Now, lots of folks have gotten into the business of doing tax rankings over the years. Business magazines do it. TurboTax does it. Retirement Living does it. Even USA Today does it. The Tax Foundation does it better than anybody. However, because the U.S. Census Bureau releases the data, it’s not too difficult to figure out which states tax what and to subsequently rank them. A fifth grader can do it. But Wallet Hub does not use tax collections to concoct a simple per capita ranking. It uses that data and adjusts for costs of living. Wallet Hub looks at a broad range of taxes, including property, income, sales, fuel, alcohol, and telecommunications taxes. Curiously, it doesn't include cigarette taxes or corporate income or other business taxes in the study.
Still, the outcome will not surprise anyone. The five best states (those with the lowest tax burdens) are Wyoming, Alaska, Nevada, Florida, and South Dakota The five worst are Illinois, Connecticut, Nebraska, California, and New York. I am not sure how Nebraska ended up as the third worst – behind New Jersey and Vermont! In fact, Wallet Hub says Nebraskans average $9,450 a year in state and local taxes. That is about $4,000 less than what the census says. But the rest of the states are the same-old, same-old. Wyoming is good; most of the blue states are bad. As libertarian writer J.D. Tuccille wrote so eloquently in Reason magazine: “California and New York suck for taxpayers.” Wallet Hub’s study does nothing to dispute that.