Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Is Texas education progress endangered by missing information?

According to a spreadsheet provided by the U.S. Census Bureau at www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2011/tables/11s0445.xls, in Houston, families with $25,000 incomes pay 9.9% of income toward state and local taxes while those with $150,000 incomes pay only 4.4% toward the same state and local taxes.

This is called a regressive tax, one wherein the poor pay a greater percentage of their income than the wealthy.  Texas is one of the 10 states with the most regressive tax system in the nation. More details about this pattern begin on page 8 of the report titled "Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States," at http://www.itepnet.org/whopays3.pdf. This study shows on page 102 that Texas requires families in the bottom 20 percent of the income scale to pay more than three-and-a-half times as great a share of their earnings in taxes as families in the top one percent.

I have spoken with about 20 people these past 48 hours about these numbers. All were amazed.  The extend of the regressive tax pattern in Texas is not well known by the public.  I would welcome information from anyone aware of reports and data showing that the Texas tax system is not as severely regressive as indicated by these numbers. Please email me at bbetzen@aol.com if you know where such information is located online.  I will link to it here.

The Texas Legislature is planning to lessen the education resources available to the 4,800,000 children in Texas public schools, and thereby forcing our children to have something less in their educational process.  This endangers the education progress Texans have enjoyed these past 5 years.  It endangers the future of Texas. We must have all such information, like tax rates related to income level and other details of the regressive tax system in Texas, very visible and publicly known.  Let the people know the numbers, and then let them decide what they think of the decisions made in Austin.

Again, please send corrections and/or better sources for such state and local tax rate information for Texas to bbetzen@aol.com.  All voters need to know.