In Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, Rhode Island collected $5.7 billion in state and local taxes. While this is an impressive sum of money, it tells us little about whether or not the average Rhode Island taxpayer can afford this level of taxation.
As shown in Chart 1, Rhode Island’s state and local tax burden (tax collections divided by private sector personal income) was the ninth highest in the nation for FY 2015 at 16.3 percent—or 13 percent above the national average of 14.4 percent.
As shown in Chart 2, Rhode Island’s tax burden has increased over time by 104 percent to 16.3 percent in FY 2015 from 8 percent in FY 1950.
As shown in Chart 3, Rhode Island’s 16.3 percent tax burden is greater than these combined industries: manufacturing (8.6 percent), construction (5.4 percent),and information (2.3 percent).
Rhode Island’s high tax burden by type is driven by a high property tax burden (7.1 percent, 5th 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 Rhode Island—this includes every taxing jurisdiction within the geographic county borders whether it is a city, a special district, or county government itself.
Rhode Island only has 5 counties shown below from the highest local government tax burden to the lowest:
Finally, don’t forget to watch our exclusive time-lapse video of state and local tax burdens over the last 65 years! See if your state has been above or below the national average?
Scott has nearly 20 years of experience as a public policy economist. He is the author, co-author and editor of over 180 studies and books. His professional experience also includes positions at the American Conservative Union Foundation, Granite Institute, Federalism In Action, Maine Heritage Policy Center, Tax Foundation, and Heritage Foundation.