Today is Tax Freedom Day in Missouri.
As calculated by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, April 11 marks the day Missourians collectively have earned enough income to pay their total federal, state and local tax obligations.
Let's look at some comparative data regarding taxation:
• Tax Freedom Day in Missouri comes later this year than it did last year, when it was observed on April 8.
• National Tax Freedom Day this year is on April 21, which - like Missouri - is three days later than last year.
• Missouri is 10th among the 50 states to reach Tax Freedom Day. According to the foundation, the earliest observance this year is Louisiana, March 30, followed by Mississippi on April 2 and South Dakota, April 4. The latest dates are in New Jersey and Connecticut, both on May 9.
• Tax Freedom Day varies not only geographical, but historically. Tax Freedom Day arrived on Jan. 22 in 1900, when Americans paid 5.9 percent of their income in taxes. A latest date for Tax Freedom Day was a century later, May 1, 2000, when Americans paid 33 percent of their total income in taxes.
• Americans will spend more on taxes in 2014 than they will on food, clothing and housing combined, according to the foundation.
• Americans will pay $3 trillion in federal taxes and $1.5 trillion in state and local taxes, the foundation reports, for a total bill of more than $4.5 trillion, or 30.2 percent of the nation's income.
"Arguments can be made for why the collective tax bill is too high or too low, but in order to have an honest discussion, it's important to understand where we stand," said Tax Foundation Economist Kyle Pomerleau. "Tax Freedom Day gives us a vivid representation of how much we pay for the goods and services provided by governments at all levels."
Rare is the taxpayer who does not have an opinion on the types of taxes levied, the amount collected and/or how the money is spent.
The value of Tax Freedom Day is it provides perspective and context to help develop an informed opinion.