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November 12, 2019 RAPID RESPONSE

Economic, Gender, & Racial Inequality in State and Local Tax Systems

Over the past four decades, wealth has increasingly concentrated among the highest-income households. These households are disproportionately White and male. In 2018, three White men held aggregate wealth greater than the aggregate wealth of one-half of Americans. The median White household has 41 times more wealth than the median Black household and 22 times more wealth than the median Latinx household. On average, women earn less than men in all industries. The largest pay gaps are in management, in which men earned $88,000 on average in 2016, compared to $55,000 for women. At the intersection of race and gender the gaps are even more shocking. Women of color are disproportionately poor suffering poverty rates of 21.4% Black women, 18.7% Latinas, and 22.8% Native American women, as compared to 7% for White men The United States exhibits wider disparities of wealth than any other major developed nation. 

Most state and local tax systems worsen inequality. The lower one’s income, the higher one’s overall effective state and local tax rate. On average, the lowest-income 20% of taxpayers face a state and local tax rate more than 50% higher than the top 1% of households. The nationwide average effective state and local tax rate is 11.4% for the lowest-income quintile of individuals and families, 9.9% for the middle quintile, and 7.4% for the top 1%. Three nationally recognized expert panelists provide a deep dive into these tax issues including how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act exacerbates the impact of regressive state and local tax systems on inequality.



Co-Sponsor: ABA Section of State and Local Government


Presentations: Lisa Christensen Gee, Bridget Crawford, Kirk Stark

Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States
Courtesy of Lisa Christensen Gee

Gender and the Tax Code
Courtesy of Lisa Christensen Gee

Moving Toward More Equitable State Tax Systems: A “Who Pays?” Follow-Up Report on Tax Policy Options for Advancing Equity and Addressing Income Inequality
Courtesy of Lisa Christensen Gee

State Tax Codes As Poverty Fighting Tools:  2019 Update on Four Key Policies in All 50 States
Courtesy of Lisa Christensen Gee

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