In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, South Carolina collected $13.8 billion in state and local taxes. While this is an impressive sum of money, it tells us little about whether or not the average South Carolina taxpayer can afford this level of taxation.
As shown in the chart, South Carolina’s state and local tax burden (tax collections divided by personal income) was the ninth lowest in the nation for FY 2011 at 8.8 percent—or 15.5 percent below the national average of 10.5 percent. South Carolina’s tax burden has increased modestly over time by 31.8 percent to 8.8 percent in FY 2011 from 6.7 percent in FY 1950.
South Carolina’s low state and local tax burden is not driven by any particular element in their tax code as their tax burdens are all are below the national average, especially the corporate income tax (0.14 percent, 42nd highest). Additionally, South Carolina’s tax burden has appreciable fallen over the last decade due to significant tax cuts, especially in 2007.
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.