Unemployment Insurance Tax Burdens and Benefits: Funding Family Leave and Reforming the Payroll Tax
We examine the distributional consequences of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) payroll tax. Applying the ability-to-pay principle of equity, the UI payroll tax is quite regressive, while applying the benefits principle makes the UI program look quite good. We then simulate a revenue-neutral increase of the UI tax base to the OASDI tax base level, which appears equity-enhancing under the ability-to-pay principle, but has mixed effects under the benefits principle. Finally, providing family leave within the UI system would maintain the regressivity that violates the ability-to-pay principle of equity, but would agree much better with the benefits principle.
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