Study: Red States Have the Best Taxpayer ROI

Study: Red States Have the Best Taxpayer ROI
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

For years now people have been migrating, on net basis, from blue states to red states. That has accelerated recently, with New York hemorrhaging the most residents of any state from 2019-2020, and California recording their first ever population decline. States like Florida and Texas have attracted the most blue state refugees.

This is a worrying trend because there’s no evidence that those fleeing blue states aren’t going to vote for the exact same policies that ruined their home states – but also serves as validation that red state policies are mostly superior to blue state policies.

A new study from WalletHub compared the states on one criteria: taxpayer ROI. The metric is calculated by comparing taxes paid per-capita to the quality of government services the state provides (including infrastructure, crime, schools, water quality, hospital systems, and the percent of residents in poverty). And to little surprise, red states ranked the best, on average.

The results are as follows:

‘Taxpayer ROI’ Rank (1=Best)  State ‘Total Taxes Paid per Capita’ Rank*  ‘Overall Government Services’ Rank 
1 New Hampshire 2 9
2 Florida 1 30
3 South Dakota 6 21
4 Virginia 23 3
5 Missouri 3 38
6 Ohio 12 26
7 Texas 7 35
8 Georgia 9 34
9 Nebraska 24 12
10 Tennessee 4 41
11 Colorado 15 27
12 Kentucky 18 23
13 Iowa 32 8
14 Wisconsin 33 6
15 Indiana 22 18
16 Idaho 19 25
17 Utah 36 7
18 South Carolina 5 46
19 Maine 30 13
20 North Carolina 17 32
21 Montana 20 28
22 Rhode Island 31 16
23 Michigan 21 31
24 Alabama 8 45
25 Illinois 29 22
26 Pennsylvania 27 24
27 Arizona 13 43
28 Wyoming 38 14
29 Maryland 40 10
30 Oklahoma 14 42
31 Washington 39 20
32 Kansas 35 29
33 Minnesota 47 1
34 Alaska 10 48
35 Oregon 28 36
36 Massachusetts 42 11
37 West Virginia 25 39
38 New Jersey 41 15
39 Mississippi 16 47
40 Connecticut 46 5
41 Vermont 48 2
42 Louisiana 11 50
43 Arkansas 34 40
44 New York 43 19
45 Nevada 26 44
46 Delaware 44 17
47 North Dakota 50 4
48 New Mexico 37 49
49 California 45 37
50 Hawaii 49 33

 

The study did have some flaws, such as ranking states by their hospital systems, most of which are privately owned. They also ranked states based on their poverty rates, but they ranked them based on nominal poverty rates (not adjusted for differences in costs of living). The best and worst hospital ranking were roughly evenly split among red and blue states – though the poverty rankings became biased against low-cost-of-living red states as a result of their methodology.

Source: WalletHub

 

Regardless, red states still came out on top overall, with red states being given an average rank of 21.2, and blue states a 29.8 (the lower the better). States are being ranked as “red” and “blue” in this context based on how they voted in the 2020 election.

New Hampshire comes out on top, and while they’re listed as blue due to how they voted in the 2020 election, they are hardly solidly blue. Trump lost the state by a miniscule 0.4% margin in 2016, and their state legislature recently flipped Republican. They’re also consistently ranked the #1 and #2 most economically free state by the Cato Institute, and high rankings on that metric are dominated by red states.

Matt Palumbo is the author of Dumb and Dumber: How Cuomo and de Blasio Ruined New YorkDebunk This: Shattering Liberal Lies, and Spygate


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