I think high state and local taxes may be just fine, to provide high quality public services. I happen to be a conservative in a high tax (and fairly liberal) state, and the high state/local taxes actually doesn't necessarily bug me. I have found that there is a high level of responsiveness in local officials, and I think they do well in stewarding public money. This is partly a function of how close these officials are to the taxpayers -- instead of being distant bureaucrats, they're locally-elected officials who live in the locality and would also personally suffer should the tax money be wasted.