By Lou Anne Wolfe
Journal Record Staff Reporter
Oklahoma was ranked 23rd among the 50 states and District of
Columbia on annual taxes for a hypothetical family of four.
Oklahoma had a total tax burden of $6,907 for this
hypothetical family, according to the annual state-tax ranking in
the January issue Money magazine.
Alaska had the lowest tax burden while New Yorkers pay the
The ranking compares taxes in the 50 states and the District
of Columbia on a typical two-income family of four that
subscribes to Money. That family earned $72,385 in 1992, plus
$4,709 in interest, dividends and capital gains, and had $35,112
"I think, really, all it shows is kind of exactly what it
says, that Oklahoma is sort of in the middle of the pack when it
comes to total tax burden," said Roy Williams, deputy executive
director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
"I think that for our purposes, that's a good place to be.
When you get into total tax burden, what companies tend to
analyze is, what are you getting for your taxes," he said.
"If your tax rate's high, if there is a correlation to quality
of services and volume of services, there's a justification,
whereas if it's low, there's not."
Williams said a state's actual ranking on such a list is not
so critical as what really comes from the taxes, such as
education and health care.
"It's extremely difficult when you get into state-by-state
comparisons," he added. "Several organizations and magazines and
research entities attempt to do that, and the laws are much more
complex than what simple comparisons sometimes tend to give
Williams said researchers "find out, many times, that when you
delve into specifics, you're comparing apples and oranges, and it
becomes very difficult to really get a true handle on total
Sometimes there are a number of indirect costs and other kinds
of fees and costs to businesses that don't come out in this kind
of survey, making it difficult to get a specific comparison, he
"If you're sort of in the middle of the pack, then you have a
sense that you're very competitive, and don't get eliminated
because you're at one extreme end of the spectrum," Williams
Alaskans don't pay state levies on income, sales or
inheritance, so they enjoy the lowest taxes of any state, Money
magazine says in its annual state-tax ranking, which appears in
the January issue on sale this week.
Alaska, with no earned-income, statewide sales or inheritance
taxes, would charge that household only $1,632 a year, the lowest
in the country. …