Washington taxes are in a sweet spot — not too high, and not too low — when considering all 50 states. But with so many tax proposals on the table, how long can that last?
According to 24/7 Wall St., Washington falls right into the middle of the pack when it comes to state taxes. At one end of the spectrum is Alaska, which pays very little (6.5 percent). On the other end is New York, where people pay the most in the country (12.7 percent).
Washington ranks 24th when it comes to its tax burden. Residents pay 9.3 percent in taxes (as a percent of income). Income per capita in the state is the 11th highest in America at $54,579. General sales tax per capita is third highest — $1,746. And property tax per capita is 24th highest — $1,364.
Evan Comen with 24/7 Wall St. writes:
… in the 10 highest burden states, individual income tax collections per capita in fiscal 2015 exceeded the national average of $967. By contrast, five of the 10 states with the lowest tax burden collect no income tax. Similarly, property taxes tend to exceed the national average in high burden states, while they tend to be lower in states at the other end of the tax burden spectrum.
Washington taxes on the table
Of course, 24/7 Wall St.’s information is from before the 2018 property tax bill that Washingtonians are currently getting in the mail. A large portion of that tax is from the McCleary decision to fund K-12 education. Those numbers could tip the scales quite a bit.
Higher property taxes aren’t the only costs to consider. Beyond Seattle’s recently-implemented soda tax (it nearly doubled the price of pop at Costco), the city is also crafting a head tax for its largest employers. Seattle is also currently fighting in the courts for an income tax.
In the Puget Sound region, residents are getting used to the new car tab fees put in place by the voter-approved Sound Transit 3. The tabs are considerably higher than many expected.
At the state level there is an effort to start a carbon tax that would trickle down to the gas pump. Some are suspicious that the carbon tax is part of an effort to establish a state income tax. Of course, Tim Eyman has something to say about that.
And then you have another effort in Olympia to start a capital gains tax. It’s being sold as a way to ease the strain of higher property taxes.
Still, if you’re a tech-savvy worker from California, any Northwest state likely looks a lot better than the Golden State. California ranks among the highest-taxed states — 11 percent of income. That’s a bit more than Washington’s 9.3 percent.
24/7 Wall St. ranks Oregon at 39th with 10.3 percent. Idaho beats out all its Northwest neighbors at 22nd and 9.3 percent. Now I know what you are thinking, Washington also pays 9.3 percent in taxes. But, Idaho has a much different financial setup — it has a lower average income, but with lower overall taxes.
“High tax burden states collect more taxes and at higher rates, while lower burden states collect fewer taxes and at lower rates,” Comen writes.
24/7 Wall St. reports:
- Taxes paid as pct. of income: 9.3%
- Income per capita: $39,470 (6th lowest)
- Income tax collections per capita: $893 (22nd lowest)
- Property tax collections per capita: $928 (11th lowest)
- General sales tax collections per capita: $885 (25th lowest)
- Taxes paid as pct. of income: 9.3%
- Income per capita: $54,579 (11th highest)
- Income tax collections per capita: $0 (tied — the lowest)
- Property tax collections per capita: $1,364 (24th highest)
- General sales tax collections per capita: $1,746 (3rd highest)
- Taxes paid as pct. of income: 10.3%
- Income per capita: $45,399 (23rd lowest)
- Income tax collections per capita: $1,814 (6th highest)
- Property tax collections per capita: $1,350 (25th highest)
- General sales tax collections per capita: $0 (tied — the lowest)