Our View: Not everything is big in Texas

The SE Texas Record Apr. 8, 2014, 9:40am

We like to boast about everything being big in Texas, but bigger’s not always better. When it comes to potholes and cavities, for instance, and alimony payments (assuming you’re on the giving end), most people would agree: the smaller, the better.

Speaking of things that are better small, how about taxes? 

If you switch the vowels in Texas, it spells taxes. Even if you don’t switch the vowels in Texas, you’ll still get taxes, because taxes, like death, are unavoidable. Just because they’re unavoidable doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to postpone the one and minimize the other.

There are some Texans who think that bigger taxes are better, and we know who they are. The rest of us, the people whose pockets they’d like to pick, prefer to keep more of their money.

As it happens, our tax burden isn’t one of the big things in Texas. In fact, it’s relatively small: the fourth smallest in the country. (California is the fourth biggest.) According to the Tax Foundation’s Annual State-Local Tax Burden Ranking FY 2011, released last week, only the residents of South Dakota, Alaska and Wyoming have smaller tax burdens than we do.

For each state, Tax Foundation personnel “calculate the total amount paid by the residents in taxes, then divide those taxes by the state’s total income to compute a ‘tax burden,’” the report explains. The goal is to determine “what percentage of their income are the residents of this state paying in state and local taxes?”

For Texans, the “state-local tax burden as share of state income” is 7.5 percent. That’s compared to Wyoming’s low of 6.9, the national average of 9.8, and New York’s high of 12.6 percent.

That’s a BIG difference.


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