Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Plot of Effective Marginal Tax Rates and Per Capita GDP by State

State Taxes and GDP 2

Jared Bernstein recently posted a scatter plot of Federal Marginal Tax Rates and GDP growth, and found no correlation between the two. The graph above depicts the top potential marginal effective tax rate by state as calculated by the Tax Foundation (I will explain their calculation below) against GDP per capita by state. The correlation is actually positive, at about .2. If one removes the "DC effect," the correlation drops to about .19.

The top rate number I use from the calculation is the number produced under the GOP tax plan from late 2010, since they essentially got everything they wanted from the president in their tax deal. State taxes also move fairly slowly, so there is some persistence in the data across time.

I would not use this plot to argue that taxes on the richest cause higher living standards; but it sure is hard to argue that they cause living standards to fall.