By Kim Glovas

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A new study on taxes shows Pennsylvania has the distinction of being in the “Terrible Ten”, the ten worst states in terms of tax equity.

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The study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy says Pennsylvania families earning less than $19,000 pay a higher percentage of taxes than the richest percent.

Sharon Ward, with the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center says, “We are in a club we don’t want to be in — one of the “Terrible Ten States” that has the most regressive tax systems. And really, we got here for a very important reason: we have a flat income tax that fails to offset the more regressive taxes: sales and property taxes.”

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Ward explains how Pennsylvania got here, “The poorest earners are paying 12 percent of their income in total state and local taxes, and the wealthiest earners are paying less than five percent.”

And she says the middle class is not immune.

“The reality is the middle class tax payers also feel as though they are paying more than they should and they are, and that’s because wealthy earners are paying less than they should.”

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Ward says what Pennsylvania should do is institute a graduated income tax, like New Jersey has, and she says, that would go a long way toward making the tax system more fair.