A legislative study reaffirms what many anti-poverty advocates have long argued: Connecticut’s middle and lower classes pay a larger percentage of their income to the government than the rich.
The information comes from a staff report prepared for the Program Review and Investigations Committee, a bipartisan legislative group that studies the inner workings of state government and policy. The committee commissioned this tax report earlier this year.Connecticut tax filers making between $60,000 and $97,000 per year pay an estimated 10.7 percent of their wages in state and local property taxes, according to the report. The bottom wage earners who make less than $21,000 a year pay 10.3 percent of their money to the government.However, filers making $471,000 or more- the top 1 percent of the wage scale- pay only 6.4 percent of their wages in taxes, the report said. These figures were originally released in a 2003 national study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. In trying to figure out just what makes a fair tax system, a progressive structure is the goal, the committee staff notes.“There is general agreement that a fair tax system minimizes regressivity, placing less tax burden on lower-income taxpayers,” the report said. Connecticut’s income tax is progressive, meaning people who make more money pay a higher tax rate. However, the state’s sales and excise tax rates are highly regressive, because they do not vary based on how much an individual earns. A person making $500,000 per year pays the same 6 percent sales tax on a magazine as someone making $50,000 each year. That means regressive take a bigger percentage bite out of an individual’s income if they make less money.“It appears Connecticut’s income tax is more progressive than either the sales or property taxes, but its impact is not enough to make the entire system a progressive one,” the legislative report said. This tidbit is just a fraction of a voluminous report on the state tax structure that is sure to provide fodder for legislative debate. The committee has scheduled a public hearing to discuss its staff’s findings Thursday, October 27 at 12 p.m. in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.