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Steve Winter
State Representative District 3

November 12, 2011
"Who pays taxes"

Steven Winter represents the towns of Newbury and Sutton, Merrimack District 3, in the NH House of Representatives.

Representative Winter is a member of the House Executive Department & Administration  Committee, The Special Committee on Public Employee Pension Reform and the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR).


"64% Say Middle Class Americans Pay the Largest Share of Income Taxes" 
Ė Rasmussen Poll (March, 2011)

Most Americans continue to believe the middle class pays more in taxes than those who are wealthy, according to Rasmussen. That is one of the reasons that the Obama call for "more taxes on the rich" has gathered a number of supporters. They ask why it isnít time for the wealthy in the United States to start paying their fair share.

Yes, it would be time for the rich to pay their fair share, if the above statement were true. But it is not true. The National Tax Foundation has issued a chart showing who pays taxes and what percentage of total taxes is paid by which groups.

We have a highly progressive tax system in the United States. That means that the wealthier you are, the higher percentage of your income you must pay to the government in income taxes. The National Tax Foundation chart shows that the wealthiest 1% in our country pay 38% of all income taxes received by the United States government. Those who are among the top 5% of the wealthiest pay 59% and those who are among the top 10% of the wealthiest pay 70%.

The upper middle class of taxpayers, who rank at 11%-25% on the list of wage earners, pay 16% while those ranked in the 26% to 50% pay 11% of the total. The bottom 50% of earners pay just 3% and there are studies showing that up to 48% of the citizens, or nearly half of this country, pay no income tax whatsoever and some actually earn money from the tax code.

I believe that those 48% of tax filers who pay no income tax should have at least some skin in the game. Why should the other half of their fellow countrymen pay for the blessings we all enjoy in this country? Freedom is not free. There should be at least a minimal amount paid by everyone to fund our government, even from the very poor.

What about a flat tax? Itís appealing. I would appreciate being able to file my tax return on a post card. But I believe there would need to be at least a modicum of progressivity in its structure. The removal of most of the deductions currently allowed would result in a much lower tax rate than we currently have, but it would still not be low enough to be affordable to the poor. There would need to be lower rates at the bottom end of the scale.

Incidentally, if we were ever unfortunate enough to be saddled with a state income tax, it could not be progressive like the federal income tax. Part II, Article 5 of our state constitution is explicit in requiring that all taxes be proportional in the state and its governmental sub-divisions: counties, cities, towns, and districts. We would have to have a flat tax in New Hampshire and all taxpayers throughout the state would be required to pay the same rate.



Steve Winter, Representative, Merrimack District 3
Newbury and Sutton, New Hampshire 

Telephone:  603-271- 3125 and 271-3319

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