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Bar graph showing the average shares of 2010 income different income groups paid in state and local taxes, across all states. Poorest 20 percent paid 11.1 percent, top 1 percent paid 5.6 percent.
According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy's new study on who pays how much in state and local taxes:
Combining all of the state and local income, property, sales and excise taxes state residents pay, the average overall effective tax rates by income group nationwide are 11.1 percent for the bottom 20 percent, 9.4 percent for the middle 20 percent and 5.6 percent for the top 1 percent.
In Washington, the most regressive state, the poorest 20 percent of the population pays 16.9 percent of its income in state and local taxes while the richest 1 percent pays just 2.8 percent. By contrast, in Vermont, the most progressive state, the poorest 20 percent pays 8.7 percent while the richest 1 percent pays 8 percent—still a lower percent, but a whole lot more fair.

There's more of the week's news below the fold.

The grand scheme of things

  • Josh Eidelson looks at the rise of alt-labor:
    As unions face declining membership these workers’ groups—like the mostly union-free job sectors they organize—are on the rise, particularly in New York. Because of their efforts, more restaurant workers in the city get paid sick days, domestic workers receive overtime pay, and taxi drivers will soon have health insurance.

    Twenty years ago, when Rutgers labor professor Janice Fine first set out to count the nonunion groups that were organizing and mobilizing workers, she found just five in the entire country. Today, her tally stands at 214. These groups organize farmworkers and fashion models. They go by names like “workers’ centers” and “workers’ alliances.” Some are rooted in the immigrant-rights movement as much as the labor movement. Lacking the ability to engage in collective bargaining or enforce union contracts, these alternative labor groups rely on an overlapping set of other tactics to reform their industries.

A fair day's wage

  • Sarah Jaffe on the drive to organize fast food workers in New York City:
    Her name is Pamela Flood, and she works at the Burger King at 971 Flatbush Avenue. She was one of 200 or so workers at New York City’s fast-food restaurants that struck for a raise to $15 an hour and union recognition on that November day, kicking the simmering movement among the city’s lowest-wage workers up another level. She also works at a CVS and attends classes at night, holding down a 4.0 GPA as she studies to be a medical assistant, to better support her three children. Burger King pays her just $7.25 an hour.

    Flood drew cheers that day on the picket line when she demanded $15 an hour so that she could take her kids on vacation like the high-paid executives can. “I work hard for my money, I work hard for my kids, and I think we all deserve better,” she told me. “I’ll take two and three jobs to take care of my kids, but while I’m doing that I’m also going to stand up for what I believe in, and what I believe in is that we should be making way more than $7.25, because if a doorman, a security guard, and a janitor can make $12 to $15 an hour, why can’t we?”

  • The National Labor Relations Board Office of the General Counsel found the New York City school bus strike not unlawful.
  • About a year ago, Cablevision technicians in Brooklyn voted to unionize. They're still trying to get a contract with a viciously anti-union company that's refusing to bargain in good faith. Then Wednesday, Cablevision fired 23 workers who had gone to press management to bargain. Thursday morning, workers and their supporters, including Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, both mayoral candidates, rallied and tried to get management to talk to them.

    (Quinn still needs to let paid sick days come to a council vote, though.)

  • Just weeks after California-based port truck drivers at Toll Group won their first contract, including a raise, overtime pay, and pension contributions, another group of port drivers is trying to follow suit by joining the Teamsters:
    Delegates for 85 port drivers at American Logistics International hand-delivered a letter to their boss late yesterday afternoon telling him the news.
    The Toll Group example shows how hard the fight will be—and that victory is possible.
  • If you hold an event at a hotel and get a bill listing a service charge of around the percentage you would usually leave as a tip, it's not unreasonable to assume it's a tip, right? Not in San Antonio, where the service charge goes to management. And then workers don't get tipped because people assume that's what the service charge is for. Some workers even say they've been told by management to lie to customers who ask if the service charge is a tip.

    Workers and UNITE HERE are fighting back, petitioning for a Tip Integrity Act; they collected more than 3,700 signatures in the city's hospitality district.

  • A powerful NBA player agent is urging basketball players to dump the executive director of their union.
  • Bill Gates, "philanthropist," isn't just into terrible education policy, he's also an investor in waste management company Republic Services:
    According to the Teamsters union, which represents the employees of Republic Services, workers have been subject to lockouts for protesting against the destruction of already modest pensions, unpaid overtime, and illegally abandoning contracts agreed upon with the union. In 2012, Republic Services' practice of locking out protesting workers led to stoppages in at least 13 American cities.

