State and Local Tax Revenues Grow

December 29, 2010

The U.S. Census Bureau reported this morning that state and local tax revenues for the third quarter were up 5.2% over the third quarter a year ago, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of positive growth. For the twelve months ending September 2010, total state and local tax revenue was $1.278 trillion, still under the September 2008 peak of $1.307 trillion. (See Table 1.)

Table 1: Total State and Local Tax Revenue (in $ millions)

Twelve month period ending

State & Local Tax Revenue

Year-over-Year Growth

September 2010



September 2009



September 2008



September 2007



September 2006



September 2005



September 2004



September 2003



September 2002



September 2001



Property tax collections grew 7.8% from 2009 to 2010; individual income tax, 4.8%; sales tax, 4.0%; gasoline tax, 8.2%; cigarette tax, 8.3%; and alcohol tax, 1.9%. Corporate income tax collections fell by 3.3% over 2009.

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A tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities.

A sales tax is levied on retail sales of goods and services and, ideally, should apply to all final consumption with few exemptions. Many governments exempt goods like groceries; base broadening, such as including groceries, could keep rates lower. A sales tax should exempt business-to-business transactions which, when taxed, cause tax pyramiding.

A corporate income tax (CIT) is levied by federal and state governments on business profits. Many companies are not subject to the CIT because they are taxed as pass-through businesses, with income reportable under the individual income tax.