goal of figuring out how different groups of taxpayers fared under each state's tax laws. What it found was that when you divide people into groups by income, the poorest 20% paid more than 11% of their income in taxes on average, compared with just half that rate for the wealthiest 1%.

But in many states, the poor paid even higher taxes. Let's look at the six states that the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy identified as taxing the poor the hardest.

6. Texas
Texas imposes taxes on the poor equal to 12.6% of their income, compared with just 3.2% in tax on its wealthiest taxpayers. Like many of the states on this list, Texas doesn't have an income tax, relying instead on more regressive sales taxes of 6.25% statewide, with an average of 1.89% added on for local taxes. Oil revenue does play a major role in funding state government, with Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY  ) and EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG  ) far outpacing their peers in total oil production during 2012. But that doesn't keep the state from ranking in the top 30% of states for sales-tax collections, hitting the poor especially hard.

5. Arizona
In Arizona, the poor pay 12.9% of their income in taxes, compared with 4.7% for the wealthy. Arizona does have an income tax, but it has a relatively low top rate of 4.54% compared with a sales tax that send 6.6% to the state and another 2.56% on average to local governments. Property taxes are also in the lower half of the nation, benefiting high-value property owners disproportionately.

4. Hawaii
The poor pay 13% of their income in taxes in Hawaii, although the state has relatively high taxes across the board. Even tourists end up paying at least their fair share of taxes, with a double-digit percentage hotel tax imposed on Starwood (NYSE: HOT  ) , Hyatt (NYSE: H  ) , and other hotel chains, which they then pass on to their guests. The wealthy in Hawaii pay an average tax rate of 8%, the highest of the states on this list, because of extremely high marginal rates on income taxes that range as high as 11%. The sales tax is relatively reasonable at 4%, but the key problem is that the sales tax applies to grocery purchases, which hits the poor especially hard.

3. Florida
The poor in Florida pay taxes equal to 13.2% of their income, compared with just 2.3% for its wealthiest citizens. With no income tax and a 6% sales tax, Florida is among the more regressive of the states, and a recent increase in the exemption for business from corporate income tax adds to relative burden that the poor bear in the Sunshine State.

2. Illinois
Illinois taxes its poor at a rate of 13.8%, versus 4.9% for the wealthiest 1%. Illinois has an income tax, but it has a flat rate, and the sales tax of 6.25% rises to more than 8% when you include typical local taxes. Illinois even charges a sales tax on grocery items, although they qualify for a lower rate than the sales tax on most purchases.

1. Washington
Washington is by far the most regressive state in the nation, with the poor paying 16.9% of their income in taxes, while the figure for the richest citizens is 2.8%. Washington not only has no income tax but has one of the highest sales taxes in the country, with a 6.5% state rate combining with 2.36% more from local governments.

Is taxing the poor unfair?
As you can see, states that rely on sales taxes more than income taxes tend to be harsher on the poor, who have to pay a greater percentage of their incomes on living expenses that are often subject to sales tax. With other states offering less regressive taxes for their poorer citizens, the poor face the difficult choice of leaving their homes for more favorable treatment or having to pay up in order to stay put.

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Read/Post Comments (76) | Recommend This Article (25)

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  • Report this Comment On April 21, 2013, at 12:52 PM, seattle1115 wrote:

    The tax structure in Washington is an outrage, but there's no convincing the voters to do anything about it. Two years ago, a group led by Bill Gates, Sr., and some others proposed an initiative that would have imposed an income tax on earners with an AGI over $200,000 ($400,000 for couples) in return for a limit on property taxes and a reduction in the business and occupations tax (levied on a business' *gross* income). The voters in this state have such a Pavlovian reaction to any tax on income that the measure went down by an almost 2-1 margin.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:10 AM, Michael10000 wrote:

    Wow...2 red states are in there....thought they were the perfect libertarian examples of low taxes...well maybe for the rich...but lets screw the poor!

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:27 AM, USAisaRepublic wrote:

    Muckraking journalist working for the yellow press, the all knowing prophets of the Evangelical Temple of Benevolent Government! This article can't be anything but a lie! In Texas only those that consume luxuries, that is non-food items, pay the sales tax! Making this a fools story!

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:29 AM, cityperson wrote:

    All I can comment on is, I guess Americans love to pay taxes. Take our state of Mexafornia, these lower IQ voters always vote for higher fees, bonds and taxes the politicians and unions suck them in on. All you have to do in order to suck people is is mention children, schools and other liberal goody two shoe things and they will vote for some form of tax. Making money anymore in America is a sin to the liberals and some others.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:29 AM, wonhuinglo wrote:

    States with no Income tax are not taxing the poor. Welfare needs to go can't have generations of people on welfare and not expect them to pay into the system that supports them. This is not right for Tax payers...hOW COME SOME PEOPLE ALWAYS HAVE A JOB ANd others never have the poor need to stop having kids if they can't afford them. Nobody on Welfare should be having newborns.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:32 AM, mikeroony wrote:

    We pay 7% sales tax in florida. 0% on regular food.

    Soft drinks are 7%

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:34 AM, susie633 wrote:

    I don't have any experience with the other states but Texas is not that bad. The more you buy the more you are paying in taxes yes, but the over all cost of living is much lower. They also do not tax food in Texas unless it's prepared for you (restaurants, hot deli's).

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:35 AM, Rightwingwacko23 wrote:

    I knew Texas would be in there because Texas has one of the most regressive tax system in the country. If you are poor in Texas you get screwed.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:35 AM, BuddyGC wrote:

    If you are going to measure the impact of the poor lower income earnings...

    Don't forget to subtract the payments and credits that a state provide to the low income poor.

    You really need to take the entire state's taxes that people absorb and not do in isolation.

    Otherise the analysis is crap.

    Such as the analysis these people did isolating sales tax.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:35 AM, cmk227cr wrote:

    What a bunch on lie from the author. The sales tax in Texas is a consumption tax, the more you buy the more you pay. In other liberal states with state taxes they tax you just for working. Also please describe how much taxes do the poor actual pay compared to the income paid by the wealthly. I understand that you try to promote your liberal agenda by any means necessary but you are a poor excused for a journalist/writer.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:36 AM, Deakin0608 wrote:

    Well I can tell you that here in Texas most of our "poor" have jobs so the system is working just fine. You can slice and dice numbers how ever you want but I'll take the Texas system any day of the week.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:38 AM, TommeA wrote:

    As stated above, in Texas you don't pay the sales tax on food,and medicine and housing are also excluded. In addition there's a tax free weekend in August on clothes and back to school items. They also show thepoor as paying 4.1% for property taxes. This doesn't apply for those who rent or are on subsidized housing. The ACTUAL tax rate for the poor should be something like 3%. Looks liike the methodology is flawed by those who want to show states without a high income tax as being regressive.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:38 AM, Bren66 wrote:

    @Michael - 2 out of 6 yet you still want to blame them. And Red states are not Libertarian they are Republican. Libertarian do want the Democrats out of their pocket books and Republicans out of their bedrooms.

    This is misleading as it shows only Tax records which is impossible to show what the rich or poor actually pay in sales taxes unless they are allowed a deduction for the item.

    Sales taxes are the most fair as they have no deductions allowed etc in the state therefore it's the closest true tax. If you are poor you aren't buying a lot anyhow are you? And groceries are free from the tax.

    This article is WAY too misleading to allow for accurate discussion.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:39 AM, jimslag wrote:

    I think this article is a little misleading. Yes, most of the states have a high sales tax which is hard on the poor. However, the "rich" tend to buy more so they pay a greater portion of the sales tax. It may be a smaller portion of their income but overall, I think you would see, if you looked at total outlay, that the rich pay more. The tax structure, no matter where you go is hardest on the "middle class". By the way, nobody who has used the term has ever defined middle class. Obama says it is $250K, others $500K. I guess I am poor at $100K but I still pay a higher % than Obama or Buffet, so if you count % then it is definitely unfair, but then again, what is "fair"?

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:40 AM, rlopatterson wrote:

    This article is hogwash and I am saying that as someone who lived in both Texas and California under 30K a year. In California, my vehicle registration was $700 per year compared to Texas at $65 per year. That represented a lot of take home. In California, as a single male, I paid about 6% in State Income Tax. In Texas, I paid $0. In California, I paid ~ 8% sales tax. About the same in Texas. Only difference is most states take ~ 3%, then made up to get as close to the pain threshold of < 10%. In Texas, my quality of life was much better and less expensive. In CA, my monthly auto gas costs were > $300 whereas in Texas with the same commute in miles < $200.

    I dislike articles like this that look at one side as opposed to the true costs from local to Federal. We can't forget just taxes, but also have to look at the hidden taxes called fees.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:47 AM, TxPat wrote:

    I live in Texas and have lived in New Mex. Texas has no income tax and doesn't tax food or medicine. New Mexico has income taxes and taxes everything. I don't understand the article or how the states were selected.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:48 AM, BuddyGC wrote:

    and even if the low income earners are taxed at a higher sales rate.... they are still better off because Texas has the 2nd lowest cost of living in the USA.

    They can actually afford to pay sales taxes, unlike CA/NY/Illionois and most liberal leaning states

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:50 AM, Williemack wrote:

    Ok, I have lived in 3 states as a poor man. Massachusetts, California, and Texas. I've tried to start a business in all 3 states. Of those three, Texas has been the easiest by a mile. In Mass and Cali, I needed help from others (family) to live. everyone I knew was struggling in Mass and cali. In Texas, I have rent thats 300 a month in a good neighborhood, food cost me about 200 a month, and I now make about 500 a week. This is BS!!! I live it, and this article is wrong about Texas.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:51 AM, mikehenrich wrote:

    God forbid the poor pay anything. Just sit and collect welfare and pay no taxes with little incentive to work - PERFECT

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:53 AM, joy1129 wrote:

    I like to say the author is a little misinform because his data is faulty here why two states that didn't make his list use sales tax as there main source of revenue and other state that have income taxes are on the list. the author here that sales tax is not fair need to do a little more research before publishing misinform facts. another this article is bias

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:53 AM, Fog643 wrote:

    I fail to see how imposing a state income-tax on everyone is fairer. Does this article take into account all local & state forms of taxation: sales, property, income and other devious methods to separate citizens from thier incomes?

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:53 AM, Hedgephone wrote:

    KAlifornia is the worst. If you make 50K, 16K of it goes to taxes. So much for "getting rich"

    This article is a sham -- Texas and Florida are the BEST states for payroll taxes if you are broke, and Kali is the worst!

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:54 AM, gundagai wrote:

    Washington has tried to get voters to approve an income tax for years but keeps getting shot down because the voters know that as soon as the state gets their foot in the door, the state will keep grabbing more and more. By the way, food and children's clothing is not subject to the sales tax.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:54 AM, LocalMan22 wrote:

    Did this "study" take property tax into account? In Florida, there is no income tax, and the sales tax does not apply to most kinds of basic food. Property tax is a large part of the State Income, but there is a large exemption for a person's homestead -- as a result, low cost homes will often pay nothing, but high cost homes and all vacation homes and commercial properties pay a lot of property tax.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:55 AM, TSP1973 wrote:

    Funny how Obama keeps talking about Tax Fairness for the Rich to pay their fair share, but 4 out of 6 of these states are Blue States!

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:02 AM, TommeA wrote:

    There's a homestead exemption in Texas also on property taxes. In addition, those 65 and over can freeze the property tax. Every time I have seen attempts to "reform" income tax my personal taxes have gone up and I'm middle class. There are so many exemptions and write offs that the Obamas and Buffets love income tax. With exemptions for food, medicine and housing I have never understood why liberals think a sales tax is regressive. Seems to me something like a knee jerk reaction to what they've always "heard" rather than what's real. The rich can always avoid a big share of income taxes, but when they buy a big ticket item, be it an expensive boat, car, plane or jewelry, they pay.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:03 AM, mr091468 wrote:

    Why don't the writers quit whining and we'll turn the country over to the "poor". Let's see how they do running this broken country. Ho Ho.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:07 AM, gundy65 wrote:

    Typical liberal BS. They cannot stand the fact that success is not punished in these states.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:08 AM, jazabelz wrote:

    To all of you who are writing that the sale tax in Texas isn't that bad -- think again. Property taxes in Texas are among the highest in the country in order to make up for a lack of income taxes. Everyone pays for these high property taxes because if you think that people who apartments and rentals don't collect that tax from their renters -- think again. Utility costs are also among the highest in Texas -- we can thank Tom Delay for that all the while he promised lower rates if electricity was de-regulated -- instead just the opposite has occurred. The air quality is horrendous and almost everyone suffers from allergies or asthma -- but of course the likes of Perry, Cornyn and Cruz don't want any EPA enforcement -- look what that resulted in at West, Texas!

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:11 AM, Freefromtaxes wrote:

    Gosh, I feel so bad about taxing the poor folks so much. What is the "FAIR" share of taxes the Progressive-Liberal-Socialist party is advocating? So far not one Progressive in either party has told us Tax Payers what a "Fair Share"is! The Progressive's instituted the Progressive Income Taxes in 1916 and now they are no longer happy with the lack of $$'s coming to DC to fund their aggressive outspend the other side agenda. IMHO, if you are a citizen of this country (Legal, or ILLEGAL)you should be taxed to support our giveaway programs. If you are on the takers side of the equation (50-50 right now)you should pay taxes on all subsistence and freebies you receive from the Obama's Stash! To me that is fair. A flat tax (everyone pays the same percentage of their income in taxes)of about 15% with the elimination of all deductions for mortgages, and other cheat tactics the lobbyist have overloaded our tax code with. I would also say that the Savings Accounts of individuals less than $1 Million should be exempt from any and all taxation. If not a flat tax, then a VAT should be instituted in lieu of all other taxes. Tax those that consume and tax those that make their living by padding the price of the item as it moves along the production and sales processes. The last thing I would love to see is forced balancing of the FEDERAL BUDGET every year. The States do it (Except for CA, IL, NY, and a few others)and us "WE THE PEOPLE)have to live within our means or go bankrupt. My opinion and everyone has one don't they????

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:17 AM, Freefromtaxes wrote:

    @jazabelz; Why not leave Texas if you feel this is such a difficult place to live. Look at NY and compare your taxes to the folks suffering there. Between income taxes and taxes on everything else, they exceed your pitiful tax rates hands down. Now NJ wants to tax the Rainfall that hits on your property!!!! That is what I call a good LIBERAL AGENDA ITEM. The EPA is not elected to their positions and why should they stand in the way of prosperity? Looked at your new container for gasoline for your home equipment lately? Has it exploded in price? Has it become so idiotic that Cass Sunstein had to design it? The designer had to be a Liberal since all Liberals think the common sense American are all IDIOTS!!

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:17 AM, bugmenot wrote:

    Obama was an Illinois Legislator. Obama learned tax strategy from Chicago Democrats. Of course, he taxes the poor at one of the highest levels. The news media will never link Obama to the truth of attacking the poor.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:25 AM, SurfinCitizen wrote:

    This article on taxation is TOTALLY wrong when taken by objective measures. The lowest class gets paid NOT to work or not to work too hard (because they lose benefits) while the lower middle class get screwed no matter where they live, especially in States that have BOTH an income tax AND a sales tax. Doesn't a family qualify for food stamps even if it earns more than $50K a year? (my parents household of seven would have qualified even when earning $45K a year according to the USDA criteria). And, when calculating the taxation relative to earnings, don't forget to adjust for the higher spending exercised by those who earn more (the wealthy don't buy cheap things, at least many of them don't). More importantly, those who earn more and SAVE their money should be rewarded, NOT punished, for being true thrifty Americans rather than net drains on social resources. My parents raised me with one simple rule among others ... "Those who don't work, don't eat", that is how I live today and why I work harder than most of my peers, friends and relatives ... and why I have "more" than they do, because I work hard and SAVE what I earn.

    What happened to The Fool? It used to be a site that offered moderately fair commentary and relatively accurate investment information. Over the past month, it now sounds like a mouthpiece for Obama and the liberal left. I am canceling my subscription and membership.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:30 AM, VegasSmitty wrote:

    The more articles I read here proves that Fools really do write!

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:42 AM, Irishwolf66 wrote:

    Disagree about the WA taxes being too high. Essentials like groceries, health care, etc are not taxes, so if you are buying only essentials you are not unfairly taxed. Income tax is unfair, it taxes those who work the hardest and have jobs with higher levels of responsibility, liability, and stress more. We are losing many of our medical professionals because the tort laws are so regressive and backwards, upwards of 50% of gross income for many is paid directly in malpractice insurance premiums. As a medical professional who took on 6 figures of educational debt and make life or death decisions every day and incur that stress on my own health. If I had to pay state income tax as part of the previously attempted measure that we voted down resoundlingly, I would leave the state. I already left Illinois becuase the state income tax, on top of sales tax, and insanely high property taxes place an unfair burden on the upper middle class.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:45 AM, satine2500 wrote:

    I am surprised at the negative comments regarding Texas, especially because they are a red state. I have a good friend who lives in Texas (she is a Chicago transplant) and loves it. I live in one of the bluest states around, Illinois namely the Chicagoland area. You cannot escape taxes anywhere in this state. We are taxed out the a** for everything. We are middle class at best. We live in a far western suburb and while housing costs are less, property taxes are very high. Gas is outlandish, we have tax brackets on everything from soda, to candy to meats. Cigarette taxes are sky high and recently an alcohol tax went into effect. Small businesses have to pay taxes out their a**es and prices here just keep going up. We make the average income apiece ($35,000 per year X 2) and you can barley survive here in Illinois on that. We do love it here since we are born and raised Chicagoans and all of our family is here, but it sure is hard! It's annoying when I go to the grocery store and see many people with nicer clothes and phones than I using food stamps. People here have learned to take advantage of the system. The rest of us middle class have to pay the price. I recently lost my job and I went to see if we could get some temporary help with food stamps till we got our situation figured out. Apparently, my husband makes "too much money" to qualify, even though I am pregnant. WIC wouldn't even help us, we "make too much money". SO when people genuinely need TEMPORARY help, you are denied. But so many are sucking the life out of the system and not making any effort to better themselves or make a contribution to society.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:45 AM, lowvolt24dc wrote:

    I saw someone mention California's income tax on the poor, well In california the income tax law allows enough deductions for a person earning less than 20k per year to pay zero in income tax, while taxing the higher earners on a sliding scale. Not many things in life is free, so I would gladly give a few hundred dollars more for better schools, roads, parks, and Cops. I guess some people are more selfish, while others just plain have no collective vision.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:47 AM, hagar2935 wrote:

    This FOOL is trying to fool you with inaccurate and false data. California has the highest and most oppressive taxes on ALL taxpayers....One of the highest sales & use taxes, one of the highest gas taxes, the Highest of all state income taxes, Low income earners also pay a State Disability tax DIRECTLY out of their paychecks, the highest of all personal property taxes (Auto licenses, etc.), And an endless list of fees and other hidden taxes that drive the costs of food, fuel, and other necessities up relentlessly by taxing businesses to a stranglehold that is driving employers OUT of the State!

    Since sales & use taxes exempt most food items, poor people pay the least of this tax because a higher percentage of their income goes toward basic living necessities in most states. Poor people are not high consumers of non-essential items.

    You can't fix STUPID FOOLS, but you can catch them in their lies!

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:51 AM, mbaker73 wrote:

    First of all, how is it even mathematically possible that the poor pay a higher percentage(unless of course they don't count the income they get from government)? That's the only way it's possible.

    There are reasons this article is complete BS.

    1. The cost of living in Texas is the lowest of all those states.

    2. business people(they all pay a 1% franchise tax on businesses they operate in Texas on REVENUES, not profit)

    3. Rent, grocery items, and medical care is not taxes via the sales tax in Texas.

    The author of this article is pushing an agenda first and foremost.

    Take a look at SF's taxes! <<< Sure, they might have a higher income, but after they pay all the taxes, the buying power of that income is lower than in Texas.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 11:58 AM, agwisreal wrote:

    Rent is tricky. The real estate tax on rental property is, on paper, paid by the owner-landlord. But we're economically literate folk here. The actual burden gets shared out somehow or other between landlord and tenant, as rents rise to partially cover the tax burden. The economists tell us that the exact same net outcome would result if the tax, on paper, fell on the tenant. So who's paying? The only way to find out would be to zero out real estate taxes and see how things then sorted out. And that experiment won't be made.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 12:01 PM, david1681 wrote:

    The tax rate of 4.9 percent for Illinois in the article is impossible. The Illinois income tax rate is a flat 5 percent with virtually no deductions except for social security and other retirment plan income. When you add in sales tax which is around 10 percent for most of the state and real estate taxes, which a typically about 2 percent of market value the rate is much higher. The person who did the study really blew it.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 12:11 PM, Hjin wrote:

    Sales tax = consumption tax = VAT. VAT is very prevalent in Europe. The only difference? In Europe you pay both a high VAT as well as high income tax. At least in Texas, you only pay the VAT rather than income.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 12:25 PM, Libertarian1967 wrote:

    Those of you that claim this article is accurate about Texas are simply wrong. One person claimed Texas has a 4.2% property tax. I do not know of a single locality that has property taxes anywhere near 4.2%. Furthermore our property taxes are high in DFW, Houston, Austin and San Antonio to pay for the schools in poorer rural areas. It is called Robinhood. Actually property taxes generally run from about 1.8% to 3%; however, as correctly stated above there is a homestead exemption which has a greater impact on people owning a lower valued house than a more expensive house.

    Sales taxes vary from one locality to the next but in the larger markets (DFW, Houston, Austin and San Antonio) they are generally in the 7-8% range. Many have correctly said that groceries and other staples are exempt. This exemption will have a much higher reduction in total sales taxe rate paid by lower income people because they cannot afford to purchase as many items that are subject to the sales tax. If you assume that rent/housing, groceries and other staple exempt items account for 50% of the expenditures for a low income family (which is probably low), the most they could pay in sales tax is 4%.

    Finally, low income people in Texas (like everywhere else) get food stamps and the people in extreme poverty get additional assistance. If a person collects $3,000 of assistance in a year and pays $2,000 in taxes they have a negative tax rate. To claim otherwise is simply distorting reality to advance an unspoken agenda.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 12:44 PM, labrat93562 wrote:

    How can California not be on that list? We pay a high state income tax, a 7.75% sales tax and between fed and state feul tax we pay aprox. 70 cents per gal in tax and one of the country's highest vehicle registration taxes. Our legislation spend fortunes re-modeling their offices while cutting education because we wont vote for antax increase. Believe me I wont be retireing in this state.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 1:03 PM, djkumquat wrote:

    no sales tax on food in WA.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 1:08 PM, peterwolf wrote:

    Since these states tax their 'poor' harder than the wealthy, that explains why so many of their poor end up in California. Here, everyone else is taxed like crazy to support them so that they don't have to work and have time to be sure to vote every November.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 1:10 PM, scientificless wrote:

    What this article does not take into account is

    the huge untaxed underground economy in

    Texas due the the influx of illegals from Mexico.

    Maybe if some economist could figure that

    out, the percentages would look a lot better.

    Yeah they pay sales taxes at the retail level,

    excluding food and prescription medicines

    mainly. When you compare that rate to

    official reported income, it looks higher

    than it is.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 1:23 PM, joebrez wrote:

    This article cracks me up. Wisconsin HAMMERS people on taxes, not just the poor though.

    6% Flat rate tax

    5.5% Sales tax

    On a $200,000 home, you pay about $6000 in taxes

    Gas tax is really high (Prices are always on par with the top states in the nation)

    I’d love a tax structure like Texas…

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 1:26 PM, scottisinatl wrote:

    How is it taxing the poor when everyone pays the same sales tax? You make more you spend more you are taxed more. This is just a hit piece on those states that have a sales tax and no income tax. Look at how they calculate the 12.3% tax rate on the poor and it doesn't make sense. What you will find, though, is those states that don't have an income tax have faster growing economies than those that do. Reason? They are forced to live within their means. So, they might have to pay a sales tax, but they'll have a job

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 1:32 PM, scottisinatl wrote:

    Why shouldn't the "poor" pay taxes? It seems to me that with the trillions in dollars spend to irradiate poverty, the problem continues to grow. It might be we are importing poverty from South America or it might be that Government throws money at the problem and never asks for results.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 1:35 PM, scottisinatl wrote:

    Every American should pay something in tax. The premise of this story is offensive. If "the poor" can't pay 6.65% tax on a candy bar and are asked to pay nothing else for the services that support them, we will never move ahead. I'm sick of being told to pay more for the poor and illegals and then be spat at because some arrogant mediaelite tells me it's not enough or my "fair share" isn't large enough. Go to hell.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 1:45 PM, klk260 wrote:

    Ask your this the next time your standing in a grocery check out and the person in front of you wearing expensive clothes and jewelry pulls out food stamps and WIC vouchers out of their Coach bag. How poor are they really?

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 1:47 PM, klk260 wrote:

    Ask yourself this the next time you're standing in a grocery store check out and, the person in front of you wearing expensive clothes and jewelry pulls out food stamps and WIC vouchers out of their Coach bag. How poor are they really?

