Study: House Democrats’ Health Care Bill Pushes Top Tax Rates to Over 50% in Most States

Jul 16, 2009 11:59am

A study by the non-partisan Tax Foundation finds that the 5.4% surtax on top wage-earners proposed by House Democrats to help fund health care reform would push top tax rates over 50% in 39 states.

"That means government would be taking more than half of every additional dollar from high-income taxpayers,” said Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge. “The lowest top tax rate would be about 47% –and that's in the nine states that don't tax wages."

The proposal imposes a new surtax of 1 percent on married couples who earn between $350,000 and $500,000 (singles between $280,000 and $400,000). Couples with incomes between $500,000 and $1 million (singles earning between $400,000and $800,000) would have a 1.5 percent surtax imposes. Couples who make more than $1 million, and singles who make more than $800,000, would face a 5.4% surtax.

ABC News’ Dan Arnall reports that the latest data book from the IRS (Tax Year 2006) indicates that 0.3% of all individual income tax returns showed an income of $1 million or higher; 354,093 tax returns out of a universe of 138 million filed that year.

The hardest-hit states in terms of the highest tax bracket would be Oregon (57.5%), Hawaii (57.2%), New Jersey (57.1%), New York (56.9%), California (56.8%), Rhode Island (56.2%), Vermont (55.8%), Maryland (55.6%), Minnesota (54.4%) and Idaho (54.3%). 

Washington, DC’s highest tax bracket would be 55.0%. New York City’s would be 58.7%.

– jpt

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