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How Alaska and Wyoming Make People From Elsewhere Pay Their Taxes

Screen-Shot-2014-04-02-at-12.45.04-PM-630x614Recently, states have used tax exporting to alleviate the tax burden on their states’ residents.  Through this method states like Alaska and Wyoming come up with tax revenue that is paid mostly by people in other states.  Alaska charges a severance tax on oil extraction and consumers from other states that paid this tax.  Alaska brings in so much tax revenue from out-of-state consumers that the state actually writes checks to families every year.  Similarly, Wyoming uses a similar strategy where it puts a tax on its resources that out-of-state consumers buy.  In 2011, the first time in decades, Wyoming had a lower per-capita tax burden than Alaska, thanks to tax exporting.

The Tax Foundation recently released its most recent report.  In the report, it shows that the tri-state area of Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York having the highest per-capita state and local tax burden.  One of the main things the Tax Foundation does is it finds out who ends up bearing the cost of tax, which shows a lot of evidence for tax exporting.  For example, the Tax Foundation discovered that employers at the federal level pay payroll taxes, but their employees end up bearing the cost because the taxes got taken out of their wages.

The Tax Foundation also found many states using tax exporting.  In addition to Alaska and Wyoming, Maine, Vermont, and Wisconsin receive tax revenue from second homes paid by out-of-staters.  The District of Columbia receives sales tax revenue from out-of-state consumers.  Florida and Nevada receive tax revenue from vacationers.  New York receives income tax revenue from commuters from Connecticut and New Jersey.  Staffer Liz Malm and Gerald Prante explain that tax exporting is natural and unplanned.  However, they say that the success of tax exporting is influencing legislators to create plans to gather tax revenue through tax exporting.