Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — The tax climate for business in Utah ranks No. 9 in the nation, according to a report by the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax research group based in Washington, D.C.
Utah's rank remained unchanged from last year in the 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index.
The index collects data on more than 100 tax provisions for each state and combines them into a single score. The states are then compared against each other so each state’s ranking is relative to actual policies in place in other states around the country.
A state’s ranking can rise or fall significantly based on its own actions, as well as changes or reforms made by other states.
“The goal of the State Business Tax Climate Index is to start a conversation with policymakers about how their states fare against the rest of the country,” said Tax Foundation economist Scott Drenkard. “With this report, we’re asking, 'How well is your tax code structured? Are businesses in your state spending too much time complying with onerous tax provisions? Are you double taxing things you shouldn’t?'"
Several states moved in the rankings from last year, with Texas dropping out of the top 10 for the first time, coming in at No. 11, and Virginia and Kentucky both falling three spots to Nos. 26 and 27, respectively.
Kansas shot up six spots to No. 20, and Arizona climbed five spots to No. 22. Several other states also saw smaller changes.
“The states that lost ground this year usually did so because they changed policy in a way that makes the tax code more complex, burdensome or economically harmful,” Drenkard said. “By contrast, the states that improved did so because they are moving closer to a tax code that collects revenue without unnecessarily distorting business decisions. Their tax codes became more neutral.”
Wyoming heads the list of top 10 states in 2014, followed by South Dakota at No. 2, Nevada at No. 3, Alaska at No. 4 and Florida at No. 5. Washington follows at No. 6, with Montana at No. 7, New Hampshire at No. 8, Utah at No. 9 and Indiana at No. 10.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the 10 states with the lowest rankings are New York at No. 50, New Jersey at No. 49, California at No. 48, Minnesota at No. 47 and Rhode Island at No. 46. Vermont came in at No. 45, just below North Carolina at No. 44, Wisconsin at No. 43, Connecticut at No. 42 and Maryland at No. 41.
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