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LIFE IN UTAH IS AMONG LEAST (FEDERALLY) TAXING

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Life in Utah is less taxing than in most of America, according to a pair of new studies by the Tax Foundation.

They say Utahns pay the second-lowest overall federal tax per person. And the Beehive State is among the lucky few that receives more in federal spending than residents pay in taxes.One study said that only Mississippi has a lower federal tax burden per person than Utah, count-ing individual income taxes, social insurance taxes, luxury taxes (such as on yachts and airplanes) and corporate taxes paid by local industry.

It said Utahns will pay an average of $3,350 per person in such taxes this year, up 6.5 percent from last year. That is 29 percent lower than the national average of $4,701 per person.

Meanwhile, a separate study said that for every $1 that Utahns paid in such federal taxes in 1993, they received $1.16 in return federal spending in the state. That is 18th best among the states.

It said that in 1993, Utahns paid an average of $3,147 each in federal taxes - and the federal government spent $4,011 in Utah per resident there.

While that may sound good at first, the study also reveals that the federal government spends less per person in Utah than in most states.

Its spends an average of $4,802 per person nationally - or 20 percent more than it spends in Utah per resident.

The area that receives the most benefits per taxes paid is the District of Columbia. For every $1 in federal taxes that residents there pay, the government spends $5.25 (including payroll costs, defense contracts, Social Security, Medicare and grants to local governments).

The District of Columbia receives much more than the second most fortunate area, New Mexico. For every $1 its residents pay, the federal government spends $1.96 within its borders.

The least fortunate area is New Jersey. For every $1 in taxes they pay, the federal government spends only 67 cents in its borders.

The Tax Foundation explained why several states with good tax-to-benefits ratios have them.

"There are high levels of federal procurement in Missouri, primarily from defense contracts. There are high levels of highway spending in rural states such as Wyoming and Montana, high levels of Social Security retirement payments to Florida and high levels of Medicaid and other grants to less affluent states such as Louisiana and West Virginia," it said.