ON-Lion Letter
In October, the Tax Foundation in Washington, D.C., released its 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index.  The index enables business leaders, government policymakers, and taxpayers to gauge how their states' tax systems compare.

The 10 best states in this year's index are: 
1.) Wyoming; 2.) South Dakota; 3.) Nevada;
4.) Alaska; 5.) Florida; 6.) Washington; 7.) Montana; 8.) New Hampshire; 9.) Utah; and, 10.) Indiana.

The absence of a major tax is a dominant factor in vaulting many of these 10 states to the top of the rankings.  Property taxes and unemployment insurance taxes are levied in every state, but there are several states that do without one or more of the major taxes -- the corporate tax, the individual income tax, or the sales tax.  Wyoming, Nevada, and South Dakota have no corporate or individual income tax; Alaska has no individual income or state-level sales tax; Florida has no individual income tax; and New Hampshire and Montana have no sales tax.

But this does not mean that a state cannot rank in the top 10 while still levying all the major taxes.  Indiana, which ousted Texas from the top 10 this year, and Utah have all the major tax types, but levy them with low rates on broad bases.

The 10 lowest-ranked, or worst, states in this year's index are:  41.) Maryland;
42.) Connecticut; 43.) Wisconsin; 44.) North Carolina; 45.) Vermont; 46.) Rhode Island; 47.) Minnesota; 48.) California; 49.) New Jersey; and, 50.) New York.

The states in the bottom 10 suffer from the same afflictions -- complex, non-neutral taxes with comparatively high rates.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports the Tax Foundation.
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