In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, Louisiana collected $16.6 billion in state and local taxes. While this is an impressive sum of money, it tells us little about whether or not the average Louisiana taxpayer can afford this level of taxation.
As shown in the charts below, Louisiana's state and local tax burden (tax collections divided by personal income) was the thirteenth lowest in the nation for FY 2011 at 9.6 percent—or 8.1 percent below the national average of 10.5 percent. Louisiana is one of only five state whose tax burden has fallen over time by -10.7 percent to 9.6 percent in FY 2011 from 10.6 percent in FY 1950—the other four states are Arizona (-0.4 percent), Florida (-11.3 percent), Oklahoma (-4 percent), and South Dakota (-23 percent).
Louisiana’s low state and local tax burden is driven by their property tax (2.1 percent, 45th highest), individual income tax (1.4 percent, 40th), and corporate income tax (0.11 percent, 44th highest). However, these low taxes are offset by higher than average sales taxes (3.8 percent, 5th highest), and all other taxes (2.8 percent, 17th highest).
J. Scott Moody has over 18 years 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 Federalism In Action, Tax Foundation, Heritage Foundation, and The Maine Heritage Policy Center.