States That Tax The Most Are Getting The Worst Results Per Dollar

Today in "more definitive proof that the government can't spend your capital as well as you can" news, it should come as no surprise that states who spend less in taxes are getting better results, per dollar, than similarly sized states who collect far more in tax revenue. 

At least that was the result of looking at the country's four largest states: California, Texas, Florida and New York.

Aside from being the same size, the states differ greatly in politics and governance, the NY Post notes. California and New York are liberal hot beds dominated by Democrats who have put the nation's highest and sixth highest marginal income tax rates.

Texas and Florida are the opposite: both states have been run by conservatives for years and offer the benefits of no income tax on workers while keeping spending on social programs much lower.  

An analysis of these states reveals some stark differences, but mainly tells the tale that lower taxed states have excelled, on a per dollar basis, past those with heavy tax burdens in a number of areas.

Blue states show little ability to improve academic outcomes of their kids, while red states have been able to "foster more upward mobility and trust in government," the Post writes. 

New York spends about $23,000 per pupil on education - about twice the national average of $12,000. Florida and Texas spend about $9,000 per pupil. And the difference in outputs has been almost unnoticeable. 

In 2017, the National Assessment of Educational Progress found that students in New York and Texas both scored around the national average in fourth and eighth grades, as did Floridians in eighth. Florida students in fourth grade scored above the national average, while California students in both grades scored below the national average.

In addition, minority students in Florida scored highest in the nation across the board. Black students scored 240 out of 500 on an average of the four tests used, which bests a 234 score average nationally. In New York, minority students scored above or around the national average of 236 for black students and 237 for hispanic students. 

California and New York spend tons more on their anti-poverty programs than Texas and Florida. For instance, inclusive of Medicaid, California spent about $19,000 per person under the poverty line in 2017. New York spent over $21,000. Florida spent just $9,000 and Texas spent under $8,000. 

But there's no evidence that the extra spending is helping. The poverty rate fell 3% in California and 1.3% in New York from 2010 to 2018, while it fell 3% in Texas and 2.8% in Florida. 

New York spends the most out of the four states on transportation, at $538 per capita. The national average is $476 while Florida, Texas and California spend $427, $399 and $339, respectively. 

Per highway mile, Florida spends $241,000 and New York spends $215,000. This compares to $125,000 in California and $73,000 in Texas.

But the numbers find that there's "no evidence" New York's extra spending provides value to the people living there. Road quality in the state is ranked at 26th in the nation by the Federal Highway Administration, bridge quality is 37th and overall value of highways was 45th.

Florida is getting the better value for its dollar, yet again. Its roads rank 7th in the nation and its bridges rank 3rd. The Reason foundation has reported that overall, Texas taxpayers get the better value for their highways than the three other states.