Kansas has the Eighteenth Lowest State and Local Tax Burden in the Nation for FY 2016

May 31, 2018

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In Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, Kansas collected $13 billion in state and local taxes—or $4,455 for every man, woman, and child. While this is an impressive sum of money, it tells us little about whether or not the average Kansas taxpayer can afford this level of taxation?


To better answer this question, this analysis will calculate Kansas’s tax burden relative to the private sector. Ultimately, it is the private sector that creates new wealth and income. A high tax burden means a state is hobbling its private sector relative to other states and reducing their long-run economic growth potential.



Click here to view tax burden data by state, type of tax, and for years 1950 to 2016


As shown in Chart 1, Kansas’s state and local tax burden (tax collections divided by private sector personal income) was the eighteenth lowest in the nation for FY 2016 at 13.2 percent—or -8 percent below the national average of 14.3 percent.


Chart 1 Kansas State and Local Tax Burden FY 2016.jpg


#Kansas state and local #taxburden in FY 2016 was the 18th lowest in the nation at 13.2%— -8% below US average of 14.3% @keypolicydata #KSleg #KSgov #PolicyData (click to tweet)


As shown in Chart 2, Kansas’s tax burden has increased over time by 24 percent to 13.2 percent in FY 2016 from 10.7 percent in FY 1950.


Chart 2 Kansas State and Local Tax Burden by Type of Tax FY 1950 to 2016.JPG


#Kansas state and local #taxburden has increased 24% between FY 1950 (10.7%) to 2016 (13.2%) @keypolicydata #KSleg #KSgov #PolicyData (click to tweet)


Click here to view tax burden data by state, type of tax, and for years 1950 to 2016



To put Kansas’s tax burden into perspective, let’s compare it to size of major industries in the state (as a percent of private sector income). As shown in Chart 3, Kansas’s 13.1 percent tax burden is greater than these combined industries: retail trade (5.6 percent), construction (5.4 percent), utilities (0.9 percent), and educational services (0.9 percent).


Chart 3 Kansas State and Local Tax Burden vs. Major Industry FY 2016.JPG


#Kansas state and local #taxburden > retail, construction, utilities, and educational services @keypolicydata #KSleg #KSgov #PolicyData (click to tweet)


Kansas’s lower than average state and local tax burden is driven by a low individual income tax burden (2.3 percent, 13th lowest) and all other tax burden (1.6 percent, 10th lowest), but is partially offset by a higher sales tax burden (4.3 percent, 11th 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 Kansas—this includes every taxing jurisdiction within the geographic county borders whether it is a city, a special district, or county government itself.


The 20 Kansas counties with the highest local government tax burden include:


  • Morton County, KS (17.4 percent)
  • Kiowa County, KS (17.0 percent)
  • Stevens County, KS (16.7 percent)
  • Comanche County, KS (14.8 percent)
  • Barber County, KS (13.7 percent)
  • Graham County, KS (13.4 percent)
  • Logan County, KS (12.9 percent)
  • Kearny County, KS (12.5 percent)
  • Stanton County, KS (12.5 percent)
  • Coffey County, KS (12.0 percent)
  • Clark County, KS (11.8 percent)
  • Hodgeman County, KS (11.5 percent)
  • Pawnee County, KS (11.0 percent)
  • Haskell County, KS (10.9 percent)
  • Rooks County, KS (10.8 percent)
  • Trego County, KS (10.4 percent)
  • Neosho County, KS (10.3 percent)
  • Ellsworth County, KS (10.3 percent)
  • Wallace County, KS (10.1 percent)
  • Linn County, KS (10.1 percent)


The 20 Kansas counties with the lowest local government tax burden include:


  • Greeley County, KS (4.9 percent)
  • Saline County, KS (4.8 percent)
  • Cherokee County, KS (4.7 percent)
  • Pottawatomie County, KS (4.7 percent)
  • Dickinson County, KS (4.6 percent)
  • Jackson County, KS (4.6 percent)
  • Clay County, KS (4.6 percent)
  • Harvey County, KS (4.5 percent)
  • Osage County, KS (4.5 percent)
  • McPherson County, KS (4.4 percent)
  • Wichita County, KS (4.4 percent)
  • Miami County, KS (4.2 percent)
  • Nemaha County, KS (4.2 percent)
  • Jefferson County, KS (4.1 percent)
  • Wabaunsee County, KS (4.0 percent)
  • Johnson County, KS (3.7 percent)
  • Anderson County, KS (3.4 percent)
  • Sedgwick County, KS (3.4 percent)
  • Gray County, KS (3.1 percent)
  • Geary County, KS (-8.4 percent, see note)


 Chart 4 Kansas Local Tax Burden by County FY 2016.JPG


Note: The tax burdens for counties with large military bases, such as Geary County, are inflated because, by definition, military compensation is excluded from the denominator as it does not constitute private sector activity. In rare cases, private sector is negative because of workers that live in other counties.


Additionally, military activity often physically crowds-out the private sector pushing it out into surrounding areas. While a significant portion of surrounding private sector activity is due to the presence of the base, it is counted in the counties where the business is physically located. Thus, the tax burden, as a percent of private sector personal income, is overstated in counties with military bases and understated in surrounding counties.


Click here to view tax burden data by state, type of tax, and for years 1950 to 2016


Finally, don’t forget to watch our exclusive time-lapse video of state and local tax burdens over the last 66 years! See if your state has been above or below the national average?





Category: Tax Burdens

J. Scott Moody

Scott has nearly 20 years of experience as a public policy economist. He is the author, co-author and editor of over 180 studies and books. His professional experience also includes positions at the American Conservative Union Foundation, Granite Institute, Federalism In Action, Maine Heritage Policy Center, Tax Foundation, and Heritage Foundation.

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