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The Maryland residents who struggle the most to make ends meet are paying the highest share of their income in taxes to the state, with minorities disproportionately affected, according to a new report by the Maryland Center on Economic Policy.

According to the report, this reality results in a “racially imbalanced tax structure” since African Americans in the state are almost twice as likely as Whites to fall in the bottom 20 percent of household incomes.

“The poorest 20 percent of Marylanders—those with incomes below $24,000 per year—pay an average of 9.7 percent of their incomes in state and local taxes,” reads the report.  “The richest 1 percent of Marylanders—those making at least $481,000, and whose average income is $1.6 million—pay only 6.7 percent of their income in state and local taxes, on average.”

Further, not only are White Marylanders almost twice as likely as Black Marylanders to reside in the top 20 percent of incomes, White Marylanders are more likely to reside in the top 20 percent than any other earnings category.

Additionally, and despite the tendency of both major political parties to talk about helping the “middle-class,” those in the middle 20 percent of incomes pay the highest share of their income in taxes, at 10.3 percent.

But the greatest implications for the Maryland economy reside in the high tax burden for the poor, since they are disproportionately minority and Maryland “will be a “majority-minority” state (where Whites make up less than 50 percent of the population) by 2020.  Consequently, “the majority of Marylanders will be disproportionately taxed,” says the report.

The report continues: “There are both moral and practical reasons why policymakers should correct this inequity.  The most pressing reason is that our current tax system prevents the state from raising the funds necessary to make important investments in education, roads and other infrastructure, public safety, and healthcare—investments that help build a strong economy.”

ralejandro@afro.com