As my fellow blogger Andisheh Nouraee pointed out yesterday, Tea Party types will never come around to the proposed transportation sales tax (to say nothing of "taxis, taxidermy, and tacks"). But really, they should lighten up a bit.
In the most recent U.S. Census data on state tax collections, released last month, Georgia slipped from 49th to 50th in per-capita tax revenue. The ranking takes into account FY 2011 collections from income, sales, corporate, fuel, and other miscellaneous state taxes. Yes, even the nine states that don't collect personal income tax bring home more bacon, per swine, than Georgia.
Of course, state taxes aren't the whole story. We pony up to our cities and counties too, but for services within that jurisdiction. That's the issue at the heart of the transportation referendum, which asks the ten-county Atlanta region to vote together for the first time. Individual county SPLOSTs won't build a coordinated regional transportation network.
And anyway, it's unsettling to be the extreme. As our managing editor, a native South Carolinian, wisely intoned, "You don't want to be behind South Carolina in anything."
Here's how Georgia ranks, courtesy of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute:
Total state taxes collected: $16,003,250,000
State taxes as a % of Personal Income: 4.5%
State taxes per capita: $1,630.45
Source: U.S. Census State Government Tax Collections