In many places, state sales taxes are in force, but the question we have to ask is if they are fair to the majority of the residents of those states. For example, state sales taxes in New York State are only four per cent, but if you go to New York City, you will pay 8.375 per cent. The inequity of these amounts seems to create a rather substantial burden on those on a fixed income or who have little money to spend on anything beyond basic needs.
Certainly those people can shop or move out of the city and pay less state sales taxes, but what about those who are unable to do either of those things? There is need for a more even structure such as exists in New Jersey where the 7 per cent sales tax is divided evenly with the municipality, resulting in an effective 3.5 per cent sales tax for the state of New Jersey.
On the other hand, if the state sales taxes were to be regulated in such a way as to allow the same equality and exemptions in each of the 44 states that makes use of this financial tool, it may perhaps solve some of the inequities that exist within the areas of state sales taxes. The programs are not structured evenly among the states regarding the items that are exempt, which makes it difficult for those on a fixed income who live in a state where everything including food is taxed when in the very next state both food and clothing are exempt from state sales taxes.
Looking at the percentages some of the states charge, it is little wonder why people in certain states are struggling more than others. When you add the cost of sales tax on already high food and clothing costs and combine that with housing and fuel costs, the struggles are enormous for those on low income or fixed income.
If you take the time to look at the charts of state sales taxes, you will find rates that range from four per cent up to over nine per cent. The question that we must ask ourselves as consumers and taxpaying citizens is why six states can make their budget needs without a sales tax while others feel the need to have both. This is evidenced by the fact that forty-four states have a sales tax and forty-one have a state tax. Even if you eliminate the six states that do not have a sales tax that still leaves thirty-eight states that are charging both a state sales tax and a state income tax. It’s time for the people in those states to ask why there is a need for both.