Taxing Analysis



The Tax Foundation released its latest rankings of state tax burdens today (ABJ report here). Let the silliness begin.

Taxes play a role in corporate and household location decisions, but they get way too much credit.

Here’s how the Tax Foundation’s rankings stack up against other economic indicators:

Taxes = Tax Foundation’s overall index rank, 1 = best

GDP Growth = Real GDP change, 2009-2010

Job Growth = Total nonfarm employment change, December 2010-December 2011

Unemployment = Unemployment rate, December 2011

Income = Median household income, 2010

North Dakota ranked 29th in tax burden, but was first in GDP growth and job growth, and had the lowest unemployment rate. Not bad for a tax climate that ranks in the bottom half of all states.

The Tax Foundation tagged New Jersey with the worst tax climate in the U.S. However, New Jersey came in a respectable 24th on GDP growth, and had the second highest median household income. Apparently not all high income households are packing up and moving to reportedly lower cost states like Texas, despite some claims.

For the wonk-minded, data, rankings, and correlation table linked here (Excel).

Sources: Tax Foundation, BEA, BLS, Telestrian

2 Responses to “Taxing Analysis”

  1. Brian, A great post. Thanks for putting this comparative information together.

  2. Brian Kelsey says:

    Thanks, Anatalio. An economic developer’s job is hard enough. The lack of nuance in these popular rankings can do real harm to perceptions of a community. My goal here was not to suggest that taxes aren’t important, but that more context is needed.

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Brian Kelsey Web

Brian Kelsey is Principal at Civic Analytics LLC and a lecturer at The University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches economic development and serves as a fellow at the Center for Politics and Governance at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

Phone: 512.731.7851

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