The Washington Post

Red state residents pay fewer taxes than blue state residents

tax rates

The average American family pays nearly $7,000 in state and local taxes in a given year, but the actual amounts vary wildly. A Californian who lives on the western side of Lake Tahoe pays almost three times more in state taxes than their neighbor on the Nevada side of the lake. Someone living in Portland, Ore., pays more than twice as much as a neighbor living across the Columbia River in Vancouver, Wash.

That’s according to a new study by WalletHub, a publication of Evolution Finance, which found residents in blue states pay much more than residents of red states. The company used a typical American family making a median income and living in a median home to weigh average relative tax bills.

Wyoming residents pay the lowest state and local taxes, an average of $2,365 per year, the study found. Residents of Alaska and Nevada pay less than half the average tax rate.

On the other end of the spectrum, taxpayers in nine states — Iowa, New Jersey, Vermont, Wisconsin, Illinois, Connecticut, Nebraska, California and New York — pay 25 percent or more than the average state and local tax bills. The average New Yorker making $65,596 before taxes, living in a home worth the median $174,600 and spending typical amounts on gas, sales tax, beer and food would fork over a whopping $9,718 in state and local taxes, 40 percent higher than the national average.

The data varies widely by state because each state’s tax structure is different. The nine states that do not impose an income tax on individuals have significantly lower average tax rates than states that get more of their funding from income taxes. Seven of those nine states are in the 10 lowest-taxing states.

States that rely most heavily on income tax revenue:

(Sources: The Tax Foundation, U.S. Census Bureau)

Residents in Oregon and California, two states that generate a huge percentage of their tax revenue from incomes, pay much more in state and local taxes than residents in neighboring Washington and Nevada, which don’t have tax rates.

States with low or non-existant income taxes, on the other hand, rely more on corporate income taxes or sales taxes.

States that rely most heavily on sales tax revenue:

(Source: The Tax Foundation, U.S. Census Bureau)

Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and South Carolina residents all pay closest to the median $7,000 a year figure.

Reid Wilson covers national politics and Congress for The Washington Post. He is the author of Read In, The Post’s morning tip sheet on politics.

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