Best and Worst States for Individual Taxes, Maryland Worst, 6 States Best

The Tax Foundation has recently published its 2009 ranking of the Best and Worst States for Individual Income Taxes.

The Best States for Individual Taxes are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming all rated a 10.0 in their Index.

The Worst State for Individual Taxes is Maryland.  Rounding out the bottom 5 Worst States in order are California, New Jersey, Ohio and Iowa.

If you want to keep more of the money you earn, pick a low tax state.  This list is useful.

Individual Income Tax Index, 2009
State Score (a) Rank
Alaska 10 1
Fla. 10 1
Nev. 10 1
S.D. 10 1
Wash. 10 1
Wyo. 10 1
Tex. 9.44 7
Tenn. 7.64 8
N.H. 7.55 9
Ill. 6.97 10
Ind. 6.72 11
Pa. 6.61 12
Utah 6.59 13
Colo. 6.41 14
Mich. 6.41 15
Mass. 6.41 16
Ala. 5.36 17
Miss. 5.35 18
N.M. 5.29 19
Va. 5.24 20
Kans. 5.2 21
Mont. 5.15 22
Ariz. 5.14 23
La. 5.09 24
Conn. 5.07 25
Okla. 5.01 26
Mo. 4.96 27
Del. 4.95 28
S.C. 4.93 29
Ga. 4.91 30
Ark. 4.87 31
Idaho 4.86 32
Nebr. 4.85 33
Ore. 4.84 34
N.D. 4.78 35
Ky. 4.78 36
N.C. 4.46 37
Hawaii 4.38 38
Minn. 4.34 39
Maine 4.33 40
W.Va. 4.33 41
R.I. 4.32 42
N.Y. 4.22 43
Wis. 4.21 44
Vt. 3.81 45
Iowa 3.7 46
Ohio 3.22 47
N.J. 3.18 48
Calif. 2.51 49
Md. 2.06 50
U.S. 5
D.C. 4.4
(a) The index is a measure of how each state’s tax laws affect economic performance.
The higher the score, the more favorable a state’s tax system is for business. All scores are for fiscal years.
Source: Tax Foundation Background Paper, No. 58, “2009 State Business Tax Climate In

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Cost of Living by State, Tennessee the Best, Hawaii Worst

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) has some valuable information on the the cost of living for each State.

The Best States for Cost of Living are Tennessee, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri and Arkansas.

The Worst States for Cost of Living are Hawaii, DC, California, New Jersey and Alaska.

Map below for cost of living is courtesy of MERIC.

The Best States for Housing Costs are Oklahoma, Tennessee, South Dakota, Texas and Missouri.

The Worst States for Housing Costs are Hawaii, DC, California, Maryland and New Jersey.

If you are looking for the Best State to Retire, the cost of living is a very important consideration.  If you want to stretch your dollar, look to the Southeast and Midwest and stay away from the North East.  Hope this helps.

Cost of Living Annual Map

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Best and Worst States for Gasoline Prices, Wyoming Best, Alaska Worst

AAA publishes retail gasoline prices everyday.

The Best State for Gas Prices is Wyoming for Feb 21 with a price of $1.72 for regular gasoline. The other Top 5 Best States are Missouri, Utah, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

Alaska is the Worst State with a state price of $2.54.  Rounding out the 5 Worst States for Gas Prices are Hawaii, California, Nevada and Washington.

According to the Tax Foundation, Wyoming’s tax on a gallon of gas is $.14 and Alaska currently has suspended its tax until August of 2009.  California taxes every gallon of gas $.353. Its residents would enjoy much lower prices if they were not being taxed so highly.

There are many factors that influence each states price.  It is not just the price of a barrel of oil.

  1. Wyoming     $1.72
  2. Missouri     $1.73
  3. Utah     $1.73
  4. Oklahoma     $1.74
  5. South Carolina     $1.77
  6. Arkansas     $1.78
  7. New Jersey     $1.78
  8. Texas     $1.79
  9. Tennessee     $1.79
  10. Mississippi     $1.80
  11. Georgia     $1.80
  12. Alabama     $1.82
  13. Kansas     $1.83
  14. Iowa     $1.83
  15. Louisiana     $1.83
  16. Idaho     $1.83
  17. Indiana     $1.83
  18. Virginia     $1.84
  19. Colorado     $1.84
  20. Kentucky     $1.84
  21. Ohio     $1.85
  22. Delaware     $1.87
  23. Nebraska     $1.88
  24. North Carolina     $1.89
  25. Michigan     $1.89
  26. New Hampshire     $1.89
  27. Maryland     $1.90
  28. Minnesota     $1.90
  29. Massachusetts     $1.90
  30. South Dakota     $1.91
  31. Montana     $1.92
  32. Illinois     $1.95
  33. North Dakota     $1.96
  34. Vermont     $1.96
  35. Wisconsin     $1.97
  36. Florida     $1.98
  37. Rhode Island     $1.98
  38. District of Columbia     $1.99
  39. Pennsylvania     $2.00
  40. New Mexico     $2.00
  41. Maine     $2.01
  42. West Virginia     $2.02
  43. Connecticut     $2.03
  44. Arizona     $2.04
  45. New York     $2.10
  46. Oregon     $2.11
  47. Washington     $2.20
  48. Nevada     $2.21
  49. California     $2.29
  50. Hawaii     $2.43
  51. Alaska     $2.54

Best and Worst States for Mortgage Rates, Georgia Best, Illinois Worst

Best and Worst States for Mortgage Rates

Zillow Interest Rate Monitor released yesterday the Best and Worst States for Mortgage Rates.

Georgia is the Best State for Mortgage Rates in the nation with a 5.14% for an average fixed rate 30 year mortgage.  Washington is the 2nd Best State for Mortgage Rates with a 5.15% rate.  The U.S. average rate is 5.23%.

Illinois is the Worst State for Mortgage Rates in the nation with its rate of 5.36% and Missouri is rated the 2nd Worst State in the nation at 5.35%.  Zillow reports mortgage rates weekly and is a valuable source of additional info on the real estate market.

The state you live can have a significant impact on your mortgage rates as lenders take local market history into consideration when making loans.  States with high foreclosure rates and price volatility cause more challenges for lenders when establishing mortgage pricing.

                        Average 30-yr.        Average 30-yr.
                         Fixed Rate            Fixed Rate
    State           Week ending 2/15/09    Week ending 2/08/09       % Change
    Arizona                 5.24%                  5.39%              -2.7%
    California              5.20%                  5.48%              -5.1%
    Colorado                5.28%                  5.46%              -3.2%
    Connecticut             5.20%                  5.37%              -3.1%
    Florida                 5.19%                  5.36%              -3.2%
    Georgia                 5.14%                  5.32%              -3.2%
    Illinois                5.36%                  5.50%              -2.6%
    Maryland                5.33%                  5.43%              -1.8%
    Massachusetts           5.31%                  5.54%              -4.2%
    Michigan                5.27%                  5.46%              -3.4%
    Missouri                5.35%                  5.51%              -2.8%
    New Jersey              5.21%                  5.42%              -4.0%
    New York                5.31%                  5.60%              -5.1%
    North Carolina          5.26%                  5.40%              -2.7%
    Oregon                  5.16%                  5.37%              -3.8%
    Pennsylvania            5.18%                  5.34%              -3.0%
    Tennessee               5.33%                  5.50%              -3.1%
    Texas                   5.27%                  5.43%              -2.9%
    Virginia                5.21%                  5.38%              -3.1%
    Washington              5.15%                  5.37%              -4.0%
Source: Zillow.com

Best and Worst States for Jobs: Should you consider North Carolina?

Jobs are on everyone’s mind.

North Carolina is a state to consider when looking for work despite its high unemployment rate of 8.7%. It is currently rated 44th,(one of the Worst) on our  Best and Worst State Unemployment List

Yet Wayne Gretzky once said, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is.  A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

Same thing with jobs.  A great job seeker goes where the jobs are going to be!!!!

North Carolina is long term an attractive place for job seekers.

Here are a few reasons:

Chief Executive Magazine  does an annual Best And Worst States to Grow Your Business. CEO’s ranked North Carolina 3rd in 2008.  It has been in the top 5 the last 4 years.

Its cost of living is favorable compared to many high cost states in the U.S.  Businesses like lower costs.

It is attractive to new hot industries and companies.

For example, North Carolina  has emerged as a global biotech leader. This is reflected in a multitude of facts:
• North Carolina is the third Best Biotech State in the nation with 482 companies in the field.
• At least 45 biotech firms in the state are based on North Carolina university technologies.
• Nearly 55,000 North Carolina residents work in biotech, representing an annual payroll of $3 billion.
• Major biotech companies with operations in North Carolina include GlaxoSmithKline, Bayer, Catalent Pharma, Novartis, Syngenta, BASF, Biogen Idec, Merck, Novo Nordisk, Wyeth and others.

What does being attractive to business mean?

Look at this recent announcement from Spirit AeroSystems.

N.C. Gov. Mike Easley, third from left, was among those participating in September
groundbreaking ceremonies for Spirit AeroSystems’ facility in Kinston, N.C.
Groundbreaking for Spirit AeroSystems' Kinston facility

Photo:  Site Selection Online

Spirit will build a 500,000-sq.-ft. (46,450-sq.-m.) complex at the North Carolina Global TransPark (GTP) near Kinston to design and manufacture the center fuselage frame section for the Airbus A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) commercial aircraft. The company also will produce the front spars for the aircraft’s wings at the Kinston plant, which is scheduled to be operational in 2010.
Spirit expects to hire 500 people upon completion and the number could go to 1000 depending on business circumstances.

While projects, like Spirits, can go slower and be smaller than expected due to changing market circumstances, one important point should not be forgotten.  Spirit selected North Carolina over many other locations.  Other businesses will likely do the same.  This is where the puck is going to be.

Monster Board currently shows 3905 jobs posted in the past 30 days.  The jobs are primarily in sales and health care fields.  This is not a high number now.  When businesses start to grow, they will pick attractive states like North Carolina to expand.   Remember there is a positive multiplier effect for jobs in other industries such as housing, retail and services from this kind of business expansion.

I hope you become a “great” job seeker and go where the jobs are going to be!

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Best and Worst States for U.S. Presidents, Virginia has Most

In What States were Presidents Born?

Virginia is the Best State for Presidents with 8 Presidents born in its state.  Ohio is second with 7. Massachusetts and New York with 4 are ranked third.  Many states have no Presidents.

George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison were all born before the U.S. became a country.  Their colonies later became states and are reflected as such in the table.

Happy Presidents Day!

U.S. President Birth States
1. George Washington (1789-97) Virginia
2. John Adams (1797-1801) Massachusetts
3. Thomas Jefferson (1801-09) Virginia
4. James Madison (1809-17) Virginia
5. James Monroe (1817-25) Virginia
6. John Quincy Adams (1825-29) Massachusetts
7. Andrew Jackson (1829-37) South Carolina
8. Martin Van Buren (1837-41) New York
9. William Henry Harrison (1841) Virginia
10. John Tyler (1841-45) Virginia
11. James K. Polk (1845-49) North Carolina
12. Zachary Taylor (1849-50) Virginia
13. Millard Fillmore (1850-53) New York
14. Franklin Pierce (1853-57) New Hampshire
15. James Buchanan (1857-61) Pennsylvania
16. Abraham Lincoln (1861-65) Kentucky
17. Andrew Johnson (1865-69) North Carolina
18. Ulysses S. Grant (1869-77) Ohio
19. Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-81) Ohio
20. James A. Garfield (1881) Ohio
21. Chester A. Arthur (1881-85) Vermont
22. Grover Cleveland (1885-89) New Jersey
23. Benjamin Harrison (1889-93) Ohio
24. Grover Cleveland (1893-97) New Jersey
25. William McKinley (1897-1901) Ohio
26. Theodore Roosevelt (1901-09) New York
27. William H. Taft (1909-13) Ohio
28. Woodrow Wilson (1913-21) Virginia
29. Warren G. Harding (1921-23) Ohio
30. Calvin Coolidge (1923-29) Vermont
31. Herbert Hoover (1929-33) Iowa
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-45) New York
33. Harry S. Truman (1945-53) Missouri
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-61) Texas
35. John F. Kennedy (1961-63) Massachusetts
36. Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-69) Texas
37. Richard M. Nixon (1969-74) California
38. Gerald R. Ford (1974-77) Nebraska
39. Jimmy Carter (1977-81) Georgia
40. Ronald Reagan (1981-89) Illinois
41. George Bush (1989-93) Massachusetts
42. William J. Clinton (1993-2001) Arkansas
43. George W. Bush (2001-2009) Connecticut
44. Barack Hussein Obama (2009-) Hawaii

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Best and Worst States for Wind Energy

Where does your state rank on use of Wind Power?

The American Wind Energy Association recently published data on Existing Wind Energy Capacity in Megawatts and
construction underway.

Texas is the Best State for Wind Energy with 7116 megawatts(mw) of existing capacity.  It also has the highest construction with 1,651 mw underway.  Iowa, California, Minnesota and Washington round out the Top 5 Best States for Wind Energy.

There are a number of States on the list for the Worst States for Wind Energy.  The bottom 10 states have no wind energy capacity and none underway according to the AWEA. For a great map of all states go to American Wind Energy Association


Also check out my previous post on Best and Worst States for Electricity RatesWashington which has the 3rd lowest rate in the nation for electric rates is also in the top 5 for Wind Energy.  Connecticut, on the other extreme, has the 49th highest cost of electricity in the country yet has no wind energy capability.  It does not even have any underway.

If you believe oil and gas prices could go up again in the future you might want to consider living in a state that is serious about other forms of power.

Best States for Wind Energy

Rank State Existing Underway
1 Texas 7,116 1,651
2 Iowa 2,790 20
3 California 2,517 275
4 Minnesota 1,752 0
5 Washington 1,375 70
6 Colorado 1,068 0
7 Oregon 1,067 250
8 Illinois 915 201
9 New York 832 464
10 Kansas 815 199
Worst States For Wind Energy
Rank State Existing Underway
50 Louisiana 0 0
49 Kentucky 0 0
48 Georgia 0 0
47 Florida 0 0
46 Delaware 0 0
45 Connecticut 0 0
44 Alabama 0 0
43 North Carolina 0 0
42 Mississippi 0 0
41 South Carolina 0 0

Source: American Wind Energy Association Blog Search Engine

Does Spending More on Education Work? State Rankings of Education Spending.

Many States Spend More and Get Less from their Educational Dollars.

Editors Note: 

For the latest 2009 State SAT Rankings go to  State SAT Scores List 2009
For the latest Best States for Jobs see Best States for Job Openings September 2009  and Best States to Find a Job

Also see the States Ranked by Unemployment Increases: Will Jobs improve in 2010?

EPE Research this past week published a state ranking of education spending per student.

While the quality of education may be influenced by the amount of money spent, spending more money does not insure that students actually learn more.  We found it interesting to note how money spent and SAT scores were associated.

The highest spending state, Vermont, is rated 30th in SAT scores nationwide.  The lowest spending state, Utah, gets higher SAT scores from their students and is ranked 20th above Vermont.  Far less money, higher score.  The Best State (highest) SAT score comes from Iowa yet their spending of $9,977 per student is right in the middle at 25th and right at the national average of spending.  The Worst State Sat score comes from Maine yet it spends the 5th most money in the nation.

With all the spending coming out of Congress, we might want to ask for more accountability on results.  The various state legislatures, that are making spending decisions, clearly can not show that more money leads to better results.  Check out our previous post on Best and Worst State SAT Scores

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The data is regionally adjusted so it takes into consideration relative cost.  While SAT scores are only one performance measurement it is an important and consistent test metric across the entire nation.
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Graduation Rates, SAT Scores and Educational Spending. Who is the Best and Worst?

Does increased spending on Education lead to higher performance?

*******Go to 2009 State SAT Scores List  for the latest SAT results.*********

This question was raised in prior posts.