State and local government

  • The good news is, the same ALEC-member Pennsylvania legislator has introduced the same basic bill repeatedly and Gov. Tom Corbett says he doesn't expect it to pass. The bad news is, it's a free rider bill and we've seen this whole "oh, it won't pass" thing before, in Michigan.
  • Speaking of crapitude in Pennsylvania, Corbett is pitting state liquor store workers against public school teachers.
  • A California warehouse was cited over $1 million for wage theft:
    The warehouse required employees to punch in but provided only three time clocks for their workers, resulting in long lines of more than 100 employees. Workers who arrived to work on time but waited in line to punch in were given “warnings” for punching in late. This created a situation where employees were obliged to report to work earlier and earlier, time for which they were not compensated. When employees punched out for their meal period, they were also required to stand in long lines, which cut into their 30-minute lunch break and forced them to come back early to punch back in. The company would alter their time records to reflect that the employees had been allotted the full 30-minute lunch break.


  • This is not new, but it's new to me, and a great discussion of why one Fordham University professor won't let Teach for America recruit from his classes anymore:
    Teach for America had accepted only four of the nearly one hundred Fordham students who applied.  I become even angrier when I read in the New York Times that TFA had accepted forty-four of one hundred applicants from Yale that year.  Something was really wrong if an organization which wanted to serve low-income communities rejected every applicant from Fordham, students who came from those very communities, and accepted half of the applicants from an Ivy League school where very few of the students, even students of color, come from working-class or poor families.

    Since then, the percentage of Fordham students accepted into Teach for America has marginally increased, but the organization has done little to win my confidence that it is seriously committed to recruiting people willing to make a lifetime commitment to teaching and administering schools in high-poverty areas.

    Never, in its recruiting literature, has Teach for America described teaching as the most valuable professional choice that an idealistic, socially-conscious person can make.  Nor do they encourage the brightest students to make teaching their permanent career; indeed, the organization goes out of its way to make joining TFA seem a like a great pathway to success in other, higher-paying professions.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 10:55 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Invisible People, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  But, but, butt.. "Job Creators!" (6+ / 0-)

    When a mantra gets old - Get a new one. Because Freedom.

    Praying to Job Creator and feeling like Job gets me all Old Testament and shit

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 11:09:09 AM PST

  •  We've gotta get these republicans... (6+ / 0-)

    out of power in these state legislatures and governorships.

    They do just as much damage(and nat'l GOP) but, largely, escape notice. Look at them destroying rights to unionize and disenfranchising voters(or rigging the way they award electoral votes).

    Dems aren't the "good guys," not by a long-shot. But the GOP are definitely the "bad guys."

    •  You know what they'd be saying after looking at (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, hnichols, dclawyer06

      that chart?

      That everone should be paying 5.6%.

      Of course that would starve local and state governments leading to things like bridges being closed until funds can be found to fix them, schools being closed creating even more crowded classroom conditions, parks being closed and fenced off.

      Not that it would bother republicans. They'd just create a new 'home shopping' dynamic where things like proximity to the nearest private school, commutes without bridge crossings, easy access to corporate toll roads, automatic membership withdrawals for the local mega-church, private, guarded 'community' parks, would be the new "find".

      The desire for some to want to live in an elevated, elite status above and apart from the rest of society has always been a blight on humanity. Republican-ism is just the latest incarnation.

      Physics is bulls**t. Don't let them fool you. Fire IS magic.

      by Pescadero Bill on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 11:46:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think everybody should be paying (0+ / 0-)

        About 8%. It's just about in the middle, and would make it much fairer.

        But to be really fair, there should be a base amount that's exempted, and one rate for the rest.

        That would effectively reduce the rate for the poor and raise it for the rich, because the poor would have a larger percentage that was exempt.

  •  Can someone explain to me... (8+ / 0-)

    when, exactly, teachers became the bogeyman?
    They get demonized by everyone in DC, and blamed for not solving all of society's ills.

    What a thankless job.

    •  Good question. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      solliges, dclawyer06

      All the teachers I know are dedicated professionals who have standards of integrity far higher than the politicians who routinely attack them for imagined partisan advantage.

      Take a poll to see which group is admired more by the American public: legislators or teachers.

      Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

      by Tim DeLaney on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 12:11:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Imagined partisan advantage? (0+ / 1-)
        Recommended by:
        Hidden by:

        Whilst both my parents were teachers and I have great respect for the profession, the problem is the teachers' unions. These evil organizations are attempting to do two really rotten things:

        a) They are using the dues of their union members to lobby legislators for things that have nothing to do with teaching per se

        b) They are protecting the interests of teachers that are bad and incapable of doing a good job.

