Tax Ratings

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Using Tax Foundation data, Ohio's Buckeye Institute has recently posted a ranking of state and local and total tax burdens as a percentage of personal income. There are no winners here, but Maine topped the state and local burden at 12.8 percent while Connecticut topped the charts of total taxes at 36.7.

Read it and weep here: http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/Articles/2003_03_24Ranking.htm

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  1. DC collects on every cent. It definitely plays a part in house hunting, recognizing that in Virginia, I would save $400 / month in taxes that could otherwise be applied to mortgage. That’s an extra $100,000 at todays rates. No wonder DC is losing residents – they just know how to do basic economics.

  2. It would be interesting to see the specific tax breakdown. I was surprised to see that Washington, which has no state income tax, is at about the same level as California. Their sales tax rate isn’t very different, so what else would account for the difference? Higher property taxes? Data! I need data!

  3. Corey,

    Well, as I recall, I read an article a few years ago (1998?) in the Economist which pointed out how inefficient DC was at tax collection. That the city often missed the property taxes of residents for several years running, etc. Perhaps DC since then has gotten its act together.

  4. I would be very interested in what they mean by “total” tax burden. Does that include sales tax, federal tax, gasoline tax, licensing and fees, personal property tax, etc. Looks like I will have to look up this report…

  5. With a few exceptions (Alaska, North Dakota) it looks like the poorer and more backward states have the lower tax rates (Alabama, Tennessee). Conversely, the wealthier states tax at higher rates and are generally known for a better quality of life. Maybe it’s the chicken and egg thing or maybe it’s just the climate but there appears to be a tax rate connection as well.

    With all due respect to the anti-tax folks, there is a real cost for civilization – schools, roads and good, representative government – and it takes the form of taxes.

  6. Dammit, Lefty. Stop it! You’re makin’ me think.

    The problem (for me anyway) isn’t taxes. It’s that enormous black hole the taxes go in to. Any bureaucracy, whether public otr private, tends to grow without limit. It’s that whole “personal empire” thing. Power corrupts and all that. For example, it seems to me that 50 years ago, schools worked pretty well. The US had a high literacy rate, kids could do the 3r’s pretty well. There wasn’t a huge bureaucracy that spent a zillion $$$ per kid to get nothing. The same thing happens in industry. The difference is that a private concern doesn’t have an “unlimited” source of income and has to compete with others. So the private concern has limits to the growth of those who don’t make money for the company (does this make any sense?). Governmental bureaucracies have no such constraint. They can grow pretty much without bounds. OTOH, I guess we have what we want. The voters can change everything whenever they’re ready. guess we’d rather bitch.

  7. Actually, 50 years ago most people in the US
    did not graduate from high school. The lovely
    memories that many people have of schools in
    the past are only partly true, and probably
    exist in part because trouble making students
    simply were not present because they had dropped
    out.

    Of course, the fact that the past is not what
    it used to be (to steal a phrase) does not mean
    that the present situation is not a bloated
    bureaucratic mess that cries out for privat-
    ization through vouchers or other means.

  8. We here in Connecticut pay taxes up the wazoo.

    The state income tax is no burden for me(I’m exempt for being poor, [woohoo!] because my property taxes [on my car-not a home!] are so high), but the gvt keeps raising the taxes on gasoline and cigarettes and everything else, and then keeps expanding the items that are subject to the sales tax (6%, and likely to go up soon), and, to boot, CT has the largest per capita stable of govt employees (we have hundreds of state funded committees that are, in actuality, lobby groups!).

    Lots of people refer to my neighbor to the north as “Taxachussetts”, but we in CT just leave it at “The People’s Republic Of Massachussetts”.

  9. Lets not forget about the District of Columbia; its tops in both categories. I’ve been house hunting lately and there are some nice “fix me up” row houses that are (relatively) cheap. But I’ll be damned if I take a hit on taxes *on top of* a significant loss of services to move there.

  10. Don’t cry for Connecticut, Nick. The reason folks there pay so much tax is because they’re so f**king rich! Maybe you haven’t noticed, but the U.S. is the richest nation in the whole world! In fact, while our taxes have been “soaring,” our standard of living has climbed even faster! Face it, 90% of us in this country are born with silver spoons in our mouths. You’re just pissed because yours isn’t gold! And you call that idealism!

  11. The reason folks there pay so much tax is because they’re so f**king rich!

    I think we’re getting confused between ammount paid in taxes vs. tax rate.

    And I’m sure those in Connecticut who are not rich paying the premium for the privlidge of living there.

  12. FRB,

    As I understand it, you will be lucky if DC notices that you have a tax burden. In other words, the local tax burden may be high theoretically, but poor government management has led to a degraded ability to collect.

  13. Connecticut has one of the highest state GDP’s per capita in the US as I recall.

  14. Also, if you look at the actual “range” of tax burdens from state to state, the swings aren’t that significant. 12.8% for Maine, down to 8.4% for Tennessee (with Alaska as a 6.3% outlier, their oil revenue helps). A 4.4% swing doesn’t seem like very much. Of course, I am not an economist or a statistician. 🙂

  15. So much for “Taxachusetts.” We’re well below average for state & local taxes, and just slightly above average for overall tax burden, because of our higher incomes. We also pay $1 billion more per year in federal taxes than we get in services (even counting the Big Dig), but that’s ok – the government should spend its money on those who need it. It sure would be nice, however, to see recipient, conservative states like Mississippi spend the money to develop 20th century economies.

    BTW, not only are the higher tax states wealthier, but they also tend to score higher on rankings of public health and quality of life.

  16. Steve,

    My point was to simply enforce the notion that things weren’t as rosy on the education front fifty years ago as many people claim.

    As states like Alabama (I am from there, BTW) and Mississippi still poorly fund their school systems, its not like they are throwing money at the problem, or at least not nearly the amount of money as other states do. Whether you like or despise public education, it hasn’t been a failure (which it is) in Alabama due to too much funding.

  17. Jeff Smith,

    Not to mention the fact that entire classes of students were given effectively inferior educational oppurtunities, or none at all, to boot. Of course doing so tended to make education for these people cheaper than it should have been if it were at the level of white students.

  18. “[T]here is a real cost for civilization – schools, roads and good, representative government – and it takes the form of taxes.”

    Or it may be that civilization enables taxation. Schools and roads can and have existed without tax support, but taxes can only be taken from people who already have something.

  19. Gary said: “Not to mention the fact that entire classes of students were given effectively inferior educational oppurtunities, or none at all, to boot. Of course doing so tended to make education for these people cheaper than it should have been if it were at the level of white students.”

    And throwing tax money at this problem has improved it…..how?

  20. Most people in Connecticut are not f***ing rich. We just get to pay more. It is not fun being stuck between a rock (mass) and a hard place (n.y.) and on top of it all we have lousy government officials which i can’t wait to vote out of office. We are a one income house and we pay over $400 a month in taxes on a small house and we just got a bill for $900 on taxes for our vehicles. a post holiday gift to an x-navy family. This state is used and abused by our surrounding states and corrupt officials which the average middle class gets to pay for it all.
    gotta love connecticut.

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