FILE — Jay Inslee capital gains speech

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks before signing a bill into law in Tukwila, Wash., Tuesday, May 4, 2021, that levies a new capital gains tax on high profit stocks, bonds and other assets for some residents of Washington state. 

(The Center Square) – Washington ranks No. 36 among states in terms of taxpayer return on investment (ROI), according to a new study conducted by WalletHub.

On Tuesday, the personal finance website released its report, “2022 States with the Best & Worst Taxpayer ROI,” comparing all 50 states to find out where taxpayers get the most and least bang for their buck.

WalletHub found that Washington ranked No. 39 in terms of total taxes per capita, and ranked it at No. 21 for government services. Breaking down government services more, WalletHub ranked Washington 18 on education, 20 on health, 26 on safety, and 17 on the economy.

A variety of factors contributed to Washington’s overall low ranking on the list, according to WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez.

“Washington ranks among the bottom 15 states with the lowest taxpayer ROI,” she explained in an email to The Center Square. “Despite the fact that its residents pay a fairly high amount in taxes, about $5,000 annually, the quality of their government services are only slightly above average. They would benefit from having a higher public high school graduation rate, more hospital beds per capita, and a lower property crime rate. Infrastructure and air pollution are other areas where Washingtonians are not getting their tax money's worth.”

The Evergreen State fared worse on WalletHub’s list than its Pacific Northwest neighbors. Idaho came in at No. 25, while Oregon was ranked No. 32.

To determine its rankings, WalletHub evaluated each state’s tax burden – local and state – and compared it to the quality of services taxpayers receive in five main categories: education, health, safety, economy, and infrastructure & pollution. The data set included 30 key metrics, each graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the best ROI. All metrics were used to calculate an overall score for each state.

The top 10 states for taxpayer ROI:

1. New Hampshire

2. Florida

3. South Dakota

4. Georgia

5. Virginia

6. Missouri

7. Texas

8. Alaska

9. Utah

10. Ohio

The bottom 10 states for taxpayer ROI:

50. Hawaii

49. New Mexico

48. North Dakota

47. California

46. New York

45. Arkansas

44. Delaware

43. Connecticut

42. Louisiana

41. Vermont

Staff Reporter

Brett Davis reports on Washington state government for The Center Square. He previously worked for public policy organizations the Freedom Foundation and Washington Farm Bureau, as well as various community newspapers.