February 14, 2019
It is well known that the bulk of the federal tax cuts flowed to the highest-earning households, who received the largest tax cut both in terms of real dollars and also as a share of income. But as our analysis with Prosperity Now reveals, solely examining the tax law in the context of class misses a bigger-picture story about how the nation’s public policies not only perpetuate widening income and wealth inequality, they also preserve historic and current injustices that continue to allow white communities to build wealth while denying the same level of opportunity (and often suppressing it) to communities of color.
February 5, 2019
America has long needed a more equitable tax code that raises enough revenue to invest in building shared prosperity. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), enacted at the end of 2017, moved the federal tax code in the opposite direction, reducing revenue by $1.9 trillion over a decade, opening new loopholes, and providing its most significant benefits to the well-off. The law cut taxes on the wealthy directly by reducing their personal income taxes and estate taxes, and indirectly by reducing corporate taxes.
January 23, 2019
A federal wealth tax on the richest 0.1 percent of Americans is a viable approach for Congress to raise revenue and is one of the few approaches that could truly address rising inequality. As this report explains, an annual federal tax of only 1 percent on the portion of any taxpayer’s net worth exceeding the threshold for belonging to the wealthiest 0.1 percent (likely to be about $32.2 million in 2020) could raise $1.3 trillion over a decade.
February 14, 2019
Happy Valentine’s Day to all lovers of quality research, sound fiscal policy, and progressive tax reforms! This week, some leaders in ARKANSAS displayed their infatuation with the rich by advancing regressive tax cuts, but others in the state are trying to show some love to low- and middle-income families instead. WISCONSIN lawmakers are devoted to tax reductions for the middle class but have not yet decided how to express those feelings. NEBRASKA legislators are playing the field, flirting with several very different property tax and school funding proposals. And VIRGINIA’s legislators and governor just decided to settle for a flawed tax conformity deal rather than hold out for something better. Meanwhile, NEW YORK and Amazon have cancelled their engagement to one another for now.
ITEP Work in Action
February 14, 2019
An analysis of all the tax breaks in Wisconsin from 2011 through 2016 by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found the average tax reduction was $10,015 for the top 1 percent of taxpayers, and $1,806 for the next 4 percent of taxpayers versus $379 for the middle 20 percent of taxpayers and just $175 for the bottom 20 percent of taxpayers.
February 14, 2019
Maine Free Press: Mills Budget Provides More School Funding, Fails to Fully Fund Revenue Sharing & Keeps LePage’s Tax Cuts
The liberal-leaning Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) praised Mills for her support for Medicaid expansion, but criticized the proposal for failing to reverse LePage’s income tax cuts for the wealthy. Last year, MECEP and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) released a report that found that tax cuts passed during the LePage administration will cost the state $864 million in revenue this biennium. About half of the tax breaks went to the top 20 percent of earners while the bottom 20 percent received less than 5 percent of the benefit, the analysis found.
February 13, 2019
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), enacted by President Trump and Congressional Republicans at the end of 2017, has caused quite a bit of confusion, and a recent “Fact Checker” column by the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler does not help. TCJA created real problems that can’t be resolved without real tax reform. To begin that process fact checkers, lawmakers, and everyone else need to be clear about what TCJA did, and did not, do to our tax system.
Poorest 20 percent pay a 50 percent higher effective state and local tax rate than the top 1 percent ITEP’s sixth edition of Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax System in All 50 States finds that most state and local tax systems continue to tax low- and middle-income households at higher rates than the wealthy.
State policy toward cannabis is evolving rapidly and lawmakers have a responsibility to structure these taxes properly in light of the best available evidence. As more states consider legalization, a new ITEP report analyzes the past five years of cannabis taxation and provides policy recommendations for states moving forward.
Since 2000, tax cuts have reduced federal revenue by trillions of dollars and disproportionately benefited well-off households. From 2001 through 2018, significant federal tax changes have reduced revenue by $5.1 trillion, with nearly two-thirds of that flowing to the richest fifth of Americans.
Repealing the 2017 tax law’s cap on SALT deductions without replacing it with a different type of limit would pile one bad policy on top of the other, annually add $88B to the $2T deficit-financed tax law, and mostly benefit the wealthy, new report finds.
A newly released report by Prosperity Now and the Institution on Taxation and Economic Policy, Race, Wealth and Taxes: How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Supercharges the Racial Wealth Divide, finds that the TCJA not only adds unnecessary fuel to the growing problem of overall economic inequality, but also supercharges an already massive racial wealth divide to an alarming extent.
Whether it’s at the state or federal level, ITEP produces careful research and in-depth analyses of tax policies, and provides a voice for working people in tax policy debates. State advocates, policymakers and media often use our work to inform public discourse on current and proposed tax policies.
ITEP’s federal policy resources provide quantitative and qualitative research and analysis on current tax policies, proposals, and reform options. Its distributional analyses highlight how tax proposals will affect low-income, middle-class and wealthy Americans nationally and in all 50 states.
State taxes pay for essential public services, from education to health care. But the ideal design of a tax system is complicated. ITEP’s state policy resources offer insights into central issues, including the impact of state tax systems on individuals, families, and businesses. Its work also analyzes the sustainability of revenue sources over time.
Corporate Tax Research
ITEP’s corporate tax research examines the tax practices of Fortune 500 companies. Besides its corporate study on average effective tax rates paid by the nation’s largest, most profitable corporations, ITEP produces research on subjects such as offshore cash holdings, tax haven abuse, executive stock options and other tax loopholes.
The truth is, if lawmakers truly wanted to craft a tax overhaul that would benefit working people most, they would have started from fundamentally different principles and developed policies that would provide true tax relief for all working families while shutting down favorable tax treatment for rich people.