By C. M. Schmidlkofer | The Center Square
New Hampshire ranks first out of the 50 states when it comes to taxpayer rate of return, according to a new analysis.
The Granite State is 36th most dependent on those taxes and 9th in overall government services, according to personal finance website WalletHub’s Best & Worst Taxpayer Return on Investment for 2021 report.
WalletHub compared the 50 states across the areas of health, safety, education, economy and infrastructure and pollution.
New Hampshire has had to struggle as other states with the COVID-19 pandemic, relying on federal and state aid to mitigate its impact.
But relying on more stable revenue sources like property taxes, instead of sales and income taxes help minimize revenue shocks, said John Kovari, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse associate professor.
WalletHub reached out to Kovari and other financial experts asking a series of questions as to how consumers can measure the efficiency of how their money is used.
“There are of course many highly personal reasons for people choosing to locate where they live and work, and there’s a variety of benefits that will obviously factor into an ROI calculus, like living in a walkable community versus long commute times or living near family,” he said.
“But the most quantifiable way to assess ROI is to measure property value growth since taxes and services are often capitalized into property values.”
Higher taxes do not equal better services, he said. Local governments may charge higher user fees or rely on intergovernmental aid as an alternative to taxes in financing their services.
He points to the subjectivity of what better government services mean.
“Research shows that local governments that engage in performance budgeting/benchmarking and regular community outreach tend to be more effective in delivering high-quality public goods. Lastly, given the highly decentralized nature of local governments, duplication of services can inflate tax rates and costs.”
WalletHub’s Taxpayer Survey indicates that 222 million Americans think the government does not spend taxes wisely, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report indicated that taxpayers ranked higher in Republican-leaning states than in Democrat-leaning states with New Hampshire giving the best return and Hawaii the lowest, with blue states overall getting a 21.20% rate compared to Red states at 29.80%.