In Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, Oregon collected $18.3 billion in state and local taxes—or $4,472 for every man, woman, and child. While this is an impressive sum of money, it tells us little about whether or not the average Oregon taxpayer can afford this level of taxation?
To better answer this question, this analysis will calculate Oregon’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.
As shown in Chart 1, Oregon’s state and local tax burden (tax collections divided by private sector personal income) was the nineteenth highest in the nation for FY 2016 at 14.6 percent—or 3 percent above the national average of 14.3 percent.
#Oregon state and local #taxburden in FY 2016 was the 19th highest in the nation at 14.6%— 3% above US average of 14.3% http://bit.ly/2FX9C8F @keypolicydata #ORpol #ORleg #ORgov #PolicyData (click to tweet)
As shown in Chart 2, Oregon’s tax burden has increased over time by 62 percent to 14.6 percent in FY 2016 from 9.1 percent in FY 1950.
To put Oregon’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, Oregon’s 14.9 percent tax burden is greater than these combined industries: manufacturing (13.2 percent) and utilities (0.6 percent).
While Oregon doesn’t have a sales tax, their higher than average tax burden is driven by other taxes that exceed the national average—especially the high individual income tax burden (6.2 percent, 2nd highest) followed by the corporate income tax burden (0.6 percent, 14th highest), the property tax burden (4.6 percent, 19th highest), and all other taxes burden (2.7 percent, 14th 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 Oregon—this includes every taxing jurisdiction within the geographic county borders whether it is a city, a special district, or county government itself.
Oregon has 36 counties and their local government tax burden are shown below (from highest to lowest):
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?
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.