I received a small booklet in the mail the other day from The Taxpayers Network. It is the 2012 Edition of “50 State Comparisons.” According to their foreword, The Taxpayers Network is a “non-profit social welfare organization founded in 1992 with the mission of educating its members and the general public about government and public policy.”
I found it interesting to check out where Georgia is ranked among the 50 states (and the District of Columbia) in a variety of categories. Here are a few, along with my comments.
Estimated Resident Population – Georgia ranks 9th in the nation with 9,815,210 residents. It is no surprise to me that California is ranked 1st, but it is a surprise that its population is almost four times the size of Georgia – 37,691,912. The next closest state in population – Texas – trails California by 12 million people. Ranked 51st is Wyoming. Even the District of Columbia has more people in it than Wyoming!
Percent of Residents in Poverty – Georgia is ranked 12th, with 28.5 percent of residents being in poverty. Mississippi is ranked 1st, with 35.1 percent of its residents in poverty. New Hampshire is ranked 51st with a rate of 15 percent. By the way, poverty is defined as living below 150 percent of the federal poverty rate for 12 months or more. For a family of four, 150 percent of the federal poverty rate is $33,525.
Annual Personal Income Per Capita – Georgia ranks 39th in the nation with $34,800. Washington, DC, home to all of our fat cat politicians for a good portion of the year, is ranked 1st with $70,044, while it is no surprise that Mississippi – first in poverty – is ranked 51st with a personal income per capita of $31,046. Idaho, West Virginia, Kentucky, Utah, Arkansas and New Mexico also have income below the poverty rate.
State and Local Sales Tax Rates – There isn’t an actual ranking of the states for this category, but Georgia falls pretty much in the middle. Georgia’s state sales tax is 4 percent, and the average local sales tax is 2.84 percent, for a total of 6.84 percent. Upson County fits right in there at 7 percent. Several states – Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon – have no state or local sales tax. Tennessee has the highest – 9.45 percent – with 7 percent state sales tax and 2.45 percent local sales tax.
State Gasoline Tax Rates – Georgia is ranked 18th in the nation with a total state gas tax of 29.4 cents on the dollar. You always hear about how no one living in New York City drives. They all walk or take the subways or taxis. I wonder if that has anything to do with the State of New York being 1st with 49 cents. Alaska, where no one drives because there aren’t that many roads and the infamous “bridge to nowhere” was never built, is lowest with 8 cents.
Top 10 State Production of Leading Commodities – Georgia is known as the “Peach State,” however, peaches are not among the 24 leading commodities. Maybe we should change our name to the “Broiler State,” because Georgia is 1st in the production of broilers (meat chickens). Perhaps not coincidentally, Georgia is 2nd in the production of chicken eggs. Cotton is no longer “king” in Georgia, but it comes close, as Georgia is 2nd in cotton production. Interestingly, Georgia is also ranked 6th in tobacco, and 9th in both grapes and greenhouses/nurseries .
These are just a few of the comparisons in this book. It is interesting to see just how well we are doing compared to the rest of the country.