Census Bureau Reports on States' Tax Burden
By Kathleen Murphy, Staff Writer
If you live in Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas or South Dakota, you have the lightest state tax burden in the nation.
But residents of Hawaii, Delaware, Connecticut, Minnesota and Vermont shoulder the most state taxes for every man, woman and child, U.S. Census figures show.
In Hawaii, the state took $2,747 per person while Oregon residents paid $1,459 per person.
The Census Bureau's annual report covered only 2002 state tax collections and did not include those levied by local governments. Because so many state services are often passed on to local governments, economists say a better measure of tax burdens nationwide is a snapshot of both state and local tax collections.
A recent report by the Tax Foundation showed that Maine residents bear the nation's highest state and local tax burden, 12.2 percent of income, while Alaskans enjoy the lowest, 5.5 percent.
The Census report showed that most Americans paid less in taxes to run their state governments last year. The 50 states collected $533 billion in revenue in 2002, a 4.6 percent decrease from the prior year.
California took in $77 billion in tax revenue, compared to $90 billion in 2001.
Twelve statesWisconsin, Maryland, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Nevada, West Virginia, Delaware, New Hampshire and Vermontshowed increases in tax revenue in 2002. Forty-three states showed increases in tax revenue in the prior year, and every state showed increases in total tax revenue in 2000.
The lowest 2002 state tax collections were in Wyoming, Alaska and South Dakota.