Colorado moves up in latest tax ranking

Colorado fares comparatively well in an annual study of state and local tax burdens, but moved up seven spots in the latest ranking.

Colorado came in at 32nd in the state and local tax burden ranking compiled by the Tax Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan tax research organization based in Washington, D.C.

New York ranked first with the highest state and local taxes as a proportion of income. Alaska ranked 50th with the lowest state and local tax burden.

The analysis estimated the average total tax burden for residents of each state, including in-state taxes to which they’re subjected as well as taxes they pay to other states by working in, traveling to or buying products from those states.

On a national level, U.S. residents paid  on average 9.9 percent of their income to pay state and local taxes in 2010, the most recent year for which data is available. Since 2000, the state and local tax burden has increased six-tenths of a percent.

In Colorado, residents paid on average 9.1 percent of their income for state and local taxes, including $2,910 in taxes paid to their home state and $1,194 in taxes paid to other states.

Colorado experienced one of the biggest changes in rankings in moving from 39th to 32nd. Only Delaware experienced a larger change in dropping from 17th to 31st.

Colorado was among the states experiencing the largest increases in their state and local tax burdens with a four-tenths of a percent increase in the resident tax burden.

In New York, residents paid on average 12.8 percent of their income for state and local taxes. The next highest tax burdens were found in New Jersey, Connecticut, California and Wisconsin.

In contrast, Alaska residents paid on average 7 percent of their income for state and local taxes. The next lowest tax burdens were found in South Dakota, Tennessee, Louisiana and Wyoming.

Elizabeth Malm, an economist with the Tax Foundation, said some states shift significant portions of their tax burdens to nonresidents by taxing oil and other natural resources or the tourists who visit there.

“Resource-rich states, such as Alaska and Wyoming, are only the most dramatic examples of tax exporting,” Malm said. “Major tourist destinations like Nevada and Florida are able to lower residents’ burden by taxing tourists, who are often nonresidents. Nationwide, over a quarter of all state and local taxes are collected from nonresidents.”