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Individual cost of transportation sales tax will vary based on income and age

By Maria Saporta

If voters approve the one-percent regional transportation sales tax on July 31, the amount families will pay will vary based on income and age.

An analysis of who would pay how much was done by Georgia State University’s Fiscal Research Center at the Andrew Young School of Public Policy. The analysis draws on the Atlanta Regional Commission’s demographic information to show the distributional impact by age and income.

For example, low-income families — people making between $5,000 and $10,000 a year would end up paying 1.7 percent of their pre-tax income (or $76 per capita). By comparison, people making more than $70,000 a year would pay 0.4 percent of their pre-tax income (or $142 per capita).

But Peter Bluestone, a senior research associate at GSU’s Fiscal Research Center, said the burden on lower-income families “could be mitigated by purchasing qualifying food products through various supplemental food programs such as the federal food stamps program.” Those would be exempt from the transportation sales tax.

Among the different age groups, senior citizens (65 and older) would be expected to pay about 0.6 percent of their pre-tax income for the sales tax (or $136 per capita). The age group with the highest relative burden were those under 25, which would pay 0.7 percent (or $82 per capita).

The disparity, however, isn’t that great with the age group that would be paying least of their relative income — those between the ages of 45 and 54, paying 0.4 percent of their pre-tax income (or $116 per capita).

GSU also estimated the cost per household and determined that the average household of 2.5 people would pay an additional $280 a year for the sales tax.

Please click here to read the full analysis.

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.


1 Comment

  1. KellyWoods July 20, 2012 9:39 am

    It is not popular to increase taxes and no one wants to spend more money than they have to especially in today’s economy.  However, it is apparent that the traffic congestion in GA is beyond ridiculous and that we must begin to take the proper measures to improve it.  If we don’t, other cities clearly don’t have a problem doing so and we will just be left behind.Report


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