ON-Lion Letter
"[F]ederal, state and local governments raise revenues in a number of ways that are regressive, taking a greater portion of the incomes of the poor than the rich," according to a comprehensive June study by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) in Dallas.  "In some cases, the total dollar amounts paid by the poor are higher than the amounts paid by the rich."

Taxing the Poor:  A Report on Tobacco, Alcohol, Gambling, and Other Taxes and Fees That Disproportionately Burden Lower-Income Families is a research product of NCPA's Task Force on Taxing the Poor.  Its lead author is Michael L. Davis, an NCPA senior fellow and lecturer at the Edwin L. Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

The dollar amount spent on state-run lotteries by individuals earning less than $10,000 annually is twice as much as those annually earning more than $100,000, for example, Taxing the Poor reports.  Taxes on beer, wine, and liquor also burden the poor disproportionately.  So too are excise taxes imposed on "necessities," such as gasoline, utilities, and telephone services.

"The lowest fifth of income earners spend nearly one-third of their income on alcohol, tobacco, utilities and gasoline, on the average.  By contrast, the highest earners spend just 6 percent of their income on these items," the study notes.  "Thus taxes on these products are especially burdensome to the poor."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports NCPA.
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