        Now, don't get me wrong, there are bad administrators that are trying to hurt good teachers and they do need protection. But, the teachers unions use every method they can to protect the bad teachers and those are the ones that everyone is concerned about.


        •  If teacher's unions are "evil", (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          historys mysteries, Dirtandiron

          then the remedy that you are implicitly proposing is to abolish all teacher's unions. Teacher's wages would then be reduced to subsistence level. Is this what you want? Do you imagine that this is what's best for our children?


          Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

          by Tim DeLaney on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 06:57:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  That is not correct (0+ / 0-)
          They are using the dues of their union members to lobby legislators for things that have nothing to do with teaching per se
          Unions are not allowed to use member's dues for politics. That money comes from a Political Action Committee. Members who would like to donate to the PAC must sign a release saying they want to donate.

          Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

          by Dirtandiron on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 10:16:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  HRed for calling them evil (0+ / 0-)

          That is a personal attack as well as rw talking points

          Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

          by Dirtandiron on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 10:17:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Teachers became bogeymen because... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dclawyer06, Dirtandiron

      ...they're unionized and they're government workers.  Two categories that are both inherently evil to the conservative right.  And since they (along with firefighters and the police) were respected even by many who buy into the conservative line about "lazy, overpaid government workers", something just had to be done about it -- so they became the new scapegoats.

      One thing you can safely bet is that if the demonization of teachers is successful, the police and firefighters will be the next targets.

      And following shortly thereafter will be efforts by the right to privatize and outsource firefighting and police work as much as possible, just as they're currently working so hard to undermine public education.

      After all, any time the government does something right, it's just a slap at conservative ideology that says that the government is inefficient and ineffectual.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 03:07:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In MI (6+ / 0-)

    Republicans, who just got done eliminating the state business tax and making up the shortfall by taxing retirees' pensions and eliminating tax credits for children, as well as the state EITC, have decided the only way to fund the repairing of our crumbling roads and bridges is to raise the state sales tax by 33%, and/or increase car registration fees by 80% while raising the per gallon fuel tax. All regressive measures.

    Oh, and they recently cautioned that they really don't know if we should expect the tax shifting they've already done to result in job creation...

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 11:20:28 AM PST

  •  I'd like to think those statistics are not the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    whole story - local property taxes and state income taxes are deductible against Federal income eligible for Federal income tax.  Admittedly that only saves whatever your Federal income tax rate is...but I think that means it isn't really as bad as it sounds.  But that's bad enough.  So the least pay the most and the most pay the least.  When has it not been that way since the beginning of urban civilization around 2000 BC?

    •  Maybe you'd like to think that, but (4+ / 0-)

      my understanding is that it ain't true. The statistics include the "federal offset".

      This story is a national disgrace. And some states are currently considering repealing their income taxes and making up the difference with sales taxes.

      Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

      by Tim DeLaney on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 11:38:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  State taxes are deductible only if you itemize... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      freesia, richardvjohnson

      How many poor people itemize their taxes, as opposed to taking the standard deduction?  And if you're really poor, it's not like you're going to be paying a lot of income taxes that you could offset with those itemizations, anyway.

      So it proably really is as bad as it sounds.

      As an interesting side note, it's somewhat surprising that the most regressive state (Washington) is also a blue state.  I grew up in Washington and moved to Texas, and am surprised to see that Washington's tax system is apparently quite a bit more regressive than Texas (although both are bad).

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 03:15:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  For one thing, Washington state (0+ / 0-)

      doesn't have an income tax at all, so that has to be taken into consideration when looking at that stat

  •  Rachel Maddow reports Bobby Jindal &.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, weinerschnauzer, solliges

    ..Brownback (Kansas) are proposing eliminating income tax altogether.
    Maddow Blog

    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) recently unveiled an ambitious new approach to tax policy, in which his state would eliminate income and corporate taxes altogether, and replace the revenue through increased sales taxes. If you thought his plan couldn't get more offensive, think again.

    To shift the tax burden from income to purchases would, of course, be radically regressive, rewarding the rich and punishing the poor. The Tax Policy Center and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy both scrutinized Jindal's proposal, and concluded it would be a breathtaking experiment in redistribution of wealth -- in the wrong direction.
     - emphasis added

    Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

    Regressive tax. A direct hit to the most vulnerable people.

    After the 2012 elections, Jindal tried to position himself as someone who could help lead his party in a smarter direction, lamenting "dumbed-down conservatism." He neglected to mention he hopes to replace it with "callous and cruel conservatism."
    Jindal says he wants the GOP to stop talking crazy talk.
    So, along with teaching creationism, he does this instead.


  •  The regressive nature of state taxes (0+ / 0-)

    is a national disgrace. The best solution, IMHO, is to abolish sales and property taxes, and allow excise taxes only when the proceeds are earmarked (for example, gasoline taxes used strictly for road maintenance). If every state were forced to rely principally on income taxes, the playing field would be leveled.

    Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

    by Tim DeLaney on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 12:00:32 PM PST

    •  The problem is... (0+ / 0-)

      ...that the income tax in many states is not very progressive.

      I'm not personally familiar with state income taxes since I've lived pretty much my entire life in states (Texas, Washington) that don't have one -- but when I've seen tax tables for states that do, I'm consistently surprised at how low the top tax bracket starts.  I'm guessing it is probably a result of the state tax tables not being indexed to inflation, but the end result comes very close to being a flat tax in a lot of states.

      In addition, I can't help but wonder how high income taxes would end up being, because you would end up with county, city, and school district income taxes on top of the state income tax in order to make up for lost property tax revenue.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 03:19:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If every state had a flat income tax (0+ / 0-)

        as its principle source of revenue, then 50 of those states would have a fairer tax system than is now the case. Every last state in our union taxes the minimum wage worker at a higher rate than it taxes its millionaires.

        The same principle applies to county, city, township, and school district taxes. Taxing income, even with a flat income tax, is fairer than regressive sales taxes or (slightly less regressive) property taxes.

        The revenue has to be raised somehow. Should we tax the poor in preference to the rich?

        Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

        by Tim DeLaney on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 07:07:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Gross unfairness yet again in our American system (0+ / 0-)

    with most of us paying more and the super rich paying less.  We must rember this data when we are told how fair our tax system is by the bain dead GOP.

  •  The truth about Bush tax cuts (0+ / 0-)

    I discovered by chance. None other than Grover Norquist himself  supported and assisted Bush.  The first time we've seen tax cuts and war at the same time. The economy is already going south and many believed Bush actually CARED.  Deductions and allowances for the wealthy few, some actually RECEIVING tax returns, impacting revenue and spending.  This was planned and hidden under a veil of false generosity.
    Norquist makes his goal no secret: privatization of all government, except of course, health and related social services as these would not exist in his world.  At the same time, he was among the first to support increasing the defense budget,  an economic choice that stunned and was question around the world.
    It's been said Norquist alone has changed the GOP into the radicals we see today and I tend to agree. His best friends? Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed. He's never run for office, never been elected. That ANY individual be given this kind of control, ultimately affecting the lives of many is reprehensible.  Every action, every word is planned. Grover believes personal gain comes first.  Nothing sociopathic there!

     Our teachers carry a lot of responsibility. Their job includes far more than teaching the required level to kids.  School is where most kids begin learning social skills and guidance is needed. And now, a plan is required for safety and protection. Unreal.  They receive criticism and at best, what they do is minimized to nothing.  This is, for me, a topic I choose NOT to visit, because it puts me in an ANGRY place that's not healthy.

    I do benefits for all religions. I'd hate to blow the hereafter on a technicality. Bob Hope

    by bluebuckeyewmn on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 12:44:06 PM PST

  •  Of course poor folks pay more, (0+ / 0-)

    priced a tax lawyer lately?

  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
    In Washington, the most regressive state, the poorest 20 percent of the population pays 16.9 percent of its income in state and local taxes while the richest 1 percent pays just 2.8 percent. pot! marriage!...most liberal state in the country!
    •  Cultural versus economic liberalism (0+ / 0-)

      While I've lived in Texas for a long time, I grew up in Washington state.  And my recollection from when I lived there is that Washington (at least in the Puget Sound area) is quite liberal when it comes to social issues, but much less so when it comes to tax policy and economic issues.  

      Nonetheless, I was surprised at exactly how badly Washington came out in this survey.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 03:23:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  US Federal tax rate (0+ / 0-)

    used to be strongly progressive, with top rates as high as 70% as late as 1980.

    Both the shifting of tax burden and 'States Rights' social issues are used by the right to bludgeon the poor and lower working classe - and it's the direct result of Reaganomics which work hand in hand to deny rights to minorities and those without political power.

    Republicans totally abandoned conservatism in the 1980s ..

    by shpilk on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 04:03:19 PM PST

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