Louisiana Ranks 6th for Income Inequality

Nov 15, 2012

The gap between rich and poor in Louisiana is continuing to grow steadily, according to an analysis of the latest Census figures.

In the Bayou state, the top 20 percent made 9 times more than the bottom 20 percent in 2010. Based on that measure, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute rank Louisiana as the sixth worst state for income inequality.

Jan Moller, Director of the left-leaning Louisiana Budget Project, said Wednesday he hopes the new rankings serve as a wakeup call to lawmakers considering tax reforms.

"If the proposal is to lower rates for those at the higher incomes, we would be making it worse, when in fact we should be looking for a tax code that works for everybody and not just those at the top," Moller said.

The one bit of good news for Louisiana is that in the last decade incomes for the bottom 20 percent were stable here while dropping nationally.

To put more money in the pocket of the state's working families, Moller wants Louisiana to double its earned income tax credit, which is the lowest in the country.

The authors of the report on inequality advocate raising the minimum wage and increasing unemployment and other benefits.