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Little-known Arizona tax facts
email | Craig J. Cantoni

Posted on 09/08/2003 3:32:56 PM PDT by hsmomx3

This is intended to be a public service for Arizona residents. It presents little-known facts about state spending and taxes, and can be used as ammunition to fight the big-government juggernaut, which consists of the following advocates of government growth and gouging:

- the establishment media, especially The Arizona Republic, which endorses higher taxes and spending by at least five to one over lower taxes and spending;

- the left-leaning Morrison Institute at Arizona State University, which is a darling of the establishment media and which, of course, has a vested interest in higher taxes;

- teacher unions, the education establishment and parents with kids in public schools -- all of whom have a vested interest in higher education spending;

- individuals and special-interest groups that depend on government transfer payments; and

- utilities, law firms, financial institutions and other private-sector companies that either sell goods and services to the government, have to kowtow to government regulators, or use government regulations to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Here is the ammunition:

- Arizona ranks 14th in the nation in the percentage of income that goes to state and local taxes. To compare, Massachusetts ranks 13th, New Jersey ranks 19th, and Colorado ranks 32nd. (Source: Tax Foundation)

- According to the Tax Foundation's Business Climate Index, Arizona's business climate ranks seventeenth-best. Nevada ranks third-best, Colorado ranks fourth-best and California ranks second-worst at 49.

- Tax Freedom day for Arizonans is April 17. That is the day that the average Arizona worker has earned enough to pay his federal, state and local taxes. In other words, it is the day that he can start working for himself. Thirty-four states have an earlier Tax Freedom Day. (Source: Tax Foundation)

- The average Arizonan works 72 days to pay federal, state and local taxes, 44 days to pay medical expenses, 30 days to buy food, 14 days to buy clothes, and 61 days to pay housing expenses. Yet you will never see a headline about a tax crisis but will see plenty about a health care crisis. (Source: Tax Foundation)

- The total earnings of all government workers in the state equals the total earnings of all private-sector workers in the state's construction and manufacturing industries. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)

- Almost 22 percent of income is taken from Arizona wage earners by the government and given in the form of transfer payments to other people for such programs as Medicaid, Medicare, welfare, unemployment benefits and student loans. An additional six percent is taken from workers' paychecks for their social insurance. Workers in the early 20th century did not have to fork over 28 percent of their income to the government. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)

- The average pay of private-sector workers in Arizona is $33,620. It is $34,728 for government workers, who also receive much better benefits and job security. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2002)

- Contrary to the canard invented by the education establishment and spread by the establishment media, Arizona does not rank 49th in per-pupil spending. It ranks near the middle at about $7,000 per pupil when capital spending, teacher tenure and per-capita income are factored in. (Source: Arizona Department of Education)

- Middle-income parents will pay about $60,000 in public education taxes over their adult lives. Twelve years of public education cost school districts $336,000 for four kids, $252,000 for three kids, $168,000 for two kids, and $84,000 for one kid. This substantial subsidy explains why most parents are insensitive to the rising cost of public education. (Source: the author's analysis)

- Local elementary school teachers earn about the same average pay on an hourly basis as local reporters ($23.74). They also earn more than microbiologists ($20.60), zoologists ($17.36) and accountants ($22.49). Secondary school teachers even earn more per hour than civil engineers. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

- Arizona Public Service and The Arizona Republic support the construction of a light-rail line that will pass near their headquarters. Employees and executives of the utility and newspaper who commute on the train will receive a subsidy of approximately $8 per ride from taxpayers. That comes to $16 per day, $320 per month, $3,840 per year and nearly $100,000 over a 25-year career. Yet you will never see a news story about the greed of light-rail riders. (Source: Arizona Department of Transportation)

- An unemployed single mother of four children receives approximately $28,000 in "free" public education per year and another $28,000 in various entitlements, subsidies and welfare. Yet you will never see a news story about the greed, selfishness and immorality of taking $56,000 from other people. (Source: the author's analysis)

If the above makes you want to have a drink or smoke a cigarette, don't forget that the state excise tax is $3 per gallon of liquor and $1.18 per pack of cigarettes.


Mr. Cantoni is an author, columnist and founder of Honest Americans Against Legal Theft (HAALT). He can be reached at

TOPICS: Editorial; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: az; cantoni; taxes
Too bad we have Napolitano as our Governess. Also, we are about to elect (if you want to believe the polls) another tax and spend Democrat tomorrow as Phoenix voters head to the polls. Vote for Pullen, NOT Gordon.
1 posted on 09/08/2003 3:32:56 PM PDT by hsmomx3
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To: hsmomx3
Nice analysis.
2 posted on 09/08/2003 6:40:48 PM PDT by marktwain
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