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'Who Pays?' Study Shows Poor, Middle Class Coloradans Pay More Income Taxes Than Rich

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A newly released study shows low- and middle-income families in Colorado pay more income taxes than the rich.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) released the study Thursday, titled "Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States.” The study shows that the bottom 20 percent pay an 8.9 percent tax rate in Colorado, compared to the state's top one percent who only pay a 4.6 percent tax rate.

“Asking the poorest Coloradans to pay more of their income in taxes than the richest, those making half a million dollars or more, violates our sense of fairness,” said Ali Mickelson, Tax Policy Attorney at Colorado Fiscal Institute in a press release. “Colorado needs to change the tax structure so that the richest among us are taking on their fair share of tax responsibility.”

Colorado income tax uses a flat rate structure across all income levels, along with six other states.

“When you hear people brag about their low tax state, you have to ask them, low tax for who?" said Matthew Gardner, Executive Director of ITEP and an author of the study.

The state ranks 5th lowest in state and local taxes per $1000 of income, but low-income taxpayers pay almost twice as much of their earning in taxes as rich taxpayers do.

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