It’s getting a bit stale now, having been released in January of 2015, but I am sure they will come out with a new steaming pile soon. Anyway, allow me to present Who Pays? (5th Edition) A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All Fifty States. Even the title is wrong, since they include the District of Columbia, but I digress.

While complaining, as progs are wont to do, that the State tax systems are not “fair,” they never actually bother to define the word FAIR. Be that as it may, when we get down to the section on real estate taxes, we have this:

Renters do not escape property taxes. A portion of the property tax on rental property is passed through to renters in the form of higher rent — and these taxes represent a much larger share of income for poor families than for the wealthy. This adds to the regressivity of the property tax.

This is quite reasonable. If the property-owner is to make a profit, he needs to pass his tax burden on to his renters. But the authors then follow up with this:

The business tax component reduces the regressivity of the property tax as it generally falls on owners of capital….

That’s right. Somehow, one type of business (rental property) is able to pass the cost of taxes to its customers (renters), but other types, such as retailers and manufacturers, cannot. This simply makes no sense.

The authors want to emphasize their assertion that lower-income people pay a higher percentage of their income to State and local taxes than higher-income people do. To do that, they say that property taxes on rental property are passed through to the renters. However, if they admit that retail and manufacturing business can do the same, and pass their property taxes on to their customers, then they must also admit that businesses can also pass on to their customers the cost of corporate income taxes, and thus the corporate income taxes are as regressive as sales taxes are. This they cannot do.