In today's fast moving world, keeping informed on the public policies that impact your personal or work life is a daunting task. Fortunately, technology can aid in that effort and that is the ultimate purpose of Key Policy Data.


We accomplish this goal with the help of the innovative Qlikview data visualization and discovery program. Qlikview allows us to post huge amounts of data without sacrificing usability.  For instance, our state and county tax burden app can quickly show you how your state's tax burden ranks and how it has changed over time with just a few clicks of a button.


We hope that you find the information on Key Policy Data useful and we simply request that you share this website with your friends and family. Additionally, be sure to sign up for our mailing list to make sure you don't miss any of our analysis on the important public policy issues impacting your state.


Category: Tax Burdens

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, Vermont collected $3.1 billion in state and local taxes. While this is an impressive sum of money, it tells us little about whether or not the average Vermont taxpayer can afford this level of taxation.

As shown in the charts below, Vermont’s state and local tax burden (tax collections divided by personal income) was the 5th highest in the nation for FY 2011 at 12.1 percent—or 15.5 percent above the national average of 10.5 percent. Vermont’s tax burden has grown over time by 26.8 percent to 12.1 percent in FY 2011 from 9.5 percent in FY 1950.

One cannot talk about Vermont’s high tax burden without mentioning property taxes. Vermont has the 3rd highest state and local property tax burden in the country. In large part because Vermont relies so heavily on the property tax. In fact, state and local property tax collections make up 43.6 percent of all tax collections—the 5th highest percentage in the country.

Vermont’s property tax system is also unique in that it now mostly resides at the state level. In FY 2011, the state property tax raised $956 million while local property tax raised $420 million. This is due to Act 60 (Equal Educational Opportunity Act off 1997 (pdf)) which mandated a uniform state-wide property tax in order to “equalize” access to education. 

So far Act 60 has mostly resulted in a tax shift to the state from local government, whether it results in higher and/or lower property tax burdens overall is yet to be seen.

On the other hand, Vermont compensates for a high property tax burden with a low sales tax burden of 1.29 percent—the 44th highest in the country. However, this may not all be by choice. Rather, it may be a rational response to the fact that neighboring New Hampshire does not have a sales tax.

This dynamic has created a situation where Vermont taxpayers can arbitrage the sales tax differential in their favor through cross-border shopping in New Hampshire. In fact, Dr. Arthur Woolf found in a recent study on Vermonters cross-border shopping that (pdf):

"If the level of retail sales per person had remained identical in the two border areas, which it was in the years before Vermont implemented its sales tax, Vermont’s border communities would have had $540 million more in retail sales in 2007 and 3,000 more retail jobs. This would have contributed to healthier, more vibrant, communities and downtowns."

As such, Vermont’s low sales tax burden may not be solely due to a statutorily limited sales tax, but rather that a significant portion of taxable sales has already shifted across the border into New Hampshire. Of course, it is a chicken-and-egg problem. Perhaps Vermont’s sales tax is statutorily limited because policymakers know that it will drive more taxable sales into New Hampshire—so why bother making the tax bigger.

Whichever the case, taxes matter.

Click here to view tax burden data.



View Post



Check Out Our Unique Apps:

U.S. Capitol.jpg

Government Workforce

Tax Squeeze.jpg

Tax Burden

Strings Attached to Federal Dollars.jpg

Federal Tax and Spend

Hundred Dollar Bill.jpg

Cost of Living (COLI)



Measuring a Dollar.jpg

Federal Tax & COLI


Federal Pension

United States Office of Personnel Management Seal.jpg

Federal Payroll

Check Out All Posts For Your State:

Alabama.jpg  Alabama

Alaska.jpg  Alaska   

Arizona.jpg   Arizona 

Arkansas.jpg  Arkansas

California.jpg  California

Colorado.jpg  Colorado

Connecticut.jpg  Connecticut

 Delaware.jpg  Delaware

Florida.jpg  Florida

 Georgia.jpg  Georgia

Hawaii.jpg  Hawaii

  Idaho.jpg  Idaho

   Illinois.jpg  Illinois

   Indiana.jpg  Indiana

  Iowa.jpg  Iowa

  Kansas.jpg  Kansas

  Kentucky.jpg  Kentucky

   Louisiana.jpg  Louisiana

   Maine.jpg  Maine

  Maryland.jpg  Maryland

Massachusetts.jpg  Massachusetts

Michigan.jpg  Michigan

Minnesota.jpg  Minnesota

  Mississippi.jpg  Mississippi

Missouri.jpg  Missouri

Montana.jpg  Montana

Nebraska.jpg  Nebraska

Nevada.jpg  Nevada

New Hampshire.jpg  New Hampshire

New Jersey.jpg  New Jersey

New Mexico.jpg  New Mexico

New York.jpg  New York

North Carolina.jpg  North Carolina

North Dakota.jpg  North Dakota

Ohio.jpg  Ohio

Oklahoma.jpg  Oklahoma

Oregon.jpg  Oregon

Pennsylvania.jpg  Pennsylvania

Rhode Island.jpg  Rhode Island

South Carolina.jpg  South Carolina

South Dakota.jpg  South Dakota

Tennessee.jpg  Tennessee

Texas.jpg  Texas

Utah.jpg  Utah

Vermont.jpg  Vermont

Virginia.jpg  Virginia

Washington.jpg  Washington

West Virginia.jpg  West Virginia

Wisconsin.jpg  Wisconsin

Wyoming.jpg  Wyoming