In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, Texas collected $90.8 billion in state and local taxes. While this is an impressive sum of money, it tells us little about whether or not the average Texas taxpayer can afford this level of taxation.
As shown in the charts below, Texas’s state and local tax burden (tax collections divided by personal income) was the tenth lowest in the nation for FY 2011 at 9 percent—or 13.8 percent below the national average of 10.5 percent. Texas’s tax burden has increased modestly over time by 38.2 percent to 9 percent in FY 2011 from 6.5 percent in FY 1950.
Texas’s low state and local tax burden can be first attributed to not having an individual or corporate income tax since they tend to be progressive (higher tax rates on higher levels of income) which increases the tax burden over time.
However, Texas’s lack of an income tax is diminished by other higher than average taxes such as the property tax (4 percent, 12th highest), the sales tax (2.7 percent, 17th highest), and all other taxes (2.4 percent, 14th highest). All other taxes, of course, being driven by severance taxes on the extraction of oil and gas.
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.