Posts Tagged ‘Tax Freedom Day’

It’s time to celebrate.

That’s because we have reached Tax Freedom Day, meaning that – in the aggregate – we have finally earned enough money to pay for all the federal, state, and local taxes that will be imposed on us this year by our political masters.

But we’re not collectivists, so aggregate measures don’t really matter. Our individual tax burdens can vary considerably depending on the level and composition of our income, as well as the state in which we live.

Speaking of that, the good folks of North Dakota are the only ones actually celebrating Tax Freedom Day on this exact date. If you look at the map, Tax Freedom Day is as early as late March for residents of Louisiana and Mississippi, and as late as May for the unfortunate residents of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

Tax Freedom Day Map

You’ll notice, by the way, that Tax Freedom Day is correlated with average state income. That’s one of the reasons why low-income states tend to get better scores. Simply stated, it’s hard to collect a lot of revenue from people who don’t have much money.

And a state that historically has been wealthy, like Connecticut, will probably collect a lot of revenue even if it has a good tax system (though, for the record, Connecticut has veered dramatically in the wrong direction in the past couple of decades).

So if you want to measure whether a state has a good or bad tax system, I recommend the “fiscal” and “tax burden” categories in the “Freedom Index” from the Mercatus Center. Using that measure, South Dakota gets the best score (compared to the 6th-best score using Tax Freedom Day).

P.S. If you like maps, here are some interesting ones, starting with some international comparisons.

Here are some good state maps with useful information.

There’s even a local map.

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If you are an average American, today is a great day. According to the Tax Foundation, you have finally worked long enough and earned enough money to satisfy the annual tax demands of federal, state, and local governments.

This means you now get to keep any additional income you earn.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that Tax Freedom Day only measures the direct and immediate impact of taxation. It doesn’t measure the overall burden of government. This chart from the Tax Foundation shows that the fiscal burden of government has jumped enormously since the end of the Clinton years.

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The Taxpayers Alliance has a brief but compelling video, entitled “How long do you work for the tax man?,” which shows how an ordinary worker in the United Kingdom spends more than one-half his day laboring for government. “What will they tax next?” is still the best policy video to come out of the U.K., in my humble opinion, but this one is very much worth watching – especially since America is becoming more like Europe with each passing day.

What makes the video particularly depressing is that it only considers the tax burden. Regulations and government spending also are a burden on average workers, largely because of foregone economic growth.

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