If all other things are equal, a state with a lower burden is a more attractive place to retire than a state with a higher one. To get a true sense of which state is less expensive, you need to look at state and local tax burdens. Only then do the low tax states stand out.
It is estimated by the Tax Foundation that the nation as a whole will pay on average 9.7% of its income in state and local taxes in 2008, down from 9.9% in 2007 primarily because income grew faster than tax collections between 2007 and 2008.
New Jersey residents paid 11.8%, topping the charts. New Yorkers were close behind, paying 11.7%, and Connecticut was third at 11.1%. The top 10 were rounded out by Maryland (10.8%), Hawaii (10.6%), California (10.5%), Ohio (10.4%). Vermont (10.3%), Wisconsin (10.2%) and Rhode Island (10.2%).
Alaskans pay the least, 6.4 percent in 2008, but Nevada is close at 6.6 percent. In four states the residents pay between 7 and 8 percent of their income in state and local taxes: Wyoming (7.0%), Florida (7.4%), New Hampshire (7.6%) and South Dakota (7.9%). Four other states round out the bottom 10: Tennessee (8.3%), Texas (8.4%), Louisiana (8.4%) and Arizona (8.5%).
Source and link to more comparative state tax info: