Many Think Texas Is A Conservative Shangrila. They’re Wrong. The Taxes Are Brutal.

AUSTIN, TEXAS — In the last week, Yahoo Finance released scores grading the U.S. tax burden across all 50 states, and their report gave Texas a failing grade, and Big League Politics explains.

In a graphic released by Yahoo, the tax burden (state taxes, exlcuding federal) is depicted on a scale from 1-50 (with 1 being the best and 50 being the worst).

It is reproduced here for readers:

 

In short, Yahoo arrived at its findings by using Wallethub’s new study that cites ROI — “return on investment” — as the appropriate assessment of taxation’s impact on residents living in a state jurisdiction.

As Wallethub’s study explains:

… low income taxes don’t always mean low taxes as a whole. For example, while the state of Washington’s citizens don’t pay income tax, they still end up spending over 8% of their annual income on sales and excise taxes. Texas residents also don’t pay income tax, but spend 1.83% of their income on real estate taxes, one of the highest rates in the country. Compare these to California, where residents owe almost 5% of their income in sales and excise taxes, and just 0.77% in real estate tax.

In fact, Texans pay around $3,500 of their income into property taxes annually, and a full $3,800 into sales tax. Annual local and state taxes, when crosschecked against median household income, show that Texans spend approximately $7,300 per year total; contrast that with California, supposedly the “big, bad, socialist” state, and they only pay around $5,500 per year.

So, what can readers conclude? The sad truth is, Texas, is not the conservative, Frederick Hayek and Adam Smith-loving, laissez-fare, supply-side, trickle-down wonderland that we’ve been told for years it is. It’s economy may be better, and there may be better entry-level incentives for earners and job-creators, but that is not a complete picture where it concerns taxation and the pound of flesh it exacts from citizens.

Otherwise reliable scorecards, e.g. like the “Tax Climate Index” put out by the Tax Foundation, deceivingly award high rankings to states with low income tax rates, but neglect to proportionately weight property tax as a significant burden on citizens in those states. In fact, states with property tax regimes are actually less free and investors are less anchored (leveraged) in those jurisdictions as a result — since no property is ever really “owned,” but rather, leased from back from the state.

Furthermore, there is a serious reduction in real income, wherever property tax regimes exist — and Texas has one of the most bloated and out-of-control, with multiple attempts at reform shut down by liberal, establishment Republicans in the Texas legislature, after they pandered to voters with the usual “low tax” tropes.

Heritage Foundation reported today, April 15th, that:

The Texas legislature is considering two pieces of legislation (Senate Bill 2 and Senate Joint Resolution 76) which aim to reduce local property tax burdens. SB 2 would cap property tax levy increases at 2.5 percent, while SJR 76 aims to mitigate property taxes by shifting part of the burden to sales taxes instead. Leaders are likely considering this tax swap in addition to the cap as a strategy to address voters’ complaints about property taxes.

ROI is also much lower in states with cripplingly high property taxes.