State and local tax revenues inch higher

By Chavon Sutton, staff reporter

NEW YORK ( -- Tax revenue at the state and local levels grew for the first time in the past five quarters, according to government data released on Tuesday.

Tax revenues inched higher to $360.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009, up 0.76% from $357.4 billion in the same period a year earlier, according to the Census Bureau's quarterly summary of tax revenue.

Of the four largest tax categories, property and corporate income tax revenue rose year-over-year, while sales tax and individual income tax receipts both declined.

Revenue from property taxes jumped 5.8% to $169.8 billion, compared to $160.5 billion in the period a year ago. Corporate income tax revenue rose 3.4% to $9.1 billion, after declining in seven of the past nine quarters.

Still, the report showed that state and local governments continued to struggle amid stubborn unemployment.

Individual income tax revenues fell 4.7% from the year-ago period to $59.9 billion and general sales tax revenues dropped 2.8% to $71.7 billion.

Both revenue sources fell for the fifth straight quarter, but the pace of declines slowed, the Census Bureau said.

Of the states that collect general sales tax, only seven saw year-over-year increases. Georgia fared the best, with a 57.6% jump. Only eight of the states that collect individual income taxes saw a boost, but Arizona posted the highest gain of 15.9%.

The report follows another from the government on Monday that said personal spending rose in February, but income barely budged.  To top of page

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