If Illinois taxpayers feel beleaguered — and many of them do — there’s a good reason why.
Taxes at all levels in Illinois are high — but just how high may come as a surprise.
The personal finance website, WalletHub, studied each of the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and concluded that the Land of Lincoln is the worst state to be a taxpayer.
Taking into account property taxes, income taxes, sales and excise taxes, and vehicle property taxes, WalletHub calculated that this state has an effective total state and local tax rate of 14.54 percent.
There’s a caveat in WalletHub’s study. Some states are more expensive to live in than others. So adjusted for cost of living, Illinois didn’t rank dead last for the highest tax rate — it’s 43rd.
Illinois was the only state to break the 14 percent level; Nebraska came close at 13.85 percent. Others trailing Illinois closely were Wisconsin at 13.58 percent; Connecticut at 13.48 percent; and Rhode Island at 13.46 percent.
The state with the lowest combined rates is Alaska at 5.69 percent. Although Delaware came in second at 6.02 percent, the three other lowest-ranking states were in the West — Montana with 6.92 percent, Wyoming with 7.45 percent and Nevada 7.72 percent.
WalletHub based its calculation as a percentage of the national median household income of $53,889.
Although there are many states with higher state income tax rates than Illinois (3.75 percent), our state’s property taxes are sky high in many places as are sales taxes. Illinois does not have a vehicle property tax rate.
Given the incessant demands by public officials at all levels for more revenue to support public programs, it ought to be clear that people already are giving more than they would like and more than those in most other states currently pay.
Given that reality, there’s merit to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s argument that legislators need to focus on generating revenue increases by boosting the state’s economy rather than relying on levying higher taxes.