University of Wisconsin–Madison

Racial Equity and Taxes in Southern States

Type Policy Brief or Report
Year 2020
Level State
State(s) All States
Policy Areas Civil Rights, Economic Justice
Generally, southern states levy taxes in a way that worsens racial and economic equity. Most southern states raise less revenue than states in other regions, leading to underinvestment in people and places. This lack of revenue contributes to staggering levels of poverty, particularly for Black and Hispanic families. Southern states also generally have lower corporate and personal income taxes for high-income households, which are disproportionately white. Additionally, southern lawmakers have been slow to adopt refundable tax credits, which are strong poverty-reducing tools. This report provides a series of solutions, such as employing a progressive tax system and reforming property taxes, to create more equitable tax codes in the South.

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