Maybe it happened when you busted a tire on a street pothole. Or when you had to organize yet another fundraiser for your kid's public school. If you're like most people, at some time or another, you've found yourself angrily muttering, “What am I really getting for my tax dollars?!”
Turns out the answer to that depends largely on where you live, according to a recently released study by WalletHub that looked at which states offer their taxpayers the best return on investment.
Researchers measured taxpayer return on investment by looking at 23 different metrics that measure the quality and efficiency of services across five different categories:
- Education (including the quality of public school systems)
- Health (factors like the quality of public hospitals and the average health insurance premium)
- Safety (such as violent-crime and property-crime rates)
- Economy (factors like the median annual household income and annual job-growth rate)
- Infrastructure and Pollution (includes the quality of roads and bridges; water and air pollution measurements; and parks and recreation expenses)
They then gave each state an overall score based on those metrics and compared it against how much residents pay in state and local taxes.
So which state provides the most bang for the taxpayer buck overall? Turns out it’s The Granite State, New Hampshire, which boasts low crime rates, the lowest share of residents living below the poverty line, and a high public-high-school graduation rate.
The bottom of the list? North Dakota, which was given low ratings when it came to the quality of its public university system, it’s negative job growth rate and total taxes paid per capita.
What about those East-West rivals, New York and California? Turns out they both fare poorly when it comes to taxpayer ROI, at numbers 46 and 47, respectively. (Also in the bottom five: New Mexico and Hawaii.)
Joining New Hampshire in the top five were South Dakota, Florida, Virginia and Alaska.
Curious to see where your state landed? Head here for the full ranking.
This publication is not intended as legal or tax advice. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.