What are the Top Ten Most Taxed States in America?

I’ve had the good graces to live in New York, Massachusetts and California, and no matter whhcih state I call home, there are cries about how this state (whichever one I’m in) is the “most taxed state in America.  My favorite nickname for a state was “Taxachusetts.” 

But the good people at MainStreet.com have crunched the numbers and come up with a list of the ten most taxes states in the union.  Where do you think California falls on the list?

Here’s the criteria:  “We’ve crunched the numbers, divided each state’s population by the corresponding state taxes collected in 2009, and come up with a ranking of the most taxed states. This is a per capita calculation of the total tax burden for each state — and isn’t actually what every individual is paying, but what each individual would pay if the taxes were divided equally among everyone, except big corporate interests.

We have subtracted taxes paid to the state for licenses, corporate income taxes, and severance taxes (excise taxes on natural resources “severed” from the earth). So what we have come up with is a calculation of the 10 states with the highest taxes for individuals and families. You might be surprised by the results.

State tax collections totaled $715.2 billion in fiscal year 2009, down 8.5% from the $781.6 billion collected in fiscal year 2008. Individual income tax remained the single largest source of state tax revenues in 2009, at $245.9 billion, down 11.7% from 2008.

General sales and gross receipts taxes accounted for $228.1 billion, a decrease of 5.4% from 2008. Not surprisingly, revenues from big corporations were down as well — a net decrease of 20.7%, to $40.3 billion in fiscal year 2009.”

And here’s the list:

#10:  Maine: $2,416 per capita

Maine is the only one-syllable state and famous for its delicious lobster and the largest producer of both blueberries and toothpicks in the world. It also takes the last slot in our top 10 list.

The state sales tax is 5% and the tax brackets ranged from a low of 2% to a high of 8.5% on earners making over $20,150, but will be replaced by a flat tax of 6.5% in 2010. All property of Maine residents is also subject to local and state taxes.

#9: Maryland$2,487 per capita

The state with the highest median income in the entire country — $70,545 in 2008 — has eight income tax brackets, with the highest at $1 million annually and collecting 6.26% from those fortunate ones. The city of Baltimore and Maryland’s 23 counties also levy local “piggyback” income taxes at rates between 1.25% and 3.2%. The state takes in 6% sales tax as well.

#8:  Massachusetts: $2,646 per capita

The state that ranks 15th in population, has a 6.25% sales tax and collects a flat income tax of 5.3%, with an exemption for income earners below a threshold that varies from year to year.  I should also mention that there’s no sales tax on clothes.

7.  New Jersey$2,758 per capita

The state with a 7% sales tax boasts a ranking of 3rd most millionaires, and this year it increased the taxes for anyone earning $500,000 or more to 8.97%. New Jersey is also home to three of the counties with the highest property taxes in the country.

#6: Wyoming: $2,818 per capita

Home to Grand Teton National Park and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park, the state has the lowest population density in all of the US and one of seven states that doesn’t collect one penny in personal income taxes. The state takes in enough revenue from sales taxes — at 4% — to put it at number 6 on our list.

While the state sales tax is low, it additionally takes in taxes for goods purchased tax-free outside the state. In 2009, Wyoming actually saw the highest increase in state tax collections over the previous year’s at 14.9%, but the increase was largely due to the $1.2 billion collected in severance taxes paid by oil and mineral mining operations which did not factor into our own ranking.

OK, Halfway there…..California is surely #1 or #2, right?

#5. Minnesota: $3,038 per capita

State sales taxes of 6.875% are compounded in some cities by another sales tax, making it as high as 9.53%. And, Minnesotans making more than $74,650 must pay 7.85% of their earning to the state. The low tax bracket might account for the substantial state take.

#4:  New York: $3,085 per capita

Taxing households with incomes of more than $500,000 at 8.97%, the state raised nearly $37 billion in income tax last year. It also collected $20.2 billion in sales taxes.

On top of that, New Yorkers living in Long Island’s Nassau County and, further north, Westchester County pay the forth and fifth highest property taxes in the country. Start spreading the news…..

#3.  Connecticut: $3,517 per capita

Ranking 4th of the states with the most millionaires, The Nutmeg State levies a 6.5% tax on earners of $500,000 and more, a gasoline tax of 41.9 cents/gallon and 6% sales tax. The state’s richest residents are hedge fund managers including Steven Cohen and Ray Dalio, the 36th and 65th richest Americans respectively who live and work in and around the town of Greenwich.

#2: Hawaii:  Aloha.  $3,556 per capita

The newest of the 50 states and birthplace to our sitting President, the volcanic island chain is also the state with the most millionaires. The state fills its own purse with an 11% income tax on anyone earning more than $400,000.

And #1 must surely be California, right?  Those editorial writers at the Register and Lucy Dunn can’t be all wrong right? 

Wrong.

#1. Vermont: $3,861 per capita

The second-least populated state in the country collected $91 million in property taxes — 38% of total state tax collected. There is both a school property tax and a municipal property tax for personal property and a statewide education tax imposed on all nonresidential property at a rate of $1.35 for every $100 of the assessed value. The state that pumps out more maple syrup than any other has a 6% sales tax, 9% on restaurant meals, and anyone earning more than $372,950 pays 8.9% of their personal income to the state.

We’ll add that Vermont has a track record for great ice cream and a streak of socialism.  And its so pretty in the Fall.

Sorry, California isn’t one of the top ten most taxed states based on this criteria.

  7 comments for “What are the Top Ten Most Taxed States in America?

  1. Mearl Hinckley
    July 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Excellent piece, sir.

  2. cook
    July 27, 2011 at 10:40 am

    if you divide it by number of taxpayers instead, your top ten list changes.

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    July 27, 2011 at 11:10 am

    The same site has a list of the most socialistic states in American based on the amount of taxes received and programs funded; Sarah Palin’s Alaska is #2. Rick Perry’s Texas is in the top 10.

  4. John
    July 27, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Per capita does nothing to show the middle class burden. Of course a welfare state like ca has low per capita taxes. Our middle class is subsidizing generations of welfare queens and illegal aliens.

  5. George
    July 27, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    The liberals are at it again, maybe, not lying but skewing the facts. Figures don’t lie – lying liberals do.

  6. July 27, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    George,

    While you are entitled to your opinion, you are not entitled to your own set of facts. If you wish to dispute any of the data presented in this post, please state your case. Otherwise, why don’t you add a little sugar to the tea you’re drinking and wash some of the bitterness from your palate.

  7. July 27, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    if anyone has a problem with the criteria, please take it up with the site MainStreet.com; this is an Apples-to-Apples comparison of the tax burden per capita.

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