A Few Points on Singleton’s Op-Ed

Tax man should be more efficient Singleton’s a smart guy — and so I have to assume that he recognizes the following, pretty obvious points:

His editorial addresses only income taxes, ignoring that the income tax makes up only a portion of the total package of taxes that people pay — In fact, it only funds about 10% of the total revenues of state and local governments in RI.

On the whole, taxes in Rhode Island are regressive, meaning poorer people pay a greater percentage of their income than do wealthier people. The lowest-earning 20% of the population pays 13% of its income in taxes, while the wealthiest 1% pays only 6% of its income in taxes. (There’s more info up on OSA’s site.)

Fair tax structures are progressive, with people paying a higher percentage as income rises. The stats that Singleton cites simply demonstrate that RI’s income tax, when taken alone, is progressive — and this is the point of those who are advocating for the structural reforms that Singleton decries: A shift towards progressive income taxes, and away from regressive property taxes, would yield a reduction in taxes for most Rhode Islanders, even if the same total amount of money were colleceted.

1 thought on “A Few Points on Singleton’s Op-Ed”

  1. To address the bold text that just jumped out at me, you are right on… the lowest earners pay the higher percentage out of their income. So, without focusing on the proportion of income tax to total tax revenue because it gets to be kinda crazy and considering that everyone in RI gets to make their own individual call on whether the taxes they pay to the state are reasonable or fair, let keep it simple. Where will the tax collector get the most money to fund our massive state government? Is it the big percentage of the smallest incomes or the small percentage of the biggest incomes? Simple! The taxes on my 18k earned in ’07 is not keeping the streetlights on. So I gotta say its no wonder the highest earners in places like RI and Cali are hitting the road for less restrictive states like Tenn. and NV with lower or no state income tax? They stand to lose the most when the taxes go up, or when the economy goes down. And your shift, as stated in the last paragraph, is correct in theory… the only problem is the same total amount would not be collected because any further tax increases on any segment of Rhode Islanders would increase the incentive for some to move away. And when top earning taxpayers decide to leave, that’s a net loss for Rhode Island. Just sayin…

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