Monday, July 27, 2009

States Raised Taxes in 2009

It's not news that state legislatures raised taxes in 2009 in order to close significant budget gaps. What is noteworthy is that trends emerged, and NCSL has filed a useful report on the subject. The report lists which states did what, but here are some examples:

*States reported $142 billion in budget gaps.

*36 states reported raising taxes to help close the gaps, increasing revenue by an estimated $24 billion. (I assume that means that budget cuts were the main tool used to close budget gaps, as they were in Hawaii.)

*19 states made no signifcant tax policy changes.

*Trend - states relied heavily on raising personal income tax, a source that has not been tapped in recent years.

*Trend - states specifically turned to higher-income wage earners.

*Trend - more than a dozen states applied new tobacco and alcohol taxes.

*Trend - business tax breaks scaled back.

*Trend - new assessments on health care industry.

*Trend - incentives for renewable energy and transportation initiatives slowed.

*Noteworthy - some state actually cut taxes. North Dakota cut individual and business taxes by $50 million.

*Noteworthy - Massachusetts and California raised their sales tax.

*Noteworthy - Florida raised tobacco tax and generated more than $1 billion in fee increases.

*Noteworthy - Delaware added sports betting to its gaming activities to generate $53 million.

*Noteworthy - Delaware also approved a tax on crude oil transfers.

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