A State-by-State "Pain Index"

Tax hikes and spending cuts in many states are changing our quality of life.

By SHARE

The recession might technically be over, but the funding crunch in state and local governments could actually get worse. The stimulus act passed in 2009 sent about $250 billion to states, to help offset a plunge in tax revenues, which is how most states fund schools, roads, Medicaid, welfare, and many local services. Even with that federal aid, states have had to cut spending by nearly $50 billion, and raise taxes by another $30 billion or so. The combined effect of higher taxes and fewer services directly affects Americans' quality of lifeā€”and it could get worse as stimulus spending starts to run out and the federal government begins to deal with its own mismatch between spending and revenue.

[Read more on states where taxes are up and services are down.]

To measure the impact in each state, I created a "pain index" combining tax increases and spending cuts in each state since 2009, based on data from the National Association of State Budget Officers. Here's how each state ranks:

State New Taxes Per Person Since 2009 Spending Cuts Per Person Since 2009 Total "Pain" Per Person
Alaska -$3 $1,268 $1,265
California $312 $543 $855
Wyoming $0 $698 $698
Rhode Island $91 $528 $619
New Jersey $6 $596 $602
Delaware $286 $167 $453
Hawaii $96 $348 $444
South Carolina $33 $442 $475
Utah $28 $409 $437
Oklahoma $49 $421 $470
New York $419 $0 $419
Minnesota $83 $330 $413
Maine $71 $322 $393
Arizona $154 $237 $391
Georgia $15 $344 $359
Louisiana -$16 $358 $342
New Mexico $22 $315 $337
Alabama -$3 $338 $335
Virginia $1 $307 $308
Florida $30 $237 $267
Michigan $51 $202 $253
North Carolina $105 $146 $251
Kansas $151 $96 $247
Mississippi $28 $218 $246
Montana $0 $234 $234
Idaho $0 $219 $219
Oregon $141 $66 $207
Vermont $57 $130 $187
Kentucky $37 $134 $171
Tennessee $42 $126 $168
Colorado $107 $60 $167
New Hampshire $121 $10 $131
Nevada $112 $12 $124
Maryland $6 $96 $102
Iowa $23 $75 $98
Pennsylvania $0 $55 $55
Wisconsin $159 -$105 $54
Missouri -$2 $45 $43
South Dakota $7 $14 $21
Massachusetts $135 -$150 -$15
West Virginia -$44 $18 -$26
Arkansas $5 -$44 -$39
Illinois $17 -$79 -$62
Washington $147 -$218 -$71
Nebraska -$1 -$90 -$91
Texas $1 -$93 -$92
Ohio -$106 -$15 -$121
Connecticut $221 -$354 -$133
Indiana -$50 -$131 -$181
North Dakota -$301 -$700 -$1,001

Notes: Figures include tax increases and spending cuts that have been enacted since fiscal year 2009, which began on July 1, 2008 in most states. Spending cuts refer to changes in each state's general fund between fiscal years 2008 and 2011, and in some cases is based on proposed budgets for 2011, since final budgets have not been passed in every state. Negative numbers indicate tax cuts or spending increases, and a negative "pain" number means the net burden on taxpayers is lower, not higher.