These states take the biggest tax bite

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When it comes to state and local taxes, some Americans bear a heavier burden than others.

And that burden can vary widely depending on where you live, according to a new analysis by the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research group.

The research also provides something of a report card on the unusually large number of sitting and former state governors running for president — and their campaign promises to tame the federal budget.

Overall, the burden of state and local taxes — as a percentage of total state income — fell a bit in fiscal 2012, the latest data available for the analysis. That's largely because overall incomes rose, thanks to an improving job market and ongoing economic recovery.

Some 35 states saw a year-over-year decline in tax burdens, while eight had an increase and seven saw no change. The biggest gains were in Illinois (up 0.5 percentage points) and Connecticut (up 0.4 percentage points); Californians saw the biggest drop (down 0.5 percentage points).

The study looked at more than just incomes taxes, though, and included everything from sales taxes to property taxes, gift taxes and gasoline taxes.

The researchers also looked at the overall economic impact of state and local taxes, not just the amount paid directly by state residents. A state tax on corporate profits, for example, could show up in higher prices for consumers or lower wages for workers.

Based on the overall impact, New York topped the list with the highest state and local tax burden in the country (some 12.7 percent of total state income). Alaskans had the lowest tax burdens, according to the report, at just 6.5 percent of total sate income.

The study's authors also looked at how much of a state's tax burden was shifted to out-of-state residents, a process they called as "tax exporting."

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Alaska, for example, raises most of its revenues from a tax on oil produced in the state, which is then sold to consumers elsewhere. Because that tax burden is shifted out of state, Alaskans have the lowest tax burden in the country.

On the other hand, when Connecticut residents work in New York City, the authors note, the income taxes they pay to New York are officially recorded by the Census as New York state taxes. But the true impact is felt on those Connecticut residents, so the report shifts that amount to the Connecticut tax burden, the second highest in the country (12.6 percent of total income.)

For those governors running for president, the numbers show and wide variation in their records in holding the line on taxes.

New Jersey's Republican governor, Chris Christie, presides over a state with the third-highest tax burden, according to the analysis, at 12.2 percent of total state income. The state also ranked third when he took office in 2011, though the burden has edged down by a half of a percentage point under his watch, from 12.7 percent of state income in 2010.

Democratic president candidate Martin O'Malley recently stepped down as governor of Maryland, which ranked seventh in overall tax burden in 2012, at 10.9 percent of state income. That's down slightly from 11.1 percent when he took office in 2007.

When Republican candidate Mike Huckabee was governor of Arkansas, the sates' tax burden rose from 9.6 percent of state income to 10.4 percent. In 2012, Arkansas ranked 17th.

After Republican candidate John Kasich became governor of Ohio in 2011, that state's tax burden dropped by a tenth of a percentage point, to 9.8 percent, according to the analysis. In fiscal 2012, Ohio's tax burden was 19th highest.

Virginia, where Republican candidate Jim Gilmore served as governor from 1998-2002, ranked 27th in 2012, with a tax burden of 9.3 percent of state income. That's down from 9.7 percent in 2000.

Florida, home of former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, enjoys one of the lowest tax burdens in the country, ranking 34th in 2012, at 8.9 percent of state income. During Bush's terms, from 1999 to 2007, the tax burden rose from 8.5 percent of state income to 9.1 percent.