(WalletHub) – Tax Day can be a painful reminder of how much we have to invest in federal, state and local governments, though many of us are unaware of exactly what they give us in return. As a result, this creates a disconnect in the minds of taxpayers between the amount of money we should fork over on Tax Day (April 18 this year) – and how much we deserve in return.
WalletHub used 30 metrics to compare the quality and efficiency of state-government services across five categories — Education, Health, Safety, Economy, and Infrastructure & Pollution — taking into account the drastically different rates at which citizens are taxed in each state.
States with Best Taxpayer ROI
1. New Hampshire 2. Florida 3. South Dakota 4. Georgia 5. Virginia 6. Missouri 7. Texas 8. Alaska 9. Utah 10. Ohio
States with Worst Taxpayer ROI
41. Vermont 42. Louisiana 43. Connecticut 44. Delaware 45. Arkansas 46. New York 47. California 48. North Dakota 49. New Mexico 50. Hawaii
Americans have looked at taxes with especially high scrutiny during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, 81% of people think the government doesn’t spend their tax dollars wisely, according to WalletHub’s Taxpayer Survey. We do know, however, that taxpayer return on investment, or ROI, varies based where one lives. Federal income-tax rates are uniform across the nation, yet some states receive far more federal funding than others. Different states have also received vastly different amounts of COVID-19 aid.
Federal taxes and support are only part of the story, though. Different states have dramatically different tax burdens. This begs the question of whether people in high-tax states receive superior government services. Likewise, are low-tax states more efficient or do they receive low-quality services? In short, where do taxpayers get the most and least bang for their buck?
WalletHub aimed to answer that question by contrasting state and local tax collections with the quality of the services residents receive in each of the 50 states within five categories: Education, Health, Safety, Economy, and Infrastructure & Pollution. Our data set includes a total of 30 key metrics.
Other findings from this report included:
Red States have a higher taxpayer return on investment, with an average ranking of 21.96, compared with 29.04 for Blue States (1 = Best).
Tennessee has the lowest proportion of major roads in poor or mediocre condition, 14.00 percent, which is 5.5 times lower than in Rhode Island, the state with the highest at 77.00 percent.
Maine has the fewest violent crimes per 1,000 residents, 1.09, which is 7.7 times lower than in Alaska, the state with the most at 8.38.
Vermont has the lowest infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births, 3.51, which is 2.4 times lower than in Mississippi, the state with the highest at 8.26.
The full report conducted by WalletHub can be found by clicking here.