Kentucky ranks 33rd on tax competitiveness


Wyoming may have the smallest population in the U.S., but it also has the most competitive tax code in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation's newly-released 2018 State Business Tax Climate Index.

The Business Tax Climate Index examines how competitive a state's tax code is, and how well it encourages businesses to locate in that state.

This annual report measures how well each state's tax code is structured, analyzing over 100 tax variables in five different tax categories that include corporate taxes, individual income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes and unemployment insurance.

Scott Drenard, the Tax Foundation's director of state projects, praised IN for its well-structured tax climate.

IL ranked 36th in corporate tax structure, 35th in sales taxes, 42nd in unemployment insurance, 45th in property and 16th in the individual income tax category.

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Temporary tax increases have "backfired in the past" and forced the state to offer "significant preferences" in the code for select business to keep them from fleeing to other states, he said. Wyoming ranked first overall with the top rankings for individual and corporate income taxes.

Walczak said Ohio's system could discourage companies from moving to the state.

Walczak said he's seen states hold back on major changes to their tax codes this year, as Congress works on a federal tax reform plan. "It is things like the fact that Kentucky has an inventory tax", said Jared Walczak, lead author of the report. "All states [do that] to some degree, but IL more than most does rely heavily on targeted incentives to maintain jobs in the state despite the high rates".

"When 48 states have better tax climates than yours, it's not just a policy failure, it's a systemic crisis for a government mired in corruption scandals, and beholden to narrow special interests", said Doug Kellogg, communications director for Reclaim New York, an activist group with conservative donors. The goal of its annual study is to serve as a "diagnostic tool" for policymakers, individuals and businesses. Wyoming, Nevada, and South Dakota have no corporate or individual income tax (though Nevada imposes gross receipts taxes); Alaska has no individual income or state-level sales tax; Florida has no individual income tax; and New Hampshire, Montana, and or have no sales tax.