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By Steve Levy

All Families Pay Taxes

Uploaded: Sep 15, 2011

Every so often someone on Town Square asserts that half of the population does not pay taxes. They see that many families do not earn enough to owe state or federal income taxes and take a giant leap of logic to claim that these residents pay no taxes.

This leap is obviously not true and in its falseness is insulting to many families who pay little or no income taxes but plenty of other taxes.

Residents pay sales taxes, fuel taxes, property taxes (it is in your rent), taxes on tobacco and alcohol, and most residents pay Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. And there are lots of other taxes and fees we pay to fund our local, state and federal government.

Even people who cheat on their income tax pay lots of taxes. And people who are unfortunate to be unemployed still pay all the other taxes listed above.

Our income taxes are mildly progressive. Higher income residents normally pay a higher share of their income for income taxes.

But for most other taxes, lower income residents pay a higher share of their income even though they pay fewer dollars compared to higher income families.

This is true in most cases for sales taxes, fuel taxes and taxes on tobacco and alcohol as these purchases usually represent a larger share of income for lower income residents. So on an overall tax basis our system is only very mildly progressive at best and low income families pay nearly the same share of income in total taxes as most other families.

What this leap in logic is often accompanied by is the claim that residents who don't pay income taxes (falsely represented as not paying any taxes) are unjustly taking from folks who pay income taxes.

Posters are entitled to their politics but not to their facts. The claim that half or even 10% of families don't pay taxes is just false.