In Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, Kansas collected 12.8 billion in state and local taxes. While this is an impressive sum of money, it tells us little about whether or not the average Kansas taxpayer can afford this level of taxation.
As shown in Chart 1 below, Kansas’s state and local tax burden (tax collections divided by personal income) was the twenty-second highest in the nation for FY 2013 at 10.1 percent—this is -2 percent below the national average of 10.3 percent. As shown in Chart 2, Kansas’s tax burden has grown by 12 percent to 10.1 percent in FY 2011 from 9 percent in FY 1950.
Kansas has a fairly high sales tax burden (3 percent, 12th highest). Yet, the sales tax burden is offset by a low corporate income tax burden (0.3 percent, 30th highest) and a low all other taxes burden (1.2 percent, 48th 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 Kansas—this includes every taxing jurisdiction within the geographic county borders whether it is a city, a special district, or county government itself.
The Kansas counties with the highest local government tax burden include: Kearny County, KS (11.5 percent), Stevens County, KS (11 percent), and Clark County, KS (9.8 percent). The Kansas counties with the lowest local government tax burden include: Greely County, KS (2.5 percent), Anderson County, KS (2.5 percent), and Cherokee County, KS (2.8 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.