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 2:03 PM, calabash72 wrote:

    Where did you get your info? Tenn sales tax is 9%. I don't see the state listed. Also, a sales tax is a consumption tax. I am sure the wealthy pay a far bigger dollar amount then the poor. Aslo, most poor don't pay a state tax other than sales tax as they get the money paid in back once they file taxes with the state. You also did not mention what your criteria was... Based on normal purchases? Bad story

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 2:10 PM, Livinformykids wrote:

    I haft to say this must be a attempt to make Texas look bad. I don't pay any taxes on food, medications both prescription and over the counter, or an income tax. Yet this article claims the poor are taxed at a higher rate, might have something to do with the poor driving older gas guzzling vehicles. While the rich drive the newer hybrids, but then I see just as many rich people driving huge SUV's, and diesel trucks. Personally I think someone is trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Truth is Texas work hard and keep more of their money, yet the state is thriving..

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 2:18 PM, waykno wrote:

    Define poor. I know "poor" families that pay ZERO tax. Maybe poor for you is just at the lower end of the wage scale. And it's misleading but that is what much of media does these days.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 2:39 PM, disankey wrote:

    I did not read through all the comments so if this is duplicated I am sorry but, this makes no sense to me. My son only made $11,230.00 last year yet had to $209.00 in taxes!! Our country really needs help.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 4:03 PM, roywill83 wrote:

    I don't know about other states but in Texas you don't pay sales tax on food or medical needs. I am one of those bad people who believe everyone should pay there way. While I understand that people need help to live most can perform some type of work. Income is income whether it is from being gainfully employed or drawing a welfare check and it should be taxed. I am not for favoring anyone. Politicians are responsible for the tax codes and not the wealthy. If you want to blame someone because you pay more percentage wise than a wealthy person blame it on your congress person and not the wealthy.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 4:11 PM, ceres1us wrote:

    Florida may have a 6% sales tax but they don't tax food and drugs like Tn. Ms and quite a few other states that are so call tax friendly

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 4:15 PM, Wonderwoman41 wrote:

    The truth about Texas is that if you do not own a home, you will pay the least amount of taxes because you do not have property taxes. You ONLY have cosumption taxes! THERE IS NO STATE TAXES IN THE GREAT LONE STAR STATE OF TEXAS!

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 6:04 PM, Reggie22 wrote:

    Liberal math does not add up. Texas, Washington and Florida have no state income tax. Left leaning financially broke states like CT have both income and sales tax, as in sales tax for everything, nothing is exempt. Once in a while In CT they will exempt clothing for one week and make a big deal about it. Even assuming the poor do not pay income taxes, how are they getting screwed in states where there is no sales tax? Are you trying to say the states with no sales tax inflates other fees on the poor? If so those fees are mainly the burden of middle class and the "evil" wealthy. Did you take into account housing subsidies, and other handouts? Look, I don't mind helping the poor, but I mind mindlessly handing over hard earned cash to able bodied, multi generational career welfare recipients in a state whose policies attracts more of the same.

    BTW, the source of the stats cited here, Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, is funded in part by the Annie Casey Foundation which also contributes heavily to NPR so there is likely a liberal bias at work.

    Actually this article was somewhat useful. It helped me identify states which I might consider for retirement such as Texas, Florida and Washington. The author did succeed in amusing me as well.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 6:22 PM, mkelly85 wrote:

    Wow...4 blue states are in there....thought they were the perfect progressive examples of wealth redistribution...well maybe for the rich...but lets screw the poor!

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 6:43 PM, Neminsis wrote:

    ...and these are the stories that you tell yourselves to justify what exactly?

    Food might not be taxed but it is a higher PERCENTAGE of your income the lower your income goes and the resultant need for toilet paper is taxed.

    Most of the people in Congress just happen to be millionaires and frankly you don't see many in state office that aren't doing quite well for themselves...of course it's the wealthy that are responsible for our present tax inequities. They are literally the ones writing the tax codes local AND federal.

    And for those of you thinking that the poor are sucking all the money out of the system consider the fact that in a country of 300+ million people less than 100k people own 50% of all the assets in this country and most of that isn't even taxed, used to pay someones wages or even buy american products...It just sits there in an overseas bank account like some high score in a perverse video game to be bragged about until it can be given to their heirs, whom haven't worked a day in their lives or seen hardship of any kind.

    One of the founding principles of this country was that birthright didn't entitle you to anything and yet most of the posters here seem to defend the 'royals' as if they were defending themselves....

    Money always flows upwards and the privileged will always seek to retain their privilege.

    Sooner or later all the money ends up on one side of the scale...and then what?

