Despite Call for More Federal Aid, State, Local Tax Revenues are Going Up
The cry of state and local governments for more federal aid continues, but so, too does the data collection on state and local tax receipts. And those figures show tax collections are, broadly speaking, doing just fine.
According to the Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards:
The [U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis] data…for the third quarter of 2020 show that aggregate state and local sales, property, and individual income tax revenues are all rising.
Overall state and local tax revenues hit a peak in the first quarter of 2020, fell in the second quarter, and bounced back in the third. Here are the revenue changes from first to second quarter and second to third quarter. Sales and excise taxes fell 11.0 percent then rose 7.3 percent. Property taxes rose 1.1 percent then rose another 1.1 percent. Individual income taxes rose 0.7 percent then rose another 2.0 percent.
That doesn’t mean some states and some localities aren’t suffering real revenue declines. But as Edwards notes:
In the second quarter, total state and local tax revenues fell $23 billion but federal aid to states spiked $193 billion, thus vastly overwhelming the tax revenue loss. Federal aid is now falling toward normal levels, but CBO data…show that there is still more than $150 billion in emergency state aid for health care and education to be spent in federal fiscal year 2021.
In sum, state and local tax revenues are rising and there is still federal cash in the pipeline. Congress does not need to pass any more emergency state aid.
This probably isn’t enough to stop a lame-duck Congress from passing another bailout bill. But it should give the worthies some reason to make sure any aid goes to individuals, rather than governments.
Image Credit: By Jericho [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons