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A look at where Kansas ranks on a whole lot of different taxes
So, we need $2 billion more for public schools in Kansas. Junior classes across the state are going to have to increase the prices on their Yankee Candle fundraisers by 10 percent to cover that much of a gap. Absent that, I’m guessing taxes may be involved. With that in mind, I thought I would pass along a couple of tax ranking reports.
The folks at the financial website WalletHub have a couple of new reports that probably won’t make Kansas taxpayers feel too good. While WalletHub does some stupid reports, these two seem to be based on some reliable governments statistics about tax rates and incomes.
The first report found that Kansas has the 12th highest tax rate of any state in the country, when you factor in income taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes, vehicle taxes and real estate taxes. Typical Kansans pay 12.42 percent of their income in state and local taxes. That ranked Kansas No. 40 out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Here’s a look at how other states in our region ranked:
— Colorado: No. 13, 9.27 percent
— Oklahoma: No. 25, 10.75 percent
— Missouri: No. 30, 11.28 percent
— Kansas: No. 40, 12.42 percent
— Iowa: No. 44, 12.92 percent
— Nebraska: No. 49, 13.83 percent
— National average: 10.78 percent
WalletHub also created a modified ranking that takes into account the cost of living in each state. I guess the thinking is, low tax rates in some states may be negated somewhat by a high cost of living. I’ll let you figure out the logic of it. Regardless, Kansas moves closer to the middle of the pack in that ranking, but is still on the wrong side of the average. Those rankings Colorado, No. 13; Oklahoma, No. 15; Missouri, No. 22; Kansas, No. 28; Iowa, No. 32; and Nebraska, No. 39.
I know you are wondering: Alaska had the lowest tax rate; Illinois had the highest. When adjusted for cost of living, Delaware had the lowest tax rate, and Hawaii had the highest.
Perhaps more interesting is the breakdown the report provides on the different types of taxes in each state. Here’s a look:
— Real estate: The owner of a $184,700 home in Kansas would pay, on average, $2,580 in state and local real estate taxes. Out of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., Kansas ranks 37th, with 1 being the state with the lowest amount of taxes. Other states: Colorado, $1,058, No. 7; Oklahoma, $1,683, No. 24; Missouri, $1,842, No. 26; Iowa, $2,762, No. 38; Nebraska, $3,371, No. 45.
— Vehicle property tax rate: The owner of a $24,000 vehicle in Kansas would pay, on average, $495 in state and local property taxes. That ranks No. 43. Other states: Oklahoma, $0, No. 1; Iowa, $240, No. 30; Nebraska, $383, No. 36; Colorado, $428, No. 40; Missouri, $600, No. 46.
— Income tax: A taxpayer with a household income of $55,754 would pay, on average, $994 in income taxes in Kansas. That ranks No. 15 in the country. Other states: Oklahoma, $1,360, No. 23; Nebraska, $1,410, No. 24; Colorado, $1,414, No. 25; Missouri, $1,625, No. 31; Iowa, $1,691, No. 34.
— Sales and gas taxes: A household that earns at the median amount and spends at the median amount would pay $2,855 in sales and gas taxes in Kansas during a year. That ranks No. 40. Other states: Colorado, $2,269, No. 24; Iowa, $2,509, No. 31; Missouri, $2,224, No. 22; Nebraska, $2,548, No. 32; Oklahoma, $2,994, No. 42.
Make of those numbers what you will. They do highlight pretty well what Kansas’ previous tax strategy was: Try to become a state that taxes income at a low rate. The Legislature last year, however, backed away from that strategy some, so next year’s report may look a bit different for Kansas. Unless, lawmakers make some downward adjustment on sales taxes, Kansas’ ranking probably will rise.
Plus, that little $2 billion issue may have something to say about our ranking as well.
• The second report from WalletHub looks at how federal tax dollars are spent in Kansas. WalletHub ranks Kansas as the second least dependent state on federal money. Some folks may wear that as a badge of honor in that we aren’t relying on other people’s money. Other folks may see it as we’re not getting our fair share of federal services for the federal tax dollars we pay. I’ll let you all figure that out.
As for the findings of the report, Kansas ranked No. 49 on the list of Most Federally Dependent States. Or in other words, the second least dependent state on the feds. Here’s how other states in the region ranked:
— Missouri: No. 16
— Oklahoma: No. 20
— Iowa: No. 29
— Nebraska: No. 40
— Colorado: No. 44
— Kansas: No. 49
In case you are wondering, New Mexico is the most dependent state, while Delaware is the least dependent, according to the report.
The report basically looks at all federal funding a state receives — everything from welfare programs to federal research dollars — and divides it by the amount of IRS collections in the state. The report also looks at the number of federal jobs in a state and what percentage of a state’s budget is composed of federal dollars.
On that last measurement, Kansas ranked No. 47 in terms of percentage of its state budget coming from federal dollars. Only Hawaii, Virginia and North Dakota had a smaller percentage of federal dollars.