WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Drive down any highway in South Florida this time of the year and you'll see many cars with license plates from other states. While the warm weather brings the vacationers here for a visit, it's the cost of living that persuades many to move here.
Take for example the Long family. They moved to Florida from Connecticut for the lower taxes.
Compare that to the Zagalya family in Maryland. They know what it's like to pay income taxes.
"It's outrageous what we're paying," said Holly Zegalia.
When it comes to taxes, geography pays a big role in how much people pay for state and local governments, said Mark Robyn, an economist with the Tax Foundation.
"The highly-taxed states tend to be in the northeast and towards the mid-Atlantic," he said. "The south and southwest tend to be a little lower taxed."
Maryland ranks as one of the most expensive states. For example, a family living in its largest city with three children earning $50,000 would pay more than $5,700 in state and local taxes each year. Florida ranks as one of the cheapest. That same family in an equal sized city would pay $2,400 a year.
Tax experts say these big discrepancies have a lot to do with how much governments spend in areas like police, roads and education.
"They tend to have more government services, sort of a bigger government you might call it, so they raise more revenue to fund that government," said Robyn.
For the Long family, they're willing to sacrifice those services for lower taxes.
"I think our taxes are reasonable. They're not at 42 percent. I don't ever want to see them up there again, that's frightening," said Jessica Raia-Long.
Click here for an Excel spreadsheet that shows tax data from the states without a state income tax
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