With Tax Day delayed to May 17 and 74 percent of people thinking the government has not spent their tax dollars wisely during the COVID-19 pandemic, WalletHub released its report on Tuesday, comparing all 50 states to find out where taxpayers get the most and least bang for their buck. The Sunshine State took second place on the list, beating out states in several key metrics.
“Different states have dramatically different tax burdens. This begs the question of whether people in high-tax states receive superior government services,” Wallethub managing editor John S. Kiernan writes. “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?”
In order to determine its rankings, the personal-finance website evaluated each state’s tax burden (local and state) and compared it to the quality of services taxpayers receive in five main categories: Education, Health, Safety, Economy, and Infrastructure & Pollution. The data set included 30 metrics, each graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the best ROI. All metrics were used to calculate an overall score for each state.
WalletHub surveyed over 1,150 taxpayers to conduct the nationally representative study.
Compared to other states, Florida set the bar high for states getting the most out of their investments. WalletHub found that Florida ranked first in Total Taxes per Capita, and came in second in Overall ROI. The state also topped the list in several other categories, including Education and Infrastructure.
“Florida is the state with the second-best taxpayer ROI. Although its residents pay the lowest taxes — less than $2,700, the quality of the government services they receive is ranked in the middle of the pack,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “In terms of education, the quality of Florida’s public university system is the third-highest nationwide, and the state offers school programs such as education savings accounts, school vouchers or tax credit scholarship programs.
At the same time, it also has low state pre-K funding, just about $2,200 per enrolled child.”
New Hampshire taxpayers saw the best ROI, narrowly beating out Florida for the top spot. Meanwhile, taxpayers in Hawaii received the worst ROI, followed by California and New Mexico.
The report also found that taxpayers in red states saw a better overall ROI.