Monday, February 21, 2022
Francine Lipman (UNLV; Google Scholar) presents How to Design an Antiracist State and Local Tax System at Oregon today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium hosted by Roberta Mann:
Even before the first ship of enslaved people from Africa landed in the British colony of Virginia in 1619 through 250 years of slavery and beyond racist policies in institutions, systems, structures, practices, and laws have ensured inequality for people of color. These racist policies include every imaginable variant of injustice from slavery to lynching to segregation to economic injustices including those delivered through tax systems today. Although facially color-blind, tax systems have long empowered the explosion of white wealth and undermined wealth accumulation for Black families and communities of color. State and local tax systems, especially in the South, have deeply rooted racist fiscal policies including Jim Crow laws that continue to bolster and sustain racial inequality today. These injustices have become even more obvious during the global pandemic.
As Americans struggle with COVID and its aftermath, racial inequality has become even more salient. People of color have suffered higher rates of unemployment, impoverishment, infection, and death from COVID.5 Moreover, scientists, economists, engineers, and doctors agree that racism, not race is the cause of this disproportionate impact. As we struggle to battle COVID 19 and rebuild from its devastation, federal, state, and local governments have used many tools including tax systems. In 2021, the federal government together with twenty- nine states and the District of Columbia enacted significant tax cuts, with nearly all states either cutting individual income tax rates and many governments, including the US Treasury, meaningfully delivering expanded tax credits.
With race increasingly front and center as a cause of economic inequality, this Essay applies Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s transformative concept of antiracism as the framework to rethink state and local tax systems to better serve all Americans. Using a framework involving detailed definitions and personal narratives Dr. Kendi, a professor of history, international relations, and an award-winning author, has facilitated a broader understanding of racism, its poisonous consequences, and most importantly antiracist tools to dismantle it.