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Taxes in the States: Rankings, and Right and Wrong Directions

April 23, 2012 Comments off

Taxes in the States: Rankings, and Right and Wrong Directions
Source: Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council

While we all face the same federal tax code, the story on state and local taxes can and does vary considerably state by state. And that most certainly matters as to where entrepreneurs and investors decide to take risks, that is, where to start up, build and invest in businesses, and therefore where jobs are created and where people live.

The just-published “Business Tax Index 2012: Best to Worst State Tax Systems for Entrepreneurship and Small Business” from the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (which I author each year) is an annual ranking of the 50 states and District of Columbia according to 18 different broad tax costs.

This index gets at how heavily tax burdens, state by state, fall on the entrepreneurial sector of the economy. Given that entrepreneurship and investment are the sources of innovation, economic growth and job creation, everyone should be concerned about such burdens.

As noted in the report, the 18 measures are: 1) state’s top personal income tax rate, 2) state’s top individual capital gains tax rate, 3) state’s top corporate income tax rate, 4) state’s top corporate capital gains tax rate, 5) any added income tax on S-Corporations, 6) whether or not the state imposes an alternative minimum tax on individuals, 7) whether or not the state imposes an alternative minimum tax on corporations, 8) whether or not the state’s personal income tax brackets are indexed for inflation, 9) property taxes, 10) consumption-based taxes (i.e., sales, gross receipts and excise taxes), 11) whether or not the state imposes a death tax, 12) unemployment taxes, 13) whether or not the state has a tax limitation mechanism, 14) whether or not the state imposes an Internet access tax, 15) “Amazon” taxes, 16) gas tax, 17) diesel tax, and 18) wireless taxes.

The bottom line is that these taxes reduce the incentives and/or resources available for building businesses, serving consumers and expanding employment.

So, which states rank the best? Well, the top 15 states on this year’s “Business Tax Index” are: 1) South Dakota, 2) Texas, 3) Nevada, 4) Wyoming, 5) Washington, 6) Florida, 7) Alaska, 8)Alabama, 9) Ohio, 10) Colorado, 11) Mississippi, 12) Michigan, 13) South Carolina, 14) Tennessee, and 15) Missouri.

+ Business Tax Index 2012: Best to Worst Tax Systems for Entrepreneurship and Small Business

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