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The Latest Tax Climate Report

The Tax Foundation has recently released its 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index.

As usual the "tax you until you leave" states of New Jersey, New York and California fall at the bottom of the rankings. Besides the "energy belt" states, it is no surprise that Florida, New Hampshire and Texas make it into the top ten best business tax climate states.

Although surrounded by high tax states, Delaware ranks a competitive 14th in business taxes. Why?

As in past years, Delaware continues to earn a number 1 ranking for having no sales tax. And Delaware currently ranks second for having a low unemployment insurance tax. The property tax burden comes in just 13th highest among the states.

What is the downside? Due to the recent increase in the state's top personal income tax rate, Delaware has fallen to 33rd among the states with regard to its personal income tax burden on business income that ends up reported in personal income tax returns.

And Delaware ranks dead last (50th) with regard to corporate income taxes. In its analysis of the corporate income tax, the Tax Foundation includes the top tax rate, the level of taxable income at which the top rate kicks in, and the number of brackets. Delaware is also penalized for its gross receipts.

Arguments fly back and forth as to the importance of business taxes to a state's economic health. What is clear is that prior to a business relocating, higher business taxes are paid for through lower wages and increased prices. And over the low haul, in a mobile nation, soaking businesses with higher taxes is a pathway to economic stagnation.

John Stapleford, PhD

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