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 7:26 PM, NotaLiberal wrote:

    this article is so false it's amusing ! Texas, the state I live in, has NO state TAX....but in this article it says that "Texas" taxes the poor the most . If any of you believe this , please seek some help . In Texas EVERYONE PAYS THE SAME RATE AT THE STORE !!!!!!!!!!!!! It doesn't matter if you are a millionaire, or have one dollar, it is all the SAME! Property Taxes are based on the value of your house and the houses surrounding you . Poor looking house= lower tax amount . Great looking house =more taxes . It is all the same percentile ..the ACTUAL value of your house determines what that monetary amount is . If not mistaken, it is around five percentage . It doesn't matter if its worth a dollar or 100k will pay five percent of what its worth...........PERIOD. Texan's pay taxes on what they buy only , not to include ANY food products . This article is spun with nothing more than fabrications and outright lies and if you believe it ...well, sucks to be you

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 7:40 PM, GMABREAK wrote:

    I know for a fact that two of these states, Florida and Texas does not have income tax. They have property tax and sales tax. I know some states have sales, property, income and personal property taxes as well as, county and city taxes. This article must be written by an idiot

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 9:59 PM, airjackie wrote:

    Well Gov. Perry pretty much said that during the campaign as he spoke of Texas economy being fine as companies hire and at low wages and these people pay high taxes. He explain the low cost of lving allows for this. My sister retired and looked at Texas for an appartment. Shocker is a three bedroom apartment cost is 650 dollars. Sweet as a one bedroom apartment in California is 1,200 dollars, NJ one bedroom 900 dollars and please don't ask about New York. Once we get a Republican President all 50 States will have poor and immigrants paying even higher tax rates as their will be no Middle Class.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:30 PM, Reggie22 wrote:

    Hey Nemisis: Your points support the idealized version of a utopian society where to each is given according to need and from each is expected according to ability. On the surface it sounds marvelous, and why not? Well,in reality it has a name. Have you ever lived under Communism? My family fled Communist China. The only reason China is doing relatively well today (they own most of our debt) is because in the 1970's they recognized the fallacy of the socialist/centralized economy and embraced capitalism, whereas we, ironically, have discarded capitalism and embraced socialism. You deride the wealthy as inherently evil but you miss the point that the American dream is about having the opportunities to work hard, study hard and obtain wealth. Socialism has been discredited in every country that has tried it, either the extreme version of it (former Soviet Union, current North Korea) or the softer version (Greece, France, ,Cyprus, etc.) Can you blame the wealthy for off shore accounts? Who wants to work hard, take risks, be stressed out of their minds, lose their shirts, pick themselves up and start all over again, create jobs for others, finally achieve wealth just to hand it over to a socialist regime who uses it to buy the votes ? You denounce the fact that more wealth is concentrated in few. Well, when our system attracts professional hand out recipients, that ratio will only increase. By the way, I'm not wealthy, I'm proudly middle class, I'm not defending the wealthy, I'm defending the American Dream and the Constitution which makes it possible.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2013, at 10:32 PM, TXObjectivist75 wrote:

    This article is complete BS. The sales tax I pay each year is less than it would cost me to register my two cars in CA (i keep track for the federal deduction). My property tax rate is 2% and I live in one of the nicer suburbs of Dallas. Gas is on the lower side of the national average. The unemployment rate is lower than the national average even with an influx of 1.7 mil people moving into the state and workforce over recent years. The west TX oil fields are booming. So what are we doing wrong here?

  • Report this Comment On April 23, 2013, at 2:51 AM, Neminsis wrote:

    It's funny how ones own expectations can color any interpretations we might make eh?

    It's called "confirmation bias" Reggie. Let me demonstrate if I may how it works.

    My nick here is not "Nemisis" which is a homophone for "nemesis", meaning "enemy" but Neminsis, which is a number of puns, none of which means enemy but was close enough in your mind to stop you from looking any deeper.

    You continue this pattern by going on to reference things that I never said as if I've said them or as if you just know my "type" so well that you don't even need to really think about what I actually said and can do all my speaking for me.

    I at no point deride 'wealth' but instead and rather directly deride wasting resources on the pointless and counter productive displays of egoistic avarice of simply amassing fortunes just to let them lay stagnant and unused only to pass them on to heirs that have done nothing to earn them beyond being born.

    It's not being reinvested. It's not going to someones wages or someones product. It's not keeping the system going but instead threatening to choke off demand so completely that the entire game stops and those massive piles of cash lose their value completely.

    Although I'm not really an advocate of communism I'd point out that what it's detractors seem to fear most is the exact same top down control and cronyism that capitalism is also famous for or that without the carrot of potential wealth and the stick of potential starvation that very few would make any effort at all.

    Any that believe this ought to take a closer look at humanity and the lengths that we will go to on principle, out of love for each other, for acclaim or just out of sheer boredom.

    Many, many times in history, empire after empire, kingdom after kingdom has crumbled when the concentration of wealth became so top heavy that the entire thing just shut down.

    History repeats itself simply by forgetting the hard lessons that it teaches or the folly of thinking "it can't happen to me".

    I'm not anti-capitalist, I'm anti-stupid-capitalist and that my friend is an entirely different animal.

    And as an aside and since you felt the need to point out your economic status I'll do the same.

    I'm a very poor man, born into difficult circumstance and beset by misfortune since my first gasp of air.

    Does this somehow change the value of my words for you?

  • Report this Comment On April 23, 2013, at 8:22 AM, GorfTheFrog wrote:

    I've seen a number of folks highlight that Texans don't pay tax on grocery food or medical. However, I have not yet seen anyone highlight the annual tax holiday on clothing.

    Once a year Texas declares a tax holiday on all clothing related items. This comes at the start of the school year and also includes such items as backpacks.

