When discussing matters of public policy and taxation, we often draw the correlation between high tax rates and undesirable economic climates. While it is certainly true that burdensome tax rates cause businesses and workers to seek better opportunities in different places, it is also true – and far less frequently discussed – that high state income tax rates have a negative impact on charitable giving. States with already high (or steadily increasing) tax rates and low adjusted gross income (AGI) growth levels see less charitable giving than those with low tax rates and faster AGI growth levels.
A new policy study from the American Legislative Exchange Council does an excellent job laying out the facts and figures that show the relationship between tax burdens and charitable giving. Tellingly, a one percent increase in the personal income tax burden correlates with 0.35 percent decrease in charitable giving. Even more troubling, when all state taxes are placed within this equation, an increase of 1 percent in the total tax burden is associated with a 1.16 percent drop in charitable giving, per dollar, of state income.