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Over time, Utahns generally are paying less and less of their income for state and local taxes. But their tax burden still ranks only in the middle of the pack among the states.

That's according to a just-released study by the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan tax research organization based in Washington, D.C.

The study looks at the percentage of income that residents of the states pay for all their combined state and local taxes for fiscal 2011 and earlier years.

In 2011, Utahns paid 9.4 percent of their incomes to state and local governments, slightly below the national average of 9.8 percent. That ranked No. 28 highest among the states — a bit worse than the No. 31 ranking it had in 2010.

But the study shows that Utahns' tax-burden percentages have been dropping fairly steadily in recent years.

The study said the percentage in Utah was 9.5 percent in 2010, down from 9.8 percent in 2009; 10.2 percent in 2007-08; and 10.3 percent in 2006.

By comparison, the percentage was 10.4 percent in 1977, 10 percent in 1980 (in a recession), 10.4 percent in 1990 and 10.2 percent in 2000.

The study notes that most states are tightly bunched together in the ranking. It said twenty mid-ranking states, ranging from Oregon at No. 16 to Georgia at No. 35, differ in burden by just over one percentage point.

The study combines all taxes that residents in a state pay to a local or state government — including taxes that they may pay outside their state while traveling or commuting.

In 2011, it said the total state-local burden in Utah was $3,304 per capita, with $2,287 paid within Utah and $1,017 outside the state. Utah's per-capita income that year was $35,224, 43rd in the nation.

The study said the highest per-capita tax burdens in 2011 were in New York, 12.6 percent; New Jersey, 12.3 percent; and Connecticut, 11.9 percent.

The lowest 2011 tax burdens were in Wyoming, 6.9 percent; Alaska, 7.0 percent; and South Dakota, 7.1 percent. —

Utah's state-local tax burden in recent years

• 2011: 9.4%

• 2010: 9.5%

• 2009: 9.8%

• 2008: 10.2%

Source: The Tax Foundation

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