In Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, Missouri collected $20.1 billion in state and local taxes. While this is an impressive sum of money, it tells us little about whether or not the average Missouri taxpayer can afford this level of taxation.
As shown in Chart 1, Missouri’s state and local tax burden (tax collections divided by personal income) was the seventh lowest in the nation for FY 2013 at 8.6 percent—this is -17 percent below the national average of 10.3 percent. As shown in Chart 2, Missouri’s tax burden has grown over time by 47 percent to 8.6 percent in FY 2013 from 5.9 percent in FY 1950.
Missouri’s low state and local tax burden is not driven by any particular element in their tax code as their tax burdens are all are at or below the national average, especially the property tax (2.4 percent, 40th highest), corporate income tax (0.19 percent, 43rd highest), and all other taxes (1.3 percent, 46th highest).
Of course, the tax burdens for local government can vary just as much as they do among the 50 states. As such, we have also calculated the local government tax burden for every county in Missouri—this includes every taxing jurisdiction within the geographic county borders whether it is a city, a special district, or county government itself.
The Missouri counties with the highest local government tax burden include: St. Louis County, MO (7.8 percent), Taney County, MO (6.9 percent), and Jackson County, MO (6.1 percent). The Missouri counties with the lowest local government tax burden include: Shannon County, MO (1.4 percent), Pulaski County, MO (1.4 percent), and Ralls County, MO (1.6 percent).
J. Scott Moody has over 18 years as a public policy economist with a specialty in tax policy and has over 180 publications. He has worked for numerous national and state-based think tanks such as Federalism In Action, Tax Foundation, Heritage Foundation, and The Maine Heritage Policy Center.