WASHINGTON — New York residents shouldered the highest state and local tax burden, at 12.8% in fiscal 2010, according to a new study.
By contrast, Alaska residents, who have been least taxed for nearly three decades, had the lowest tax burden that year, at just 7%, the Tax Foundation found in its annual state-local tax burden ranking report, released Tuesday.
Economists at the Washington, D.C.-based think tank calculated the tax burden by totaling the amount of state and local taxes paid by state residents to their own and other state governments and then divide these totals by each state's total income. The tax burden estimates include those items defined as state and local taxes by the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis.
In addition to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have held the top two spots on the Tax Foundation's list of states with the heaviest tax burdens since 2005, with residents paying over 12% of their income in state and local taxes. The report said this is partially due to the high level of state expenditures, which must be sustained by high levels of revenue.
State and local tax burdens increased to 9.9% in 2009 from 9.3% in 2000, the report found. The average tax burden fell just 0.006% in 2010 from 2009 and is down significantly from 1977, the year they Tax Foundation first began doing these estimates, when it was 10.3%.
Fluctuations in the national average have been small in recent years but burdens among the states can vary, the report said.
"Some states are able to shift significant portions of their tax burdens to nonresidents, with Alaska being the most aggressive," said Elizabeth Malm, economist and author of the report. "The Last Frontier is able to export over 75% of its tax collections to residents of other states, by virtue of taxes on oil extraction."
The largest tax burden decrease between 2010 and 2009 occurred in Delaware, with a 0.7% drop. North Dakota and Louisiana each saw a 0.5% decrease. The largest increases were in Alaska, Colorado and Hawaii, with increases of 0.5%, 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively.