State Unionism Rankings: Do Highly Unionized States have Higher Unemployment?

Union employment in the U.S. continued to shrink this past year.  Nationwide union participation stands at 12.3% which is a slight decline from 2008.

The BLS 2009 Annual Union Affiliation by Statesurvey was recently published.  It has brought increased attention to the union movement. Union policy will further be in the spotlight this week as the Senate wrestles with the nomination of Craig Becker, a clearly pro-union candidate, to the National Labor Review Board.  See GOP’s Senate Gain Clouds Prospect of Obama’s Labor Board Nominee.  In view of this upcoming debate, we thought it would be helpful to take a deeper look at state unionization and employment.


Let’s take a look at state unionization.

New York is the most unionized state in the nation with 27.2% of its population working for a union.  More than 1 in four workers are represented by a union in New York.  Hawaii at 24.3% is the second most unionized state at 24.3%, followed by Alaska at 23.6%.  Washington, Michigan, and New Jersey are heavily unionized states with about 20% union participation rates.

The least unionized state is North Carolina at 4.4%.  Only one in 23 workers in North Carolina are represented by a union, a sharp difference as compared to New York.  Additional states with low union participation rates are Arkansas at 5.0%, Virginia at 5.4%, South Carolina at 5.4% and Georgia at 5.9%

Twenty seven states had decreased union participation in 2009 as compared with 2008.  States with low union participation rates generally became less so in 2009 and those states with union growth were primarily already highly unionized.  There are 22 states with right to work laws in the U.S.  Right to work laws generally do not require employees to pay fees or join a union even if voted in.

A look at union participation and unemployment shows states with high union participation rates are closely associated with higher unemployment.

The five Worst States for Employment in 2009 were Michigan, Rhode Island, Nevada, California and South Carolina.  All but South Carolina are highly unionized states.  The Worst States for Employment in 2009 generally were highly unionized states.

Worst States for Employment and Union Participation

 

 

The Best States for Employment in 2009 were North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma and Kansas. All but Iowa have unionparticipation rates below the U.S. average and would be classified asstates with low unionization.  If you are looking for a job, look at states with low unionization.  They tend to have less unemployment. See  Best and Worst States for Jobs: Will Jobs Improve in 2010 for the rankings of all states by employment.  The list of Best States for Employment and Union Participation follows:

Best States for Employment and Union Participation



The list of Unionism by State follows:

Unionism by State


Union membership has been in a long term decline since 1983 when BLS first started measuring it in a consistent way.  Union participation was 20.1% of the working population in 1983.  It is now approximately 40% lower at 12.3%.  For the first time in 2009, the majority of union members now work for the government and not for private, for profit entities.  These state workers are on average paid significantly more than private industry.  Making it easier for government workers to unionize will only push labor costs higher and cost the taxpayers more.  Political leaders should be trying to keep these costs in check. (The average federal worker’s pay is $71,206 as compared to $40,331 in the private sector and is growing above inflation rates) The Obama administration’s labor policy approach creates a conflict with its responsibilities to protect the taxpayer. Increased unionization will increase our cost of government.  If the Obama administration is serious about job creation and deficit control, it may want to reconsider this approach.  Unions and job creation generally do not have a positive correlation.  Watch the news this week as it relates to Craig Becker.  It will have implications for jobs and deficits.

One Year Of Obama and Stimulus: Job Openings down 5.48% , Unemployment Up to 10%

It has been one year since President Obama took office and announced a stimulus bill that was to improve jobs.  The data suggests that the job market continued to deteriorate this past year.  Unemployment is up to 10% from 7.4%.  Job Openings are down 5.48%

Job Openings, as measured on careerbuilder.com, have not improved from one year ago.  Nationwide, job openings at January 31, 2010 were 5.48% lower than January 29, 2009.  Total job openings stand at 222,189 as compared to 235,059 last year, a decrease of 12,870.  37 States have lower job openings as compared to last year.

 

 

Best and Worst States has been tracking Job Openings by State for the past year and has reported on movements.  For some of our previouslinks see November 2009, Job Stimulus Not Working  , Job Openings September 2009 and last year’s Best and Worst States for Job Openings January 2009.  While the drops early in the year have appeared to stabilize, the level of job openings is not robust enough to suggest significant improvements in employment soon.

The Best State for Job Openings is Indiana as measured by growth.  Indiana had the largest gain in job openings, 887, up 17.4% from a year ago. Best States for Jobs also were Kentucky, Ohio and TennesseeFlorida and Ohio were the best large states for job openings.  They were the only 2 states of the Top Ten Employment States to show increases in openings.  13 States had increases in job openings from a year ago.

The Worst State for Jobs was California.  It has 3,667 less job openings from a year ago, a decrease of 14.18%.  California also has the fourth worst employment rate in the nation.  Unemployment in California is now at 12.4%, up 3.7% from a year ago.  California is struggling on many fronts and an increasing jobless population will not help it turn around.  For more on California see California Jobs Shrinking

Additional Worst States for Jobs  are Texas, Illinois,Massachusetts and Arizona.  They each had large job opening losses and double digit declines in percentage terms.

Another measure of job openings, the Conference Board’s Help Wanted On-Line Data Series is also indicating year over year decreases in job openings. The Conference Board Data for 2009 annual average job openings stands at 3,357,000, 1.1million below the 4,481,000 annual average for 2008.  More importantly their average job opening number for 2009 is 2.4 million below the 2007 average job opening number.  These are not good numbers.  On an encouraging note,the Conference Board reported positive improvement in job openings in New York, Washington, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Delaware and New Jersey.

All 50 states saw their unemployment rates increase in 2009.  See Unemployment by State 2009 for the entire 2009 list and unemployment changes from a year ago. Job openings must increase significantly nationwide if unemployment is to improve to acceptable levels. It is going to take some time for this to occur.

 

Job Openings by State January 2010

 

Largest State
California Continues to
Show Shrinking Job Openings


Texas Jobs Not Growing

Florida Shows Small Increase

Illinois Jobs Down 10.64%

37 States Have
Fewer Job Openings

2 of 10 Largest States
Show Small Increase

Indiana Best State for Job Opening Growth

Job Openings Do Not Suggest
Employment Improvements

Best States for Sunshine

Sunshine is an under appreciated dimension when thinking about where to live.  It can improve your health and happiness.  Yet rarely do we hear people say they picked a state for its sunshine.  They think more about weather temperature, jobs, taxes, cost of living etc. Sunny states generally qualify as Best States for Retirement and are Happy States according to recent happiness studies.

The Best States for Sunshine are Arizona and Nevada.  Phoenix and Las Vegas each have 310 sunny days a year or 85% sunshine.

The Top 5 States for Sunshine, in addition to Arizona and Nevada, are California, New Mexico and Hawaii. Florida, the Sunshine State, is ranked 7th of all states.

The Worst State for Sunshine is Alaska with only 41% sunny days.  Anchorage has only 150 days a year of sunshine half of Phoenix and Las Vegas.

The 5 Worst States for Sunshine are Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Vermont and Ohio.  All 5 states have sun less than 50% of the time.
The List of Sunshine for all U.S. States is published below.

Rankings of  Sunshine by State

If you are considering what are the Best States for Weather, study the Best States for Sunshine.  You may just end up with happier choices.

50 States 50 Laboratories, More on the Best and Worst States

We found the recent Economist article, California vs Texas: America’s Future  a positive contribution to the debate on Best and Worst States.

The article points out the marked differences between states and helpsmake the case that the lower tax, less government intrusion model of Texas is winning over California.  This is a case we have long advocated. The Economist also notes the work that this writer has developed overthe last 5 years on Chief Executive’s Best and Worst States for Business.  (Texas is #1 and California is #50 according to CEOs.)

We also would like to make note of a recent blog written by Kurt Brouer titled California or Texas: Which Model is Working Best?  Kurt’s Fundmasteryblog.com is getting it right by making the low tax, more personal freedom case.

With all 50 state governments under severe fiscal pressure, it is only a matter of time that the next phase of recovery will be focused on growth.  You can not spend your way out of a problem.  The severity of this budget crisis may lead finally to a rethinking of attitudes towards business. My list of states that need major rethinking would start with the 10 most broke states.  They are:

1. California: $53.7 billion shortfall or 58 percent of its budget
2. Arizona: $4 billion shortfall or 41 percent of its budget
3. Nevada: $1.2 billion or 38 percent of its budget
4. Illinois: $9.2 billion or 33 percent of its budget
5. New York: $17.9 billion or 32 percent of its budget
6. Alaska: $1.35 billion shortfall or 30 percent of its budget
7. New Jersey: $8.8 billion or 30 percent of its budget
8. Oregon: $4.2 billion or 29 percent of its budget
9. Vermont: $278 million or 25 percent of its budget
10.  Washington: $3.6 billion or 23 percent of its budget
10.  Connecticut: $4.1 billion or 23 percent of its budget

Source:  ABC News

The Top Ten Broke States tend to have the most taxation and most are run by liberal oriented governments.

All 50 states will be politically pressured to increase opportunities and jobs for their populations in the coming years.  Being attractive to business will be the obvious choice.  The wonders of our American system are our many state laboratories.  High Tax States, Low Tax States, Business Friendly States and Business Unfriendly States.  Those states early to adopt policies that encourage business will recover and grow faster than those who are slow.  We are glad to see more publications like The Economist contributing to the debate.  Hopefully we will start to see more low tax, business friendly policy changes in our many laboratories get enacted.

Comment on “Soak the Rich, Lose the Rich”

My good friend Steven Moore along with Art Laffer wrote a great piece today in the Wall Street Journal titled Soak the Rich, Lose the Rich

Their piece reinforces the general messages of this site, namely that there are Best and Worst States in the U.S. to live, create wealth and grow a business.  The story makes a case for common sense state policies of low taxes and favorable business regulatory climate.  In the piece Moore and Laffer point out that the no income tax states have created “89% more jobs and had 32% faster personal income growth than their high-tax counterparts.”  In other words, successful people and businesses go to the more favorable tax and regulatory environments.

We have long advocated state governments to adopt  more business and citizen friendly policy.  Laffer and Moore bring this issue to the forefront today with their well-written piece.  I hope state governors and legislators also read it and take action.

For more on tax policy of states see our posts Best and Worst States for Individual Taxes

and Best and Worst States for Business

For those of you interested the nine no income tax states in the U.S. are  Texas, Nevada, New Hampshire, Florida, South Dakota, Wyoming, Washington, Alaska and Tennessee.  New Hampshire and Tennessee do tax interest and dividends however.

2009 Best and Worst States for Small Business

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBEC)issued this week its 2009 Index of Best and Worst States for Entrepreneurship and Small Business.

According to the report,  the Index pulls together 16 different tax measures, and combines those into one tax score that allows the 50 states and District of Columbia to be compared and ranked.

The 16 measures are: 1) state’s top personal income tax rate, 2) state’s top individual capital
gains tax rate, 3) state’s top corporate income tax rate, 4) state’s top corporate capital gains tax
rate, 5) any added income tax on S-Corporations, 6) whether or not the state imposes an
alternative minimum tax on individuals, 7) whether or not the state imposes an alternative
minimum tax on corporations, 8) whether or not the state’s personal income tax brackets are
indexed for inflation, 9) property taxes, 10) consumption-based taxes (i.e., sales, gross receipts
and excise taxes), 11) whether or not the state imposes a death tax, 12) unemployment tax, 13)
whether or not the state has a tax limitation mechanism, 14) whether or not the state imposes an
Internet access tax, 15) gas tax, and 16) diesel tax.

The report is full of useful information.  While taxes are not the only factor in determining the Best or Worst State to Grow or Start a Business, they are a very important consideration.

The Best State for Small Business is South Dakota according to the Index.  The next 4 in order are Nevada, Wyoming, Washington and Texas.

The Worst State for Small Business is New Jersey if you do not count D.C.  Rounding out the Worst 5 States in order are Minnesota, Maine, California and New York. 

The States are currently increasing many of their taxes to address deficit issues.  Look for California and New York to rank even worse as they are loading up on all kinds of new taxes.  Texas which ranks high in many studies is the best large state.  Florida also has many attractive features and is ranked 6 in the study.

Go to the full report here for more info:

State

Index

1. South Dakota 11.10
2. Nevada 11.88
3. Wyoming 14.14
4. Washington 15.79
5. Texas 15.81
6. Florida 22.42
7. Alaska 24.91
8. Colorado 26.87
9. Alabama 28.13
10. Ohio 28.50
11. South Carolina 29.42
12. Mississippi 29.70
13. Tennessee 30.52
14. Missouri 31.42
15. Oklahoma 31.67
16. Virginia 32.26
17. Arizona 32.36
18. Illinois 33.66
19. Georgia 33.98
20. Michigan 34.54
21. Delaware 35.00
22. Indiana 35.05
23. Arkansas 35.12
24. Utah 35.39
25. New Hampshire 35.50
26. Louisiana 35.68
27. New Mexico 35.74
28. Kentucky 35.89
29. Pennsylvania 36.26
30. Connecticut 37.75
31. Montana 38.01
32. Wisconsin 38.21
33. Kansas 39.05
34. Oregon 39.23
35. Maryland 39.38
36. North Dakota 39.48
37. Hawaii 39.88
38. North Carolina 41.03
39. West Virginia 41.27
40. Nebraska 42.09
41. Idaho 43.08
42. Massachusetts 44.60
43. Vermont 44.86
44. Rhode Island 45.64
45. Iowa 49.15
46. New York 49.36
47. California 49.69
48. Maine 49.86
49. Minnesota 50.79
50. New Jersey 51.09
51.Dist. Of Columbia 58.32

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Best and Worst States for Seatbelt Usage, Michigan Best, Massachusetts Worst

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released 2008 data on State seat belt usage.

The Best State for Seatbelt Usage is Michigan with a 97.2% usage.  The other top 5 Best States are Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and California.

The Worst State for Seatbelt Usage is Massachusetts with only a 66.8% usage.  The other Worst 5 States are Wyoming, New Hampshire, Arkansas and Mississippi.

These stats tend to get wide publicity and embolden states to take more action against citizens who do not use seat belts.

22 states do not allow police officers to stop motorists for not wearing a seat belt.  Primary States, those that allow stopping drivers for no seat belts, tend to have the highest seat belt usage.

According to a 2001 study of US crash data, it was found that previous estimates of seat belt effectiveness had been significantly overstated. According to the analysis used, seat belts were claimed to have decreased fatalities by 1.35% for each 10% increase in seat belt use.  Many drivers would prefer not to be pulled over for lack of seat belt usage.  Should we be asking our limited police departments to pull over drivers for not using seat belts? Are there more important “crimes” that our police should be pursuing?  Are drivers in Massachusetts that much more dangerous than Michigan?
See:

‘The Effects of Mandatory Seat Belt Laws on Driving Behavior and Traffic Fatalities’ by Alma Cohen and Liran Einav at Harvard Law School      
State Seat Belt use %Change
1 Michigan 97.20% 3.50%
2 Hawaii 97.00% -0.60%
3 Washington 96.50% 0.10%
4 Oregon 96.30% 1.00%
5 California 95.70% 1.10%
6 Maryland 93.30% 0.20%
7 Iowa 92.90% 1.60%
8 New Jersey 91.80% 0.40%
9 Delaware 91.30% 4.70%
10 Indiana 91.20% 3.30%
11 Texas 91.20% -0.60%
12 New Mexico 91.10% -0.40%
13 Nevada 90.90% -1.30%
14 Illinois 90.50% 0.40%
15 Dist. Of Columbia 90.00% 2.90%
16 North Carolina 89.80% 1.00%
17 Georgia 89.60% 0.60%
18 West Virginia 89.50% -0.10%
19 New York 89.10% 5.60%
20 Connecticut 88.00% 2.20%
21 Vermont 87.30% 0.20%
22 Minnesota 86.70% -1.10%
23 Alabama 86.10% 3.80%
24 Utah 86.00% -0.80%
25 Pennsylvania 85.10% -1.60%
26 Alaska 84.90% 2.50%
27 Oklahoma 84.30% 1.20%
28 Maine 83.00% 3.20%
29 Nationwide 83% 1%
30 Ohio 82.70% 1.10%
31 Montana 82.60% 3.90%
32 Colorado 81.70% 0.60%
33 Florida 81.70% 2.60%
34 North Dakota 81.60% -0.60%
35 Tennessee 81.50% 1.30%
36 Virginia 80.60% 0.70%
37 Arizona 79.90% -1.00%
38 South Carolina 79.00% 4.50%
39 Kansas 77.40% 2.40%
40 Idaho 76.90% -1.60%
41 Missouri 75.80% -1.40%
42 Louisiana 75.50% 0.30%
43 Wisconsin 74.20% -1.10%
44 Kentucky 73.30% 1.50%
45 Rhode Island 72.00% -7.10%
46 South Dakota 71.80% -1.20%
47 Mississippi 71.30% -0.50%
48 Arkansas 70.40% 0.50%
49 New Hampshire 69.20% 5.40%
50 Wyoming 68.60% -3.60%
51 Massachusetts 66.80% -1.90%

Source:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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Tax Freedom Day 2009: Pick Your State Carefully

The Tax Foundation recently released their 2009 Tax Freedom Day Study.  It measures how many days the average worker must work to  pay taxes. There is a wide disparity among states. The tax burden you bear can significantly impact your quality of life.

The Best State for Tax Freedom is Alaska where it takes 82 days almost 25% of the year just to pay taxes.  Louisiana, Mississippi, South Dakota, North Dakota and West Virginia are also rated Best States for Tax Freedom.  If you are not retired, these states would be considered as candidates for Best States to Work.

The Worst State for Tax Freedom is Connecticut where it takes 120 days or until April 30 to pay taxes.  If you live in Connecticut 1/3 of your time every year goes to pay taxes to the Federal, State and Local governments.  That is almost 50% more days than Alaska.  New Jersey, New York, California and Maryland are also rated Worst States for Tax Freedom.

According to the Tax Foundation study, five major categories of tax dominate the tax burden. Individual income taxes, both federal and state, require 38 days’ work. Payroll taxes take another 27 days’ work. Sales and excise taxes, mostly state and local, take 15 days to pay off. Corporate income taxes take 6 days, and property taxes take 12. Americans will log 4 more days to pay other miscellaneous taxes, most notably including motor vehicle license taxes and severance taxes, and about 1 day for estate taxes.

What state you live in is very important in determining your lifestyle as higher cost of living states tend to have higher tax burdens.  Lower disposable income is the result.  Many states are also increasing many taxes due to economic conditions which will increase tax burdens.  Noteworthy examples are the proposed increases in New York and California that will make these heavily burdened states more undesirable to live.  If you are not retired, New York and California would have to be considered as 2 of the Worst States to Work.

Tax
State Days Freedom Day
1 Alaska 82 23-Mar
2 Louisiana 87 28-Mar
3 Mississippi 87 28-Mar
4 South Dakota 88 29-Mar
5 North Dakota 91 1-Apr
6 West Virginia 91 1-Apr
7 Alabama 92 2-Apr
8 New Mexico 92 2-Apr
9 Montana 93 3-Apr
10 Kentucky 93 3-Apr
11 Oklahoma 94 4-Apr
12 Iowa 94 4-Apr
13 South Carolina 94 4-Apr
14 Arkansas 94 4-Apr
15 Tennessee 95 5-Apr
16 Wyoming 95 5-Apr
17 Missouri 96 6-Apr
18 Maine 96 6-Apr
19 Texas 96 6-Apr
20 Nebraska 98 8-Apr
21 Kansas 98 8-Apr
22 Nevada 98 8-Apr
23 Indiana 98 8-Apr
24 Florida 99 9-Apr
25 Oregon 99 9-Apr
26 North Carolina 99 9-Apr
27 Michigan 100 10-Apr
28 Arizona 100 10-Apr
29 New Hampshire 100 10-Apr
30 Ohio 101 11-Apr
31 Delaware 101 11-Apr
32 Vermont 102 12-Apr
33 Idaho 102 12-Apr
34 Georgia 102 12-Apr
35 Colorado 102 12-Apr
36 Illinois 103 13-Apr
37 Hawaii 103 13-Apr
38 Utah 103 13-Apr
39 Wisconsin 103 13-Apr
40 Pennsylvania 104 14-Apr
41 Rhode Island 104 14-Apr
42 Minnesota 105 15-Apr
43 Washington 106 16-Apr
44 Massachusetts 106 16-Apr
45 Virginia 106 16-Apr
46 Maryland 109 19-Apr
47 California 110 20-Apr
48 New York 115 25-Apr
49 New Jersey 119 29-Apr
50 Connecticut 120 30-Apr

Source: Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day

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State Unemployment Up Everywhere in Feb, Michigan tops 12% Unemployed

The February 2009 State Unemployment numbers were released this past week and they were not pretty. Every state in the U.S. saw its unemployment rate increase.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)  also released March Unemployment, along with Feb state data, and the nationwide unemployment rate increased again to 8.5% nationwide.  It was 8.1% in February.

Seven States had unemployment above 10% in February.  Michigan was the Worst State for Jobs with a whopping 12% unemployment number.  South Carolina, Oregon, North Carolina, California Rhode Island and Nevada also qualify as Worst States for Employment as the 6 other states with unemployment above 10% .

The Best State for Jobs based on a low 3.9% unemployment is Wyoming. 4 other states qualify as Best States for Employment with rates still below 5%.  They are:  Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa.

Some of the state year on year changes are quite large.  Unemployment increased by over 100% from last year in Hawaii and Oregon for example.  Of the large states, Texas is holding up the best with unemployment of only 6.2% in February which was below the U.S. Feb average of 8.1%.

State data is released with a one month lag so expect March state unemployment to get even worse as unemployment increased nationwide in March by .4%.

State Feb-08 Feb-09 Change
1 Michigan 7.4 12 4.6
2 South Carolina 5.7 11 5.3
3 Oregon 5.4 10.8 5.4
4 North Carolina 5.2 10.7 5.5
5 California 6.2 10.5 4.3
6 Rhode Island 6.5 10.5 4
7 Nevada 5.5 10.1 4.6
8 District of Columbia 6.1 9.9 3.8
9 Florida 5.2 9.4 4.2
10 Indiana 5 9.4 4.4
11 Ohio 5.9 9.4 3.5
12 Georgia 5.4 9.3 3.9
13 Kentucky 5.6 9.2 3.6
14 Mississippi 5.9 9.1 3.2
15 Tennessee 5.5 9.1 3.6
16 Illinois . 5.9 8.6 2.7
17 Alabama 4.1 8.4 4.3
18 Washington 4.7 8.4 3.7
19 Missouri 5.5 8.3 2.8
20 New Jersey 4.7 8.2 3.5
21 Minnesota 5 8.1 3.1
22 Alaska 6.5 8 1.5
23 Maine 4.9 8 3.1
24 Massachusetts 4.6 7.8 3.2
25 New York 4.6 7.8 3.2
26 Wisconsin 4.5 7.7 3.2
27 Pennsylvania 4.8 7.5 2.7
28 Arizona 4.5 7.4 2.9
29 Connecticut 5.2 7.4 2.2
30 Delaware 4 7.4 3.4
31 Colorado 4.5 7.2 2.7
32 Vermont 4.4 7 2.6
33 Idaho 3.9 6.8 2.9
34 Maryland 3.7 6.7 3
35 Arkansas 4.8 6.6 1.8
36 Virginia 3.5 6.6 3.1
37 Hawaii 3.1 6.5 3.4
38 Texas 4.5 6.5 2
39 Montana 4 6 2
40 West Virginia 4.2 6 1.8
41 Kansas 4 5.9 1.9
42 Louisiana 3.8 5.7 1.9
43 Oklahoma 3.2 5.5 2.3
44 New Mexico 3.8 5.4 1.6
45 New Hampshire 3.7 5.3 1.6
46 Utah 3.3 5.1 1.8
47 Iowa 3.9 4.9 1
48 South Dakota 2.7 4.6 1.9
49 North Dakota 3 4.3 1.3
50 Nebraska 3 4.2 1.2
51 Wyoming 2.8 3.9 1.1
p = preliminary.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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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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