'Tax Freedom Day' arrives in state a week earlier than nationa

Sunday, September 29, 2002

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Most Missourians probably don't remember Saturday, April 20, a warm, sunny day that provided no earthshaking news and was unexceptional -- except for the state's estimated 2.8 million wage earners who on that date stopped working to pay taxes and started earning for themselves.

The event is known as "Tax Freedom Day."

Included in the 100 days Missourians spent working to pay their tax bills were 35 days they spent working to pay state and local tax obligations.

The symbolic day when most stop working to pay taxes was celebrated nationally seven days later than Missouri -- on April 27. The freedom day for the average U.S. citizen required 117 days of working to pay all taxes, 37 of which were needed to pay state and local tax bills.

Five states in addition to Missouri celebrated their tax-free day on this same date, April 20. These were Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. On the whole, the United States celebrated the mythical holiday two days earlier than last year. The recently enacted federal tax cuts and economic slowdown have resulted in a slightly lighter tax burden, according to a Tax Foundation official.

Tax Freedom Day by state range from April 8 in first-place Alaska to May 14 in last-ranked Connecticut. Put differently, taxpayers in Connecticut worked 134 days to pay taxes while their counterparts in Alaska labored only 98 days. Connecticut's tax burden is the heaviest because the state has the highest per capita income in the nation. Alaska's low tax burden can be explained by the adjustment of revenue collected from out-of-state residents.

Tax Freedom days for Missouri's neighbors included April 29 for Illinois; April 24 in Arkansas and Kansas; April 21 in Iowa; April 16 in Tennessee; and April 15 in Oklahoma.

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