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April 05, 2011

State Revenues Decline for 2nd Straight Year

Washington, DC, April 5, 2011 - Newly released data from the Census Bureau on tax collections by state show a decline in tax revenue in 2010, according to a new analysis by the Tax Foundation. This is the second year in which state-level tax revenue fell overall.

State tax revenues fell by more than $14 billion from 2009 to 2010, about a 2 percent drop. Falling revenues helped contribute to state budget problems in 2009 as well, when revenues fell by about 8.5 percent from 2008 levels. All the major sources of state revenue (sales taxes, individual income taxes, and corporate income taxes) fell in 2010. In terms of percentage change, corporate income taxes dropped the most, falling 6.7 percent in 2010.

"Corporations tend to have more volatile tax liabilities than individuals because their profits are strongly tied to the health of the economy," said Tax Foundation staff economist and study author Mark Robyn. "Corporate income taxes grew 11 percent in 2007, faster than any other major tax, while the economy was still doing well. However, in 2008 as the economy began to have trouble, corporate taxes crashed faster than other taxes, falling 2.2 percent while other taxes simply grew at slower rates."

States that collected the most revenue as a percentage of taxpayers' income include Alaska and Wyoming, despite those states having some of the lowest tax burdens for residents, as well as states like New York and New Jersey, which have the very highest combined state and local tax burdens.

Over a quarter of the average taxpayer's tax burden originates in states where he or she doesn't reside. Data from the Tax Foundation's State and Local Tax Burdens report show that in 2009 residents of Alaska, a high revenue state, actually bore the lowest burden in the nation, paying only 6.3 percent of their income in state and local taxes. This is because Alaska raises over 70 percent of its tax revenue from taxes on oil extraction, a tax which is passed on to consumers around the country.

The ten states with the highest state-local tax burdens in fiscal year 2009 (in descending order) were New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, California, Minnesota, Vermont, Maine and Pennsylvania. The states with the lowest state-local tax burdens (in descending order) were New Mexico, Louisiana, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Texas, Wyoming, Tennessee, South Dakota, Nevada, and Alaska.

Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact No. 266, "Census Bureau Releases 2010 State Tax Collection Data" by Mark Robyn is available online.

The Tax Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that has monitored fiscal policy at the federal, stat

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