Letter to the Editor re Tax Freedom Day

April 15, 2014

UPDATE: The Star-Ledger has corrected the original piece.

Dear Editor:

I understand Tom Moran is compelled to attack our Tax Freedom Day report each year (“Tax Freedom Day? It’s bunk: Moran,” 4/15/14), and normally I would let his words stand for themselves. However, I must correct the record on two points and offer two observations.

First, Tax Freedom Day this year is April 21, not April 7 as he claims. April 7 is the day we e-mailed Moran our press release, and he evidently didn’t crack open the linked report. Second, Moran says our report is “debunked every year” by the Brookings Institution. A quick Google search shows they’ve never said anything on it, one way or the other.

Moran argues that America’s federal, state, and local tax system is “largely progressive,” estimating that 80 percent of Americans pay far less than the top 20 percent. This is true (albeit immaterial to when Tax Freedom Day for the nation as a whole arrives) and amusingly out-of-character for Moran to emphasize.

A final area of potential agreement: Moran says we don’t talk about the value of government services, which is true. We think taxpayers can judge for themselves better than any study the quality and quantity of government services they receive. We provide information on the costs – taxes, tax burdens, and tax complexity. Only with this information can people make an informed cost-benefit judgment.

Joseph Henchman
Vice President, State Projects, Tax Foundation
Washington, DC


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