West Virginia is one of the most taxpayer-friendly states in the union, imposing a lower tax burden on its citizens than Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio and 35 other states.
No, that sentence wasn't the beginning of a submission for the Vandalia Gathering's annual Liars Contest, it's an actual statistic from the Kiplinger personal finance organization.
Last week, Kiplinger launched its new interactive state-by-state Tax Map online at www.Kiplinger.com.
The map is designed to give users a comprehensive visual guide to state tax policies across the United States. Users have the ability to view and compare a whole range of taxes - including income, property, sales, gas and "sin" taxes - across different states.
Each state has built its own tax system to fund its government. Some lean more heavily on income and sales taxes, while others raise a greater proportion of revenue through property taxes.
While it's easy to compare income, sales and gas taxes side-by-side, other taxes are more complicated. The Tax Map tries to boil down all separate taxes to show the actual bottom-line effect.
"It's important for users to understand not only the differences in taxation by state, but also the tradeoffs associated with those policies," said Robert Long, managing editor of Kiplinger.com.
Kiplinger then ranked the states based on how "tax friendly" they were to residents. (Which is an odd way to word that, since it makes it sound like a state likes taxes, instead of the other way around, but I digress . . .)
Believe it or not, West Virginia actually ended up on the good end of the spectrum, rounding out the top 10 for "Most Tax-Friendly States." It followed Delaware, Wyoming, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arizona, Alabama, Nevada, South Carolina and New Mexico.