State Tax Collections Rise $62 Billion in 2011

State tax collections increased $62.1 billion—or 8.9 percent—up to $763.7 billion in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s recently released 2011 Annual Survey of State Government Tax Collections. See the following figure for a breakdown of the $763.7 billion in state tax collections by category in 2011:

State Tax Collection in 2011 by Category

All 50 states experienced a positive increase in total tax collections; whereas in 2010 only 11 states experienced a positive increase. There are nine states where tax collection increased by 10 percent or greater in 2011, including:

  • North Dakota (+44.5%)
  • Alaska (+22.4%)
  • California (+17.4%)
  • Illinois (+15.3%)
  • New Mexico (+15.1%)
  • Wyoming (+14.1%)
  • Idaho (+10.5%)
  • Colorado (+10.4%)
  • Minnesota (+10.1%)

In an accompanying press release, the U.S. Census Bureau highlights the following findings from the report:

States with the largest percent increase in motor fuels tax revenue were California (+80.3 percent), Alaska (+37.4 percent), North Dakota (+13.1 percent) and Kentucky (+10.6 percent).

Severance taxes—collection for removal or harvesting of natural resources (e.g., oil, gas, coal, timber, fish, etc.)—were up $3.5 billion, a 31.2 percent increase. This followed a 16.4 percent decrease in fiscal year 2010. The largest increases in severance tax revenue were seen in the West.

Revenue on taxes imposed distinctively on insurance companies and measured by gross or adjusted gross premiums (insurance premium sales tax) increased $593.8 million, up 3.8 percent. This followed a 5.3 percent increase in fiscal year 2010. The largest increases in insurance premium sales tax revenue were seen in the Northeast and South.

It’s important to note that state tax collection data does not include: employer and employee assessments for retirement and social insurance purposes; collections for the unemployment compensation taxes imposed by each of the state governments; or tax collections from local governments.

This data is only one piece of the state revenue puzzle. For context, in 2010 state tax collection accounted for approximately one third of total state government revenue. That being said, growing state tax collections suggest an ease to state budget woes. For related research on this topic, see Reason Foundation’s Tax and Budget Policy Research Archive.