Oklahoma ranked 18th best in group’s 2012 “business tax index”

A small business council has listed Oklahoma 18th best among the 50 states (and the District of Columbia) assessed on a variety of business tax policy questions. 

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) says its mission is to focus on “the importance of entrepreneurship to job creation, innovation, economic growth and U.S. competitiveness.” These criteria drive its rankings (and blending) of the impact of 18 aspects of state tax policy on small business formation, growth and sustainability. 
The “Business Tax Index 2012” is the group’s conclusion about “best to worst state tax systems for entrepreneurship and small business.” 

As sketched in the preface of the SBE Council’s new report, the 18 different tax measures for the group’s analysis are: “1) state’s top personal income tax rate, 2) state’s top individual capital gains tax rate, 3) state’s top corporate income tax rate, 4) state’s top corporate capital gains tax rate, 5) any added income tax on S-Corporations, 6) whether or not the state imposes an alternative minimum tax on individuals, 7) whether or not the state imposes an alternative minimum tax on corporations, 8) whether or not the state’s personal income tax brackets are indexed for inflation, 9) property taxes, 10) consumption-based taxes (i.e., sales, gross receipts and excise taxes), 11) whether or not the state imposes a death tax, 12) unemployment taxes, 13) whether or not the state has a tax limitation mechanism, 14) whether or not the state imposes an Internet access tax, 15) ‘Amazon’ taxes, 16) gas tax, 17) diesel tax, and 18) wireless taxes.

Oklahoma’s overall ranking of 18th is distilled from the group’s assessment across all 18 of the foregoing categories. Rankings for the Sooner State in major categories were:

·      22nd best in top personal income tax rates (Note: The top 9 states in this category all have zero personal income taxes)

·      25th in top capitol gain tax rates

·      16th in top corporate income tax rates

·      18th in top corporate capital gains tax rates

·      Third in state and local property tax rates

·      35th in state and local sales, gross receipts and excise taxes

·      40th in adjusted unemployment taxes

·      Fifth in state gas taxes (i.e. “taxes on motor fuels”)

·      Third in state diesel taxes

·      34th in wireless taxes

While Oklahoma’s blended ranking is enviable in comparison to many other states – and improved after the state’s comparatively strong performance during the “Great Recession” — the 18th place finding from the SBE Council might boost Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin’s contention that further changes to tax policy could help the state in economic development projects. 

According to the SBE Council:

“The 15 Best State Tax Systems are: 1) South Dakota, 2) Texas, 3) Nevada, 4) Wyoming, 5) Washington, 6) Florida, 7) Alaska, 8) Alabama, 9) Ohio, 10) Colorado, 11) Mississippi, 12) Michigan, 13) South Carolina, 14) Tennessee, and 15) Missouri.

“The 15 Worst State Tax Systems are: 37) Nebraska, 38) North Carolina, 39) Illinois, 40) Oregon, 41) Rhode Island, 42) Connecticut, 43) Hawaii, 44) Vermont, 45) California, 46) Maine, 47) Iowa, 48) New York, 49) New Jersey, 50) Minnesota, and 51) District of Columbia.” 
Oklahoma is listed in the new study’s preface as one of seven states that recently have “made some positive steps forward in providing tax relief.” The other states touted for recent progress were Indiana, Arizona, Maine, Michigan, North Dakota and Delaware. 

Keeping in mind the ranks are from best (1) to worst (51), the blended rankings of neighboring states, in clockwise order of geographical location starting at the north, are: Kansas (29), Missouri (15), Arkansas (23), Louisiana (22), Texas (2), New Mexico (24) and Colorado (10).

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) is a 501 c(4) advocacy, research, training and networking organization, focused on “protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship.” 
Chief economist for SBE Council is Raymond J. Keating, a teacher, a newspaper columnist who writings have appeared in newspapers like The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and many others – and, in recent years, a blog writer. Keating’s books include “U.S. by the Numbers: What’s Left, Right and Wrong with America State by State” (2000).