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Old 08-17-2011, 09:04 PM
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My apologies if this has been posted before, but here is a Feb. 2011 story with a graph that shows likely tax burdens under different assumptions about different types of households (e.g., married no kids, with two cars at $100,000 income vs. single with two kids, one car at $200000 income).

I thought you might find it interesting.

Taxes lowest for DC residents and car-free Virginians - Greater Greater Washington

"Tax debates often involve arguments about how taxes compare in DC, Maryland, or Virginia. A new report from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute found DC's to be the lowest in most cases. Virginia residents without cars would also pay low levels of tax..."
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Old 08-18-2011, 06:15 AM
Location: New-Dentist Colony
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The problem with these types of reports is that almost any organization producing them has some position on the issue--which leads those who disagree to discount the findings.

But it's hard to get around the fact that VA has a low state income tax vs. that of MD or DC, and our property taxes are much lower as well. Whenever I look on... and see what the tax is on a given property, I'm amazed at the differences between the three jurisdictions.

The thing with the car tax is that if your car is old and not worth much, you end up paying for just the decal.

Last edited by FindingZen; 08-18-2011 at 09:44 AM.. Reason: sorry, can't refererence realtor-driven sites
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:39 AM
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It isn't necessarily their position, but their methodologies, that can come into question. The report referenced in the OP for instance notes that the advantage they find in DC over vA for a single person or couple earning $50K per year derives from the impacts of the Car Tax. But they estimate the Car Tax for such a family by assuming that they own one car and that its current bluebook resale value is $25K. Very few people own a car whose current resale value is equal to half their annual income. This is likely to be especially true among households whose income is less than half of at least the Fairfax County median. In seeking to fund other necessities, such households would be highly motivated to sell the current car and acquire a cheaper one. On which the Car Tax would in fact be peanuts. In short, the report's Car Tax assumption is highly unrealistic, and by its own description, all of its "bottom line" results depend on it.

The DC Government puts out annual reports comparing estimated tax burdens for various demographics in the District compared to those in surrounding MD and VA jurisdictions. It of course contains some "rah-rah" wording for DC, but conscious of the fact that they are advising the Mayor, City Council, and relevant DC government staff about the actualities of tax burdens and how they affect the financial well-being of both local families and the local government, they tend to be quite open about places in which they are doing any leaning in any direction at all. These reports are a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the topic. The latest edition can be found here.
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