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Scott Drenkard

Former Director of State Projects

Scott was an economist and the Director of State Projects for the Tax Foundation until 2018. He was co-author of the annual State Business Tax Climate Index and editor of the 2012 and 2013 editions of the popular handbook, Facts & Figures: How Does Your State Compare? He has co-authored books on North CarolinaNebraska, and Louisiana tax policy which laid the groundwork for fundamental tax reforms in each state. Scott and the Center for State Tax Policy were highlighted in State Tax Notes‘ “most influential in state tax policy” feature in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

His analysis of tax and spending policy has been featured hundreds of times in media outlets across the country, including the Economist, the Wall Street JournalUSA Today, the Daily News, the Washington Post, the New York Post,, Yahoo News, the Huffington PostKiplinger, Reuters, the Associated Press, CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox News, NPR, the trade publication State Tax Notes, and the peer-reviewed Journal of State Taxation.

Scott has given legislative testimony or presented to officials in 26 states and before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. He has also served as an expert witness in court on tax issues. In 2015, he was appointed by the Louisiana legislature to serve on the state’s Sales Tax Streamlining & Modernization Commission.

Prior to joining the Tax Foundation, Scott held research positions at the Institute for Humane Studies and the Goldwater Institute. He holds a B.S. in Economics from the University of Mary Washington and an M.A. in Economics from George Mason University.

In 2014, he was briefly featured as a staffer to the First Lady in the second season of House of Cards. Scott lives in Southeast Washington, D.C. with his wife, Molly.

Latest Work

State and Local Sales Tax Rates 2018

State and Local Sales Tax Rates, 2018

In addition to state-level sales taxes, consumers also face local sales taxes in 38 states. These rates can be substantial, so a state with a moderate statewide sales tax rate could actually have a very high combined state and local rate.

11 min read
Cell Phone Taxes, Wireless taxes

Wireless Taxes and Fees in 2017

A typical American household with four wireless phones paying $100 per month for wireless voice service can expect to pay about $221 per year in wireless taxes, fees, and surcharges.

34 min read
Cigarette Tax Revenue cigarette smuggling

Cigarette Taxes and Cigarette Smuggling by State, 2015

Excessive tax rates on cigarettes approach de facto prohibition in some states, inducing black and gray market movement of tobacco products into high-tax states from low-tax states or foreign sources.

7 min read
Wyoming Business Tax Competitiveness

2018 State Business Tax Climate Index

For 15 years, our State Business Tax Climate Index has been the standard for legislators and taxpayers to understand how their state’s tax code compares and how it can be improved. Now, for the first time ever, you can explore our Index’s 100+ variables in an easy to use, interactive format.

16 min read
United States map, The US States which are impacted by federal tax reform

Is the State and Local Tax Deduction in Place to Protect Against Double Taxation?

Repealing the state and local tax deduction will be an important part of pro-growth tax reform. Eliminating the deduction would free up $1.8 trillion to use for lowering rates across the board. Special interest groups will want you to think this deduction protects you against double taxation. Don’t fall for it.

2 min read
Ohio Illustrated Banner

Ohio Illustrated: A Visual Guide to Taxes & The Economy

This new chart book cuts through the complexity and gives you a broad perspective of Ohio’s overall economy and tax system. The result is a powerful diagnostic tool you can use to identify your state’s unique strengths and weaknesses.