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Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators are struggling to close a hole in the state budget of $25-plus billion, but while it's a big number, it's just a fraction of the $254.3 billion that the state spent in the fiscal year that ended in mid-2009, according to a new Census Bureau report on state finances.

California, the nation's most populous state, was easily the highest-spending state that fiscal period, the report shows. Its $254.3 billion in spending was nearly 14 percent of the $1.8 trillion spent by all 50 states, nearly $100 billion more than No. 2 New York and more than twice as much as Texas.

The state general fund, which is the focus of the deficit debate, accounts for just a third of total state spending, which includes special funds such as those devoted to highways, and federal funds.

Federal funds accounted for about $60 billion of the state's spending while personal income taxes, at $44.4 billion, were the state's largest source of tax revenue. Education was the largest single category of state spending at $73.2 billion with welfare second at $63.6 billion.

The full report can be found here.

Editor's note: This post was changed to reflect that the report's numbers are based on the states' fiscal years that ended between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009.


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