State and local taxes drop to lowest level in 50 years

  • Written by Washington State Department of Revenue
OLYMPIA – State and local taxes as a percent of personal income dropped to their lowest level in 50 years in Fiscal Year 2009, according to new figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Taxes dropped to $93.24 per $1,000 personal income from $105.49 in Fiscal Year 2008.

While many states experienced declines in taxes relative to personal income during that period, Washington’s decline was steep enough to change its national ranking to 35th highest among the states in 2009 from 30th highest in 2008.

The national average for Fiscal Year 2009 was $102.10, down from $111.99 the prior year.

The $93.24 figure, comprising $56.70 in state taxes and $36.54 in local taxes, is the lowest since the Department of Revenue began tracking this statistic in 1960, when the rate was the second lowest at $98.43.

The figure peaked at $128.26 in 1972 and ranged from about $112 to $118 during most years between 1960 and 2000, except for higher levels during the years of high inflation in the 1970s and lower levels during the recession of the early 1980s.  For the past 10 years, the figure has ranged from $105 to $110.

Taxes per capita also declined to $4,049 in 2009 from $4,354 in 2008, dropping Washington’s per capita ranking nationally to 21st lowest from 16th.  The national average in 2009 was $4,141.

More information on changes in rankings over the years and the factors involved is available in Comparative State and Local Taxes 2009, published online at

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