A new study has found that people who pay more in taxes are less generous when it comes to charitable giving.
Looking at data from 1997 to 2012, researchers at the American Legislative Exchange Council found that taxpayers who give more to the government keep more of their money overall than their less-heavily taxed counterparts in other states, because they don't bother giving to charity after government has finished with them.
"When all state taxes are considered, a 1 percentage point increase in the total tax burden is associated with a 1.16 percent drop in charitable giving per dollar of state income," the report states.
In all, 41 states experienced increases in charitable giving. Of the nine that had the largest increases, the report found, four do not impose a personal income tax. Those were South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming.
Nine states saw a reduction in the amount that was donated to charity. Of those, one-third are among those with the highest income taxes in the nation. Those are Hawaii (with a personal income tax of 11 percent), Minnesota (9.85 percent) and New York (8.82 percent).
Measured as a percentage of adjusted gross income, the most charitable states were:
- South Carolina
- North Carolina
On the other end of the spectrum, the least generous states from 41st to 50th were New Mexico, Hawaii, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, Alaska, Maine, West Virginia, North Dakota and New Hampshire.
Additionally, the report found, donations from the wealthy comprised the vast majority of charitable giving, with 70 percent of charitable deductions being claimed by those with incomes of $100,000 or more.
"States with smaller governments tend to provide for perceived public needs by giving more to charity to fill that gap," the report concluded. "Moreover, citizens tend to respond to tax increases by decreasing their charitable giving, while increasing their charitable giving in response to tax reductions."