December 3, 2010
By DAVE MICHAELS
The Dallas Morning News
WASHINGTON – If Congress decides to raise taxes on the wealthy, the impact would be greatest in just a handful of Texas cities where the state's affluent taxpayers are concentrated, according to a Dallas Morning News analysis of IRS data.
At the top of the list: Midland, the capital of West Texas' multigenerational oil wealth. Placing second: Austin and Round Rock, the hub of Texas' high-tech millionaires and billionaires.
Houston, Fredericksburg and Dallas-Fort Worth round out the top five.
In South Texas and other parts of the state, most people wouldn't notice if Congress lets the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthy. In most communities, the percentage of taxpayers earning more than $200,000 is below 2 percent.
"Some of the richest counties in the U.S. are in Texas, and some of the poorest are in Texas," said Bernard Weinstein, a professor of business economics at SMU's Cox School of Business. "In the worst-case scenario – the Bush tax cuts go away – I don't think it will seriously change the behavior of high-income individuals. But it will have some impact."
That question is the driving force behind how many lawmakers view the issue. Today, the House will vote on a bill that makes the current rates for lower- and middle-income taxpayers permanent. The legislation would raise the rate on income above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples.
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