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Utah tax, fee burden ranks ninth in nation

The financial burden shouldered by Utahns ranks ninth highest in the nation when government taxes and fees are compared among the 50 states.

Last year, Utah's tax and fee burden ranked 11th highest in the United States.

The state's total tax and fee burden registers at $152 per $1,000 of personal income - 12.6 percent higher than the national average, according to the latest statistics compiled by the Utah Taxpayers Association.

Utah's tax and fee financial burden increased 1.5 percent from last year while the average for all states decreased 1 percent.

New York had the highest tax and fee burden at $163 per $1,000 of personal income.

New York was followed by Maine at $158, Wyoming at $158, Hawaii at $155, Mississippi at $154, New Mexico at $154, North Dakota at $153 and Wisconsin at $153.

New Hampshire had the lowest tax and fee burden at $106 per $1,000 of personal income.

When fees are excluded, Utah's tax burden ranks 10th highest in the nation at $114 per $1,000 of personal income, registering 6.2 percent higher than the national average.

Last year, Utah's total tax assessments ranked 13th highest in the U.S.

Utah's general sales tax burden rates as the eighth highest in the U.S. at $36.78 per $1,000 of personal income, registering 39 percent higher than the national average.

Utah's sales tax burden as a percent of personal income climbed 3.5 percent from last year, when the state ranked ninth highest in the nation.

Washington imposes no income tax, but the state posted the highest general sales tax burden at $49.53 per $1,000 personal income.

Five states have no general sales taxes.

Utah's individual income tax burden remained virtually unchanged at $30.47 per $1,000. Utah ranks 16th highest in the U.S., exceeding the national average by 22 percent.

Last year, Utah occupied 14th place in the personal income tax rankings.

New York registered the highest individual income tax rate at $43.20 per $1,000.

Seven states do not impose taxes on individual income.

Utah's motor fuel tax burden registers seventh highest in the U.S. at $6.52 per $1,000 of personal income, topping the national average by 64.6 percent.

Fast growing western and southern states typically had the highest motor fuel tax burdens.

Montana posted the highest motor fuel tax burden at $8.38, followed by Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota, Arkansas, New Mexico and Utah.

Nevada occupied the 15th highest spot and Arizona finished 21st on the fuel tax burden list, added the association.

Utah's property tax - $24.85 per $1,000 of income - registers 21 percent lower than the national average and the state ranked 36th in the U.S.

During 1998-1999, Utahns witnessed a 5 percent property tax decrease compared to the burden shouldered in the prior fiscal year.

Tax burdens may be measured in several ways and all methods have advantages as well as disadvantages, indicated the association.

The most common process evaluates state taxes and fees against personal income data. Figuring per capita percentages provides the basis for the second most common method and the third involves taxes paid per individual worker.

Due to the state's consistently high birth rate, Utah has more children per capita than any region in the nation, pointed out the taxpayers association.

Therefore, per capita comparisons are misleading since a large percentage of Utah's population is not old enough to work or pay taxes.

Per employee tax comparisons are also misleading since most government labor force data tends to include low paid teenagers working part-time, concluded the association.

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