    People pack the stores on the tax holiday, and the stores stock up on all types of clothing related items in anticipation.

    Yet another benefit of the Lone Star State!

  • Report this Comment On April 23, 2013, at 8:33 AM, Grandpastu wrote:

    Remember, the laws are written by the rich members of the States' Congresses under the guidance and direction of the rich party's lobbyists. I wouldn't think, therefore, that they are written to benefit the poor or middle classes in any way. The average ctizen takes it in the shorts again. By the way, research "Tax Free New Hampshire" when you have time. I retired to Tennessee from NH for obvious reasons!

  • Report this Comment On April 23, 2013, at 10:00 AM, AJermo wrote:

    Very poorly written with little to no supporting evidence. The examples given don't mathematically add up to the conclusions stated for each state. It might be that the article was edited down for size which resulted in a loss of supporting content.

    If not then the article is only opinion due to a lack of accurate and complete supporting data.

  • Report this Comment On April 23, 2013, at 10:44 AM, DonkeyJunk wrote:

    Lots of hilarious comments here trying to justify the poor paying out a larger percentage of their income in taxes than the wealthy. Interesting article. FANTASTIC comment board.

  • Report this Comment On April 23, 2013, at 10:46 AM, CandyBandit wrote:

    How did Texas make the list and Louisiana didn't?? Louisiana has income tax, sales tax, property tax, etc. In fact, people who live in west Louisiana often drive to Houston or Dallas once a month to stock up on groceries. Even after the gasoline expense, it still works out cheaper for many people. This is especially the case for those living in small towns where Wal-Mart destroyed all other business and preys on the poor and middle class by keeping food prices unnecessarily inflated. Milk at $4 per gallon- "everyday low price" my a$$... Food shopping in the cities of Houston and Dallas are also a better option west La. residents with dietary restrictions (try finding low-carb, gluten free products in La. hick towns).

    Secondly, KNOW YOUR POOR! I see a lot of indiscriminate poor bashing on this comment section. NOT all poor people are eligible for welfare benefits. Get it?? No?? Got Craniorectal Disorder?? Yes?? Here's a treatment option, it's called Reality Check!

    If you don't have kids, you **don't** get welfare, which means childless women and men are most likely working or looking for work- unless they're disabled, retired or born with silver spoons in their mouths.

    The working, childless poor (yeah, they exist) are, at most, eligible for food stamps- usually a sum under $200 per month that is subject to decrease or termination depending on amount of wages earned.

    Unemployment benefits are the only other federally funded assistance an able bodied, childless person under 65 might be eligible for. In order to be eligible for unemployment benefits, you have to have a **work** history. If you've never worked, or have a scanty work history, you won't get unemployment benefits.

    Furthermore, the benefits are temporary, less than previous wages (meaning those who earned below poverty level to start with aren't getting much at all) and your former employer has the option of challenging your case to prevent you from getting unemployment, so even if you were a model worker, your application can be railroaded if your former boss is a sadistic waste of space.

    Once those benefits are exhausted, you get NOTHING and Uncle Sam doesn't give a crap that all the jobs (except those requiring VERY expensive 4-8 year college degrees) have been sent to 3rd world sewers and you don't have the money to relocate.

    Got it now?? NOT all poor are enjoying a free ride on the welfare gravy train. Some people are sane and ethical enough NOT to produce kids they can't feed, but such people get bashed all the same by spoiled, rich mama's boys who've never had to shovel manure, scrub toilets, wait tables or change oil for a living **because they got a free ride on the Mommy & Daddy gravy train!**

    Funny how these mama's boys absolutely LOATHE the poor, but will be completely screwed if the working poor get sick of their crap and go on a massive strike.

    Who's going to flip your lard burger?

    Who's going to scrub the toilets at your favorite watering hole?

    Who's going to clean the back room at the strip joint/cat house so you can comfortably indulge in some extra-marital paraphilia?

    Who's going to change the brakes, oil and tires on your gas guzzling *compensation for inadequacy* show piece?

    Ask yourself that next time you fly into a rage because minimum wage got hiked...

    By the way, Democrats and Republicans are BOTH parties of prostitutes and pimps who will sell themselves and their mothers for a quick buck. They've already sold the country and your children's futures to corporate pigs in exchange for legal bribes called "campaign donations." If you're voting "red" or "blue" you might as well not vote at all.

    There ARE alternatives, but going into detail about Libertarians or the Green Party might cause rectal discomfort since it would challenge the blind faith everyone seems to have in the current government and economic system...

    And no, we don't need an impartial environmental regulatory body, we can live *just fine* without clean air, clean water and clean soil now that pollution induced cancer is a right of passage! Nincompoops!

  • Report this Comment On April 23, 2013, at 4:55 PM, Laniel wrote:

    I am amazed at the number of logons created just to post a comment on this article; and at the number of comments from different individuals written with the same poor grammar.

  • Report this Comment On April 26, 2013, at 8:13 AM, The1MAGE wrote:

    Is anyone else getting tired of all the hate the rich articles?

    There have been a ton of them recently, and they all seem to have some sort of flawed argument. Especially since they all ignore income mobility.

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