Minnesota has the seventh “fairest” tax system among the 50 states, according to a study by WalletHub, an online “personal finance social network.”
WalletHub’s methodology was unusual. They started by taking a “nationally representative online survey of 1,050” in which they asked not what states have fair tax systems, but what qualities make a tax system fair. They then rated the states according to how they reflected (or failed to reflect) those qualities.
One of the more intriguing aspects of the exercise: When they separated their survey data according to whether the respondents called themselves liberal or conservative, WalletHub found that the differences were small. Liberals and conservatives all favored a strongly progressive tax system, meaning that the rich should pay a substantially higher rate than the poor.
Yes, liberals favored a somewhat more progressive tax structure and conservatives would tax the poor more than liberals would, and they would tax the rich less. But if you look at the bar chart about two-thirds of the way down this file, that compares the liberal and conservative responses, the level of similarity is quite striking.
By the way, after they divided the responses of liberals and conservatives, they went back and applied those values separately to each state. According to the liberal values, Minnesota moved up from seventh to six fairest. And according to conservative values, it feel from sixth to 11th. But still — 11th.
Montana, by the way, came in first according to both liberal and conservative values. In the overal rankings, the least fair states were heavily concentrated in the South.