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Texas property, sales taxes skyrocket

"That's right, you're not from Texas, but Texas wants you anyway," sings Lyle Lovett.

Or more accurately, Texas wants your taxes.

Wait. Isn't the Lone Star State one of nine states that don't collect an income tax?

Yep. But the Texas tax collector, as well as those in the other eight no-income-tax states, has plenty of other ways to get your money.

Here it's through sales and property taxes. And right now, Texas is doing a damn fine job of collecting them judging by a report released this week by the state's Comptroller of Public Accounts.

"Texas, It's Your Money" says that property taxes grew by 188 percent from 1992 to 2010.

Texas property tax growth 2012 Texas Comptroller_edited-1

As in most states, Texas' property taxes are assessed and collected by local governments, primarily to pay for public schools and other community services.

And Texas sales taxes increased by almost 170 percent.

Texas sales tax growth 2012 Texas Comptroller_edited-1

The state's sales tax rate is 6.25 percent, but local taxing entities can add up to 2 percent to that, making the possible sales tax as high as 8.25 percent. That's what we pay here in Austin.

Both property and sales tax collection increases are well above the 120 percent growth in combined population and inflation during the years covered for each tax.

As you can see in both charts there's a dip around 2009, proving that even the Texas economy stumbled a bit during the early stages of the recession. But based on my last couple of property tax bills, I think we -- and by we I mean the tax collectors -- have come out pretty unscathed.

Comptroller Susan Combs says that the report on Texans and their money is the first in a series that "will help Texas taxpayers know more about…how much they are paying, whom they are paying and how their tax dollars are being spent."

The Comptroller's Office also has created the Texas Transparency website, which includes interactive maps that provide a close-up view of the various entities that assess and collect taxes throughout the state.

Other states' taxes: Lone Star State residents came in at 45 on the last state tax burden study conducted in 2009 by The Tax Foundation. Back then, we Texans paid around 7.9 percent of our cash to state and local tax collectors.

Three years ago, Alaskans paid the fewest state and local taxes and the biggest state and local tax burden was borne by the guidos, guidettes and regular folks living in New Jersey.

Which state tax costs you the most each year? Would you ever consider moving to escape that levy?

If you are looking to relocate, there are some houses in my neighborhood for sale. Just be sure to check the property taxes on them before you sign a contract!

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