State governments may be expanding wealth gap

Published: .
Updated: .
The amount of income taxes demanded from the wealthy has been declining in many states while the poor have been asked to pay a greater percentage of their income through higher sales taxes.
That shift in tax policy has been promoted in many states as a way to boost the economy by encouraging businesses to grow. But it also could be contributing to a widening gap between the rich and poor in the U.S.
Economists point to a variety of factors for the gap, including changes in labor markets and federal policies. Yet data suggest that state governments also may play a role.
While states have been gradually changing their tax structure, a growing number have been reducing their social safety nets by paring back welfare and unemployment benefits.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.