I ran across two interesting lists showing how politicians at the state and local level are often just as bad as the ones in Washington, DC. First, Forbes has an article identifying the 10 states with the highest income tax rates. The top rate is a big deterrent to entrepreneurs and investors, but it’s also important to look at the income level where the top tax rate takes effect. Yes, Hawaii, Oregon, and California have terrible tax policy, but Iowa, Maine, and Washington, DC, deserve special scorn for raping the middle class.
Hawaii: 11% (income over $400,000 (couple), $200,000 (single))
Oregon: 11% (income over $500,000 (couple), $250,000 (single))
California: 10.55% (income over $1 million)
Rhode Island: 9.9% (income over $373,650)
Iowa: 8.98% (income over $64,261)
New Jersey 8.97% (income over $500,000)
New York: 8.97% (income over $500,000)
Vermont: 8.95% (income over $373,650)
Maine: 8.5% (income over $39,549 (couple), $19,749 (single))
Washington, D.C.: 8.5% (income over $40,000)
Looking at the other major source of revenue for state and local governments, the Tax Foundation identifies the cities with the highest total sales tax rate – a number that often includes three separate levies by state, county, and city governments. Here are the top 10. Or should I say worst 10?
Birmingham AL 10.000%
Montgomery AL 10.000%
Long Beach CA 9.750%
Los Angeles CA 9.750%
Oakland CA 9.750%
Fremont CA 9.750%
Chicago IL 9.750%
Glendale AZ 9.600%
Seattle WA 9.500%
San Francisco CA 9.500%
One thing that stands out is that California is on both lists, which helps explain why the state is such a basket case. Seattle deserves a special mention because at least there is no state income tax in Washington.
Last but not least, it’s worth mentioning that there’s no sales tax or income tax in New Hampshire. Live Free or Die!