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Tax Foundation Figures Do Not Represent Typical Households’ Tax Burdens: Figures May Mislead Policymakers, Journalists, and the Public

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Publication Date: April 2008

Publisher(s): Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (Washington, D.C.)

Author(s): Robert Greenstein; Aviva Aron-Dine

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Banking and finance (Taxation and tax policy)

Keywords: Economic projections; Tax code; State budgets; City budgets

Type: Report

Abstract:

Each year, the Tax Foundation releases a report projecting "Tax Freedom Day," which it describes as the day when Americans will have "earned enough money to pay this year’s tax obligations at the federal, state, and local levels."

The Tax Foundation’s "Tax Freedom Day" report is plagued by two major problems. First, its estimates of state and local tax burdens suffer from a number of serious methodological flaws Second, over the years, many journalists and policymakers have misinterpreted the Tax Foundation's report as reflecting the tax burdens faced by typical middle-income workers.