Report: Tax Burden Shifting off Wealthy onto Everyone Else

Press Release from United for a Fair Economy
For immediate release - April 7, 2004
Contact: Christina Kasica, (617) 423-2148 x119

Bush Tax Cuts = Tax Shifts

New UFE Report: Tax Burden Shifting off Wealthy onto Everyone Else

$197 Billion in Tax Cuts to Top 1% of U.S. Taxpayers as Big as States’ Budget Shortfalls of $200 Billion

Or, email">Betsy Leondar-Wright to receive a copy by return e-mail.

BOSTON – A new report, entitled “Shifty Tax Cuts: How They Move the Tax Burden off the Rich and onto Everyone Else,” from United for a Fair Economy (UFE) indicates that between 2002 and 2004, the Bush tax cuts to the top 1% of U.S. income earners redirected billions of dollars in revenue that could have eliminated virtually all of the budget shortfalls in the states.

“Congress had the option to send aid to the states to prevent $200 billion worth of service cuts and regressive tax increases,” said Chris Hartman, UFE’s research director. “Instead, they gave tax breaks totaling roughly the same amount to multi-millionaires and the rest of the top 1%.”

The report identifies five main areas of shifting tax burden:

FEDERAL TO STATE – a 15% shift in tax burden between 2000 and 2003

PROGRESSIVE TO REGRESSIVE – at the federal level, a 17% decline in the share of revenue from progressive taxes and a 135% increase in the share of revenue from regressive taxes since 1962

WEALTH TO WORK – A tax cut on unearned income – such as inheritance or investment – of between 31% and 79%, but a tax hike on work income of 25% since 1980

CORPORATIONS TO INDIVIDUALS – a 67% drop in the share of federal revenues contributed by corporations and a 17% rise in individuals’ share

CURRENT TAXPAYERS TO FUTURE GENERATIONS – record deficits that shift the tax burden to our children and grandchildren

“When President Bush and Congress trumpet, ”˜Here’s a tax cut', we say, ”˜Taxpayer beware!’ said Chuck Collins, United for a Fair Economy co-founder. “Unless you are super-rich, it’s a tax SHIFT, not a cut. Non-wealthy taxpayers will pay for these tax cuts with increased state and local taxes or cuts in public services.”

“Between 2002 and 2004, a full $197 billion in new tax breaks went to the top 1% of American taxpayers,” Hartman commented. “This is money that has disappeared into the pockets of the very wealthy, making it unavailable to solve ongoing budget crises at the state and local levels.”

“I got a rebate check last summer for $400,” said Collins. “Then my eight-year-old’s public school asked me to contribute money to replace worn-out chairs for the students. At the same time, I found out they laid off the librarian because of budget cuts. What good is a $400 tax cut when parents have to cough up additional money for chairs and books or else see their children go without?”

The report concludes that the total federal, state and local tax burden has become increasingly the responsibility of middle-and low-income families in recent decades, and that revenues being generated by taxes are not sufficient to pay for existing public services. Work in particular is being taxed at a higher rate than investment. “I do a lot of work in predominantly Latino areas of Boston,” said UFE Education Specialist Gloribell Mota. “Residents there are the working poor – they have jobs and pay taxes – yet are getting pennies in tax cuts and seeing health care services they depend on slashed.”

“The Bush administration has followed a strategy of starving public services by pulling tax money away from education and housing and giving it away to multi-millionaires,” said Karen Kraut, UFE’s State Tax Partnership director. “States are suffering as a result, and people are going without essential services in order to fund the lifestyles of the rich.”

The report calls for tax reforms to improve the fairness of tax distribution and ensure adequate revenues. Concerned Americans are urged to pass resolutions in their cities and towns to stop the tax cuts and restore local services that have been affected, to call and write their congressional representatives to take action to stop the cuts, and to sign the Tax Fairness Pledge at

The co-authors of the report are Chuck Collins, UFE Co-founder; Chris Hartman, UFE Research Director; Karen Kraut, Director of UFE’s State Tax Partnerships; and Gloribell Mota, UFE Education Specialist.

United for a Fair Economy is an independent national non-profit that raises awareness of growing economic inequality.

Posted in: