At the back of the pack are, in ascending order from the bottom, New Jersey, New York, California, Minnesota, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Ohio and Maryland. The only state to recently break out of this hall of tax shame is North Carolina, which in 2013 slashed its top 7.75% income tax to a flat 5.75% and its corporate rate to 5% from 6.9%. The former 44th is now ranked 15th.
By contrast, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy earlier this year quarterbacked a major corporate tax hike and bumped the top income tax rate to 6.99% from 6.7%. Fairfield-based General Electric is now threatening to sign with another state. As Governor of Maryland from 2007 to 2015, Democrat Martin O’Malley increased some 40 taxes including the corporate rate to 8.25% from 7% and the sales tax to 6% from 5%. This may be one reason he’s warming the bench in the Democratic primaries.
In fairness, some high-tax states are trying to improve. New York last year trimmed its corporate rate to 6.5% from 7.1% while zeroing it out for upstate manufacturers. The reform catapulted the Empire State 12 spots in the corporate tax ranking to 12th, but its sky-high state and local income taxes are still second only to California.