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California's Tax Burden:
California Has Country's Sixth Highest Tax Burden, Study Finds

California has the sixth highest tax burden in the country, according to a new study by the Tax Foundation, a non-profit group headquartered in Washington, D.C.

California's tax burden was found to have declined from 2008 to 2009, despite the major state tax increases of 2009. However, that decline in tax burden was attributable to Californians having less income and making fewer purchases.

The Tax Foundation report, "State-Local Tax Burdens Fall in 2009 as Tax Revenues Shrink Faster Than Income," notes that California taxpayers in 2009 paid an average of 10.6 percent of their income to state and local government. That figure is down slightly from 11 percent in 2008.

The report does not look at what a state collects in total taxes, but rather: "What percentage of their income are the residents of this state paying in state and local taxes?"

According to the report, residents pay the highest percent of their income in New Jersey, (12.2 percent), New York (12.1 percent), Connecticut (12 percent), Wisconsin (11 percent), Rhode Island (10.7 percent) and California (10.6 percent).

The lowest tax burdens are in Alaska (6.3 percent), Nevada (7.5 percent), South Dakota (7.6 percent), Tennessee (7.6 percent) and Wyoming (7.8 percent). On average, Americans pay state and local taxes equal to 9.8 percent of their income.

The report uses 2009 state and local tax data. The Tax Foundation said it delayed the report so data could be included reflecting final revenue numbers in each of the 50 states.

February 28, 2011

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