While there are many ways to show how much is collected in taxes by state governments, our Index is designed to show how well states structure their tax systems by focusing on the how more than the how much in recognition of the fact that there are better and worse ways to raise revenue.
The federal tax code remains a major source of frustration and controversy for Americans, and a hindrance to economic growth and opportunity. Other countries, such as Estonia, have proven that sufficient tax revenue can be collected in a less frustrating and more efficient way.
While there are many factors that affect a country’s economic performance, taxes play an important role. A well-structured tax code is easy for taxpayers to comply with and can promote economic development while raising sufficient revenue for a government’s priorities.
Tax burdens rose across the country as pandemic-era economic changes caused taxable income, activities, and property values to rise faster than net national product. Tax burdens in 2020, 2021, and 2022 are all higher than in any other year since 1978.
States are unprepared for the ongoing shift to remote and flexible work arrangements, or for the industries and activities of today, to say nothing of tomorrow. In some states, moreover, existing tax provisions exacerbate the impact of high inflation and contribute to the supply chain crisis.
A landmark comparison of corporate tax costs in all 50 states, Location Matters provides a comprehensive calculation of real-world tax burdens, going beyond headline rates to demonstrate how tax codes impact businesses and offering policymakers a road map to improvement.