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Colorado’s Tax Freedom Day Comes Five Days Later than Last Year

As the dreaded April 15 filing deadline approaches, Coloradans have to work an extra five days this year to pay all their taxes. Residents of only 12 other states have to work longer to cover their combined tax bill.

The annual recognition of Tax Freedom Day marks the amount of time from the beginning of the calendar year that it takes to accumulate enough earnings to pay all local, state, and federal taxes. Coloradans have to work until April 22 to pay their combined tax bill, representing nearly one-third of total income. Colorado narrowly surpasses the national Tax Freedom Day of April 21.

The findings were released yesterday by the Tax Foundation, an independent tax policy research organization based in the nation’s capital.

According to the Tax Foundation, Colorado has the 13th latest Tax Freedom Day. Every state in the Mountain West region celebrates an earlier Tax Freedom Day, ranging from April 11 in New Mexico to April 18 in Kansas.

As recently as 2012, residents of Utah and Wyoming had to work longer than their Colorado counterparts to pay all their taxes. In the past two years, Colorado’s Tax Freedom Day has added an entire week, including a five-day gain from last year’s April 17 mark.

Another tabulation released last week by the Tax Foundation shows the average Coloradan spent a slightly smaller share of income to state and local income taxes. The combined 9.0 percent burden citizens paid in fiscal year 2010-11 — marking the start of John Hickenlooper’s term as governor — ranked the Centennial State 32nd in the nation. Given the shift recorded in Tax Freedom Day, Colorado seems likely to ascend the rankings as more recent data emerges.

Colorado state lawmakers currently are considering a total budget exceeding $24 billion. The total would represent a three-year increase of 22 percent over the $19.7 billion the state appropriated in 2011-12.

As tax burdens and government spending climb, a 2013 Gallup poll released last week found that 59 percent of Coloradans trust their state government, in line with the national average. Citizens in 20 states expressed greater confidence, none more than North Dakota at 77 percent. Riddled by a significant share of prominent corruption scandals, only 28 percent of Illinois residents shared a positive view.

Ben DeGrow

Ben DeGrow is co-editor of Watchdog Wire - Colorado. Contact him at Colorado@WatchdogWire.com to learn how to get involved with citizen journalism in the Boulder State. Follow him on Twitter: @bendegrow

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