By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent
HARRISBURG — To put it mildly, Mitt Romney’s secretly recorded statements discussing 47 percent of Americans were filled with some gross exaggerations.
But that 47 percent figure the Republican presidential candidate touted is fairly close to the truth, when it comes to how many Americans have no federal tax liability, according one study.
Nationally, 41 percent of federal income tax filers fell into that category in 2009, according to Washington, D.C.-based research group the Tax Foundation. That figure jumps to 50 percent when considering income earners who do not meet the minimum thresholds for filing a tax return: $9,500 for a single person, and $19,000 for a married couple.
In the Keystone State, the picture is a little different.
Around 32 percent of Pennsylvanian federal tax filers, or 1.9 million people, pay no federal income tax, according to the Tax Foundation.
The state ranks 33rd in order of most non-taxpayers to least, according to 2008 data. The top five states with the highest percentages of non-taxpayers were Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas, New Mexico and Alabama.
Leaked videos from Mother Jones show Romney speaking at a private fundraiser about “47 percent of Americans” who depend heavily on government, whom he could never teach to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” and who will support President Barack Obama.
He closed the bombardment with: “These are people who pay no taxes.”
In 1990, the percentage of non-payers of all taxpayers was 21 percent, slightly more than half of what it is today. The Tax Foundation cites numerous tax cuts, tax credits and rebates as a main reason for an increased number of non-payers in recent years.
Contact Melissa Daniels at firstname.lastname@example.org.