In Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, Mississippi collected $10.2 billion in state and local taxes. While this is an impressive sum of money, it tells us little about whether or not the average Mississippi taxpayer can afford this level of taxation.
As shown in the Chart 1 below, Mississippi’s state and local tax burden (tax collections divided by personal income) was the twentieth highest in the nation for FY 2013 at 10.2 percent—this is -1 percent below the national average of 10.3 percent. As shown in Chart 2, Mississippi’s tax burden has grown by 26 percent to 10.2 percent in FY 2013 from 8.1 percent in FY 1950.
Mississippi’s higher-than-average state and local tax burden is driven by the sales tax (3.2 percent, 10th highest), the corporate income tax (0.41 percent, 14th highest), and all other taxes (2.3 percent, 13th highest). However, offsetting the higher taxes are the property tax burden (2.7 percent, 34th highest) and individual income tax burden (1.6 percent, 38th highest).
Of course, the tax burdens for local government can vary just as much as they do among the 50 states. As such, we have also calculated the local government tax burden for every county in Mississippi—this includes every taxing jurisdiction within the geographic county borders whether it is a city, a special district, or county government itself.
The Mississippi counties with the highest local government tax burden include: Tunica County, MS (6 percent), Warren County, MS (3.9 percent), and Forrest County, MS (3.9 percent). The Mississippi counties with the lowest local government tax burden include: Neshoba County, MS (1.3 percent), Kemper County, MS (1.6 percent), and Amite County, MS (1.7 percent).
J. Scott Moody has nearly 20 years experience as a public policy economist with a specialty in tax policy and has over 180 publications. He has worked for numerous national and state-based think tanks such as the American Conservative Union Foundation, Federalism In Action, Tax Foundation, Heritage Foundation, and The Maine Heritage Policy Center.