It's the argument of both ITEP and PAI that such numbers illustrate an inherently wicked level of favor-the-rich unfairness. And why would ITEP, and with a greater verbal intensity PAI, choose to withhold the stats showing that it's the Vermont middle- and upper-middle-income quintiles which pay the highest percentage of their income in taxes, not the lowest?
Therefore, contrary to the breathless PAI reassertion that "The Vermont tax system falls most heavily on the very poorest families in the state", the truth is that the heaviest burden falls, as almost inevitably happens, on the long-suffering middle-income quintiles?
Even the proverbial oblivious-to-politics-resident of East-Overshoe, Vt., knows the answer: It's because the ideological template of the political left, in pursuit of re-distribution of wealth, requires that only those stats showing the poorest paying more and the richest paying less may be legitimately recited.
Absent any canon of ethics for politics that would motivate PAI writers to meet the "just the facts, ma'am" standards of fictional Det. Sgt. Joe Friday, these ideologues chose to ignore inconvenient facts which didn't fit their pre-conceived notions of Amerika; they only recited the facts which could be manipulated to fit their template.
Note the incompetent oversight or unintentional but non-malicious research gap: the inconvenient facts are there in black-on-white print and graphic full color charts on the Vermont pages (pp. 106-7) of the ITEP study PAI has chosen to analyze and interpret. The only way to miss the troublesome facts is to choose to.
As if mistating the tax burden distribution weren't enough, there's more.
It's the Holmesian non-barking dog, the missing set of income (or, more precisely, imputed income, the monetized value of goods and services received without payment by the recipient) data showing the value of transfer payments from the middle- and upper-income quintiles to the lowest income quintile via tax-and-spend re-distribution programs. These data aren't even mentioned in the ITEP study.