NC JUSTICE NEWS: Who Pays Taxes? + Together NC Forums + Pulitzer Prize Winner Hedrick Smith

October 9, 2012

WHO PAYS TAXES?: The real facts behind the myths and rumors

It's been the question countless politicians, analysts and journalists' minds over the last month: who pays taxes?

According to a new Budget and Tax Center report, the answer is everybody. Every household in the U.S. pays taxes in some form or another. Even the poorest fifth of American households paid an average of one-sixth (16 percent) of their total income in federal, state, and local taxes in 2009. The wealthiest 1 percent of households in the country, with annual incomes averaging more than $1.3 million, paid less than one-third (30.7 percent) of their incomes in total taxes in 2009, compared with more than 42 percent in 1972.

The discussion of who pays taxes — particularly federal income taxes — is significant in light of upcoming federal decisions regarding the Bush tax cuts, which expire on December 31, and upcoming state efforts to reform North Carolina’s revenue system. While approximately 46 percent of Americans did not pay federal income tax last year, the report said, they paid federal payroll, state and local taxes. Of those that do not pay federal income tax, two-thirds paid payroll taxes; of those that did not pay payroll taxes, 22 percent were seniors and 17 percent were students, people with disabilities, and individuals who had lost their jobs.

Even if Congress lets the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire at the end of this year, they would still pay lower tax rates than they have for most of the last 50 years. It's these wealthy households, and not the middle or working classes, which have benefited disproportionately from the economic and tax policies enacted by our country's leaders over the past three decades.

NC JUSTICE CENTER SURVEY: Complete poll for chance to win gift card

What do you think are the most important issues facing North Carolina? Do you think North Carolina is on the right or wrong track? Do you plan on voting this November?

These are just a few of the questions from our new survey. Complete the poll for a chance to win a $50 or $25 gift card. Your answers will help us fight more effectively for opportunity and prosperity for all.

TOGETHER NC: Statewide events on how budget affects your county

Ever wonder how statewide budget decisions impact schools in your specific county? This is your chance to find out. Join Together NC for a series of public forums to learn more about the impacts of funding decisions in Wake, Mecklenburg, Durham, and Cumberland Counties.

North Carolina’s public investments — our K-12 schools, our colleges and universities, our roads and our health care system — pave the way for our families and communities to grow, learn and thrive. Unfortunately, many of these investments have suffered deep funding cuts since the onset of the Great Recession. In 2013, the state legislature will consider drastic changes to our revenue system, which could result in further deterioration of our schools and other investments or could put us back on the path to shared prosperity.

Scheduled forums include:

  • Wake County: Tuesday, 10/9, 6 pm, Crosspointe Church, 6911 Carpenter Fire Station Road, Cary, NC
  • Mecklenburg County: Wednesday, 10/10, 6 pm, Children’s Services Center, 601 E. Fifth St., Charlotte, NC
  • Durham County: Thursday, 10/11, 6 pm, Durham School of the Arts, 400 N. Duke St. Durham, NC
  • Cumberland County: Wednesday, 10/17, 6 pm, Cumberland County HQ Library, 300 Maiden Lane, Fayetteville, NC

HEALTH CARE EVENT: Dr. Don Berwick discusses Affordable Care Act

East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine, FamiliesUSA, and the North Carolina Justice Center will host a forum featuring internationally known health care leader Dr. Don Berwick on October 10 in Greenville.

Dr. Berwick, a pioneer in the patient safety and health care quality movements, will give an address entitled, “The Affordable Care Act: Aiming to Build a Better Health System.” The forum will also feature Dr. Paul Cunningham, Dean of the Brody School of Medicine, and Ron Pollack, executive director of FamiliesUSA, a national consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, DC.

A pediatrician by training, Dr. Berwick is the immediate past administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency that oversees a third of health care spending in the United States, and founded the Institute for Health Care Improvement. Ron Pollack is the founding executive director of Families USA, one of the nation’s leading health care consumer organizations. Pollack was instrumental in passing the Affordable Care Act, and his organization has produced hundreds of reports over the years documenting the struggles people face when trying to navigate our broken health care system.

The event will begin at 12:15 at the Brody School of Medicine Auditorium in Greenville and is open to the public.

CRUCIAL CONVERSATION: Pulitzer Prize-winning Hedrick Smith

Hedrick Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning former The New York Times reporter and editor and Emmy award-winning producer/correspondent, has established himself over the past 50 years as one of America’s most distinguished journalists. At a NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation event on October 23, Smith will discuss the future of the American dream.

Hedrick Smith spent 26 years as a reporter for the New York Times, covering Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights struggle, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and six White House administrations. Smith's new book, "Who Stole the American Dream", steps back from the partisan fever of the 2012 campaign to explain how we got to where we are today—how America moved from an era of middle class prosperity and power, effective bipartisanship and grass roots activism to today’s polarized gridlock, unequal democracy and an even more unequal economy that has unraveled the American Dream for millions of middle class families.

Don’t miss the chance to hear from this extraordinary American at this critical moment in our national political conversation. The event will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 23 at the Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh. Click here to register or contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or for more information.

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