The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 20, 2010
Report: States' tax revenue up slightly, outlook still grim

101220 Rockefeller tax revenues.JPG

A new report shows that state tax collections around the country increased in the third quarter of this year, although the rising revenue tide has been slow to wash out to the West.

Data from 48 early-reporting states (see map, above) and analyzed by the Rockefeller Institute of Government shows July, August and September collections from major tax sources rose by an average 3.9 percent , compared to the same period last year. California's tax revenues increased 0.6 percent, the report says.

But don't clink the champagne glasses yet: State collections for third quarter were still down 7 percent from the same stretch in 2008.

The figures indicate that Far West states California, Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington and saw total tax collections fall 1.9 percent for the quarter, the only region with a decline.

Alaska dragged down its regional neighbors, the report says. Excluding The Last Frontier, the total tax collections for the Far West region were up 0.6 percent in the third quarter of 2010 compared to the same period a year earlier. Far West state Nevada hasn't reported its tax figures yet.

The institute collected the numbers used for the report directly from the states. The figures are a subset of the more complete tax figures that the U.S. Census Bureau will report later. So realize that these numbers are a quick read on states' finances and could be dramatically different from the fed's data.

The Rockefeller report, which you can download by clicking here, concludes,

The state tax revenue picture in the first three quarters of calendar year 2010 represented significant improvement from the collapse of the preceding quarters. In most states the overall trend in tax collections for fiscal 2011 is positive. Still, the immediate outlook is for revenue collections significantly below prerecession levels, and growing spending pressures. The overall picture remains: States will face continued, significant budget challenges in fiscal 2011 and beyond.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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