Bringing the Economy Home

Romney’s 47 Percent Includes A Whole Lot Of Idahoans

According to the Tax Policy Center Idaho has the 10th largest share of tax filers who don’t pay federal income taxes.

Yesterday, Mother Jones released video of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney saying, among other things, that people who don’t pay income taxes are “dependent upon government” and won’t vote for him.  But as this Tax Policy Center map shows, many of the 47 percent of Americans not paying federal income taxes live in Republican states.

Tax Policy Center

Click on the map to enlarge.

Thirty-nine percent of Idaho tax filers don’t pay federal income taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center.  That equals 258,528 tax filers.

In case you missed it, here’s Romney’s quote:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what ….These are people who pay no income tax.”

The Atlantic writes it’s important to understand this 47 percent figure.  “This measures only those Americans who filed for taxes with no liability. Millions more didn’t even file; it’s those millions, added to the estimated 52 million here, who combine to make that 47 percent.”

“It’s important to remember that just because people aren’t paying income tax doesn’t mean they’re not paying taxes — they pay federal payroll taxes and state and local sales taxes, for example. Once those taxes are factored in, the tax regime is basically flat. And the reason that most income tax nonpayers don’t pay is they simply don’t make enough income to qualify to pay. As one might expect, the map of states with the highest poverty levels resembles this map fairly closely. Many of them are also seniors, a highly contested voting bloc. Just more than 10 percent of households pay no income tax because they’re retired.” – The Atlantic

Besides being predominantly Republican, the ten states that top the list also have some of the lowest median family incomes in the U.S., according to the Tax Policy Center.

U.S. Census Bureau data shows Idaho’s median household income is $46,423.  That’s nearly $5,500 less than the national average.


About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »