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The Tax Foundation's State and Local Tax Rankings Are Unreliable

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Publication Date: August 2008

Publisher(s): Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (Washington, D.C.)

Author(s): Nicholas Johnson

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Banking and finance (Taxation and tax policy)

Keywords: Tax accounting; Financial projections

Type: Report


The estimates of state and local taxation the Tax Foundation issued this year differ markedly from the estimates the group released in 2007, which in turn were very different from its estimates in previous years.  No state has altered its tax policy to a degree that would produce anywhere near such changes.  The fact that the Tax Foundation revises its results with such frequency calls into question how robust its methodology is — and how seriously the estimates should be taken.