| WASHINGTON, April 11
WASHINGTON, April 11 The worst of the budget
crunch that afflicted U.S. state governments after the 2008
financial crisis appears over, data from the U.S. Census showed
The Census reported that state tax collections last year
surpassed their previous peak, and all but three states
registered a surge in receipts.
States collected a record $794.6 billion in fiscal 2012,
which for most ended last June 30. That was $34.3 billion more
than the prior year and $14.9 billion more than the previous
record $770.7 billion brought in during fiscal 2008.
California's tax collections topped those of all other
states, bringing in $112.37 billion, or 14 percent of the total
in the country. Nonetheless, alongside Wisconsin and New
Hampshire, it registered a decrease from the year before.
"The explanation for each state's year-to-year changes
vary," said the Census in the report. "California's tax revenue
decline was due to expiration of the temporary rate increase for
the general sales and gross receipts tax."
New York collected the second most taxes, $71.55 billion,
followed by other states with large populations: Texas at $48.6
billion, Illinois at $36.44 billion, Florida at $33 billion and
Pennsylvania at $32.95 billion. South Dakota collected the least
taxes, $1.52 billion, followed by New Hampshire at $2.21 billion
and Montana at $2.46 billion.
The 2007-09 recession, financial crisis and housing market
downturn conspired to push almost all states' revenues down to
lows not seen for decades.
In turn, states confronted unprecedented budget crises, with
many calling emergency legislative sessions to make quick
spending cuts or enact temporary tax hikes. The federal
government stepped in with the largest transfer of money to
states in U.S. history in the 2009 economic stimulus plan.
Crawling out of the revenue crater has been slow for most
states, and recent improvements are threatening to turn
"The latest data show that state tax revenue is continuing
to recover, albeit slowly, from the depth of the recession,"
said Donald Boyd, senior fellow at the Nelson A. Rockefeller
Institute of Government, in a statement.
In fiscal 2012 states' sales tax receipts increased 2.9
percent to $242.7 billion, compared to the 5.8 percent rise the
year before. Individual income taxes, which provide the most
revenues, increased 8.1 percent to $280.4 billion after rising
9.8 percent the previous year. Not all states charge income or
In general, the recovery began unevenly as states that found
fortune in the housing market expansion struggled long after
commodities-rich states found stable fiscal footing.
"In the case of Alaska and North Dakota, increased tax
revenue was largely due to strength in severance tax revenues,
which are taxes imposed for the extraction of natural
resources," the Census said.
Altogether eight states had tax collection increases of 10
percent or more in fiscal 2012, with North Dakota on top at 47
percent. Alaska followed with 27.3 percent, then came Illinois
at 19 percent, Connecticut at 15 percent. Hawaii, Oklahoma,
Texas and South Dakota rounded out the group.
Much of the strength came from rising income taxes, Census
said. Illinois had the sharpest increase in individual income
tax collections, 39.8 percent, followed by Hawaii, 23.5 percent,
and Oklahoma, 16.3 percent.