The fallout from our nation’s decades-long effort to slash taxes on wealthy individuals and profitable corporations (and the public structures those taxes once provided) continues to spread. The Washington Post reports that the growing gap between the super rich and everyone else is directly and negatively impacting state government budgets:
Income inequality is taking a toll on state governments.
The widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else has been matched by a slowdown in state tax revenue, according to a report being released Monday by Standard & Poor’s.
Even as income has accelerated for the affluent, it has barely kept pace with inflation for most other people. That trend can mean a double whammy for states: The wealthy often manage to shield much of their income from taxes. And they tend to spend less of it than others do, thereby limiting sales tax revenue….
Rising income inequality is not just a social issue,” said Gabriel Petek, the S&P credit analyst who wrote the report. “It presents a very significant set of challenges for the policymakers.”
Stagnant pay for most people has compounded the pressure on states to preserve funding for education, highways and social programs such as Medicaid. The investments in education and infrastructure also have fueled economic growth. Yet they’re at risk without a strong flow of tax revenue.
Meanwhile, this week’s most stunning visual of the nation’s mushrooming inequality comes from the U.S. Federal Reserve, courtesy of the good people at Too Much Online: