Thursday, January 23, