We’ve crunched the numbers, divided each state’s population by the corresponding state taxes collected in 2009, and come up with a ranking of the most taxed states. This is a per capita calculation of the total tax burden for each state — and isn’t actually what every individual is paying, but what each individual would pay if the taxes were divided equally among everyone, except big corporate interests.
We have subtracted taxes paid to the state for licenses, corporate income taxes, and severance taxes (excise taxes on natural resources "severed" from the earth). So what we have come up with is a calculation of the 10 states with the highest taxes for individuals and families. You might be surprised by the results.
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The big picture for 2009 is decline
State tax collections totaled $715.2 billion in fiscal year 2009, down 8.5% from the $781.6 billion collected in fiscal year 2008. Individual income tax remained the single largest source of state tax revenues in 2009, at $245.9 billion, down 11.7% from 2008.
General sales and gross receipts taxes accounted for $228.1 billion, a decrease of 5.4% from 2008. Not surprisingly, revenues from big corporations were down as well — a net decrease of 20.7%, to $40.3 billion in fiscal year 2009.
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$2,416 per capita
Maine is the only one-syllable state and famous for its delicious lobster and the largest producer of both blueberries and toothpicks in the world. It also takes the last slot in our top 10 list.
The state sales tax is 5% and the tax brackets ranged from a low of 2% to a high of 8.5% on earners making over $20,150, but will be replaced by a flat tax of 6.5% in 2010. All property of Maine residents is also subject to local and state taxes.
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$2,487 per capita
The state with the highest median income in the entire country — $70,545 in 2008 — has eight income tax brackets, with the highest at $1 million annually and collecting 6.26% from those fortunate ones. The city of Baltimore and Maryland's 23 counties also levy local "piggyback" income taxes at rates between 1.25% and 3.2%. The state takes in 6% sales tax as well.
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$2,646 per capita
The state that ranks 15th in population, has a 6.25% sales tax and collects a flat income tax of 5.3%, with an exemption for income earners below a threshold that varies from year to year.
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7. New Jersey
$2,758 per capita
The state with a 7% sales tax boasts a ranking of 3rd most millionaires, and this year it increased the taxes for anyone earning $500,000 or more to 8.97%. New Jersey is also home to three of the counties with the highest property taxes in the country.
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$2,818 per capita
Home to Grand Teton National Park and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park, the state has the lowest population density in all of the US and one of seven states that doesn’t collect one penny in personal income taxes. The state takes in enough revenue from sales taxes — at 4% — to put it at number 6 on our list.
While the state sales tax is low, it additionally takes in taxes for goods purchased tax-free outside the state. In 2009, Wyoming actually saw the highest increase in state tax collections over the previous year’s at 14.9%, but the increase was largely due to the $1.2 billion collected in severance taxes paid by oil and mineral mining operations which did not factor into our own ranking.
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$3,038 per capita
State sales taxes of 6.875% are compounded in some cities by another sales tax, making it as high as 9.53%. And, Minnesotans making more than $74,650 must pay 7.85% of their earning to the state. The low tax bracket might account for the substantial state take.
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4. New York
$3,085 per capita
Taxing households with incomes of more than $500,000 at 8.97%, the state raised nearly $37 billion in income tax last year. It also collected $20.2 billion in sales taxes.
On top of that, New Yorkers living in Long Island’s Nassau County and, further north, Westchester County pay the forth and fifth highest property taxes in the country.
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$3,517 per capita
Ranking 4th of the states with the most millionaires, The Nutmeg State levies a 6.5% tax on earners of $500,000 and more, a gasoline tax of 41.9 cents/gallon and 6% sales tax. The state’s richest residents are hedge fund managers including Steven Cohen and Ray Dalio, the 36th and 65th richest Americans respectively who live and work in and around the town of Greenwich.
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$3,861 per capita
The second-least populated state in the country collected $91 million in property taxes — 38% of total state tax collected. There is both a school property tax and a municipal property tax for personal property and a statewide education tax imposed on all nonresidential property at a rate of $1.35 for every $100 of the assessed value. The state that pumps out more maple syrup than any other has a 6% sales tax, 9% on restaurant meals, and anyone earning more than $372,950 pays 8.9% of their personal income to the state.
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