State tax revenues continue growing in third quarter

WASHINGTON Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:19pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - State tax revenues have grown for more than two years, but they are still suffering the effects of the 2007-2009 recession, according to a report released by the Rockefeller Institute of Government on Thursday.

Using preliminary data, the New York research group found that collection from major taxes increased in 47 states in the third quarter of 2012 from a year before, marking the 11th straight increase.

The recession caused states' revenues to plummet to lows not seen in decades over the course of five quarters. That forced almost all states to make emergency spending cuts, raise taxes, borrow and turn to the federal government for help just as the newly jobless and homeless increased demand for their services.

While revenues have been growing, the increases have been small. According to the institute, revenues "are still far below where they would have been in the absence of the Great Recession." Moreover, when adjusted for inflation, revenues are 5 percent below the peaks they reached in fiscal 2008, the last year before the recession devastated their budgets.

Rockefeller found that personal income tax collections were up 4.5 percent in the quarter ending in September, and sales taxes grew 3.1 percent. Corporate income taxes, which provide only a sliver of revenues, fell 0.5 percent.

In the third quarter of 2011, personal income tax collections surged 10.2 percent.

Delaware had the largest increases in overall tax collections in the third quarter, 11.7 percent, followed by Colorado, 10.3 percent.

(Reporting By Lisa Lambert; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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