I thought you might find these 2 charts interesting.  Best and Worst States For Education Spending ranks all states by spending and shows the SAT Score Rank of its students. I also have attached a Chart from  Heritage that shows that the best funded cities do not have the highest graduation rates.

The more money spent clearly does not show up in higher SAT scores or graduation rates. 

New Jersey spends the most money.  Its SAT score rank is 33 .  New York, at 2nd on the money spend, ranks 44th on SAT scores.  The “Worst” State for Education Spending is Utah yet its students rank 20th on the SAT score list above NY and New Jersey. Utah spends about 1/3 the dollars of NY and New Jersey.  Its students do better than all of the Top 10 spenders on Education.  Utah may be considered a Best State for Education considering its bang for the dollar.

Arizona
is the next lowest spend state yet ranks 29th on the SAT Scores list.  Arizona students perform better than the top 6 spenders.  Mesa, AZ which is at the bottom of the Heritage list of city spends has a graduation rate of 77.1%.  Mesa spends only 40% of Boston which has a much lower graduation rate of 57%.

Clearly money is not the only factor that impacts educational performance.  You may want to consider carefully your state’s approach to education.  It appears more dollars on education does not lead to better results.  Tell your political leaders you want accountability for results not just money spent.

State Ed Spend SAT Rank
1 New Jersey 15,033 36
2 New York 14,593 44
3 DC 14,214 50
4 Connecticut 13,059 31
5 Vermont 12,749 30
6 Rhode Island 12,425 41
7 Massachusetts 12,398 29
8 Delaware 11,619 43
9 Alaska 11,551 33
10 Maine 11,014 51
11 Pennsylvania 10,900 45
12 Wyoming 10,852 16
13 Maryland 10,682 37
14 New Hampshire 10,405 26
15 Wisconsin 10,388 6
16 Michigan 9,947 13
17 Ohio 9,936 23
18 West Virginia 9,609 32
19 Hawaii 9,581 48
20 Indiana 9,498 38
21 Illinois 9,473 2
22 Virginia 9,463 34
23 Nebraska 9,365 9
24 Minnesota 9,284 3
25 Montana 8,661 22
26 Oregon 8,595 27
27 Georgia 8,589 46
28 Iowa 8,479 1
29 Kansas 8,440 7
30 California 8,418 35
31 Missouri 8,368 4
32 New Mexico 8,342 21
33 North Dakota 8,337 7
34 Colorado 8,334 18
35 Washington 8,218 25
36 Louisiana 8,167 14
37 Arkansas 8,156 11
38 South Carolina 8,039 49
39 South Dakota 7,949 5
40 Texas 7,716 42
41 Florida 7,683 47
42 Kentucky 7,595 15
43 Alabama 7,532 19
44 North Carolina 7,352 41
45 Tennessee 7,295 10
46 Nevada 7,246 41
47 Oklahoma 7,039 12
48 Mississippi 6,973 17
49 Idaho 6,729 24
50 Arizona 6,586 29
51 Utah 5,555 20


Sources:  Dept of Education.  Spending not regionally adjusted.  College Board.

http://www.heritage.org/research/Education/images/b2179_chart5.gif
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Best and Worst States for Defending Life, Pennsylvania Best, California Worst

Americans United for Life (AUL) has recently published a Best and Worst States for Defending Life 2009.  It is a state by state legal guide for Abortion, Bioethics and the End of Life.

It is an extensive review of State policy and law for each state and has a ranking methodology for each of the defined areas of Defending Life.  Pennsylvania is ranked the Best State and California the Worst for Defending Life.

Regardless of your views or politics, the AUL study provides important insight into your state’s positions on issues such as assisted suicide, human cloning, stem cell research, parental notification for abortion for minors and other matters.  It is info you may find useful.  Source: Defending Life 2009

 

Best States Worst States
1. Pennsylvania 50. California
2. Louisiana 49. Hawaii
3. South Dakota 48. Vermont
4. Oklahoma 47. New Jersey
5. Mississippi 46. Connecticut
6. Texas 45. Nevada
7. North Dakota 44. Oregon
8. Nebraska 43. New York
9. Arkansas 42. Washington
10. Indiana 41. Illinois