New Jersey residents in fiscal 2009 paid the highest state and local taxes in the U.S., according to report released last week from the Tax Foundation.

The state tops the list for the third year in a row. About 12.2% of residents' income went to state and local taxes in fiscal 2009.

At the same time, New Jersey is home to some of the nation's top earners. Its per-capita income was $55,303 in fiscal 2009, the second-highest behind Connecticut's $60,310 per capita.

New York and Connecticut followed New Jersey with 12.1% and 12%, respectively, of personal income going to taxes.

Conversely, Alaska residents keep more of their income, with 6.3% going toward state and local taxes, the lowest percentage among states. Alaska generates 70% of its tax revenue from levies on oil extraction.

Overall, fiscal 2009 incomes and taxes decreased in the U.S., with 9.8% of income going to state and local taxes compared to 9.9% the year before.

The Tax Foundation, located in Washington, D.C., was created in 1937. Its mission is to educate citizens on tax policy and to promote transparency, less-complicated tax structures, broader tax bases, and lower rates.

Gov. Chris Christie last week released a $29.4 billion budget proposal that does not include any tax hikes. While the plan holds municipal aid in line with last year's levels and increases aid to school districts by $250 million, the state cut such allocations to help balance its current fiscal 2011 budget.

Critics say that New Jersey's decrease in funding to local governments and schools has forced cities and towns to raise property taxes.

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