Do you know how your state government is funded?

In New Mexico, the state government’s revenue comes from 1.9% in corporate taxes, 19.8% in property taxes, 14.6% in individual income taxes, 13.8% in “other” taxes, and almost 50% in sales taxes.

In Texas, it’s 0% in corporate taxes, 45.2% in property taxes, 0% in individual income taxes, 10.5% in “other” taxes, and 44.3% in sales taxes.

Look up your state and see who’s paying the bills:

According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, state-level individual income taxes make up the largest share of total state government tax collections. In 2011, state governments brought in $259 billion through these taxes, approximately 34 percent of total collections.

However, there are currently 9 states that do not tax wage income (New Hampshire and Tennessee tax interest and dividends): Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. The composition of tax collections in these states varies considerably. For example, Florida, South Dakota, and Washington each raised about 60 percent of their collections through sales taxes in 2011; nearly double the national average…

Corporations may have all the power, but we’re the ones who pay the most in taxes. We’re the ones who provide the most revenue for cities, counties, and states. Instead of supporting the citizens of a state, corporations use all the money they’re not paying in taxes to bribe politicians.

And now you know why so many states are having economic difficulties, even in the midst of what has been called a “recovery.” Just look at the column for corporate taxes in the chart at the link. Have corporate taxes ever been this low in history? Have corporations ever made so much profit, to the point that it’s become indecent? (Not for Apple, of course, which has stratospheric profit margins.) Is free-market, trickle-down economics independent of supply and demand? Is that why it doesn’t work?

Of course, government revenue is also dependent on the stock market. State finances are intimately intertwined with Wall Street, which on days like today, is bad news. And it’s also bad news for anyone with a 401(k) or other retirement account. Stock prices will recover, but just like after every other stock market crash, retirement accounts will likely suffer long-term damage from today’s roller coaster ride.

I’m no expert on the economy or Wall Street, but I know gambling when I see it. And I don’t see how anyone can feel safe and stable within an economy that’s addicted to gambling. How do you make long-term plans when you’re dependent on Wall Street, the biggest gambler in the world? Sure, you win when Wall Street wins, but the gains are small in comparison. On the other hand, when Wall Street loses, everyone else loses big and many don’t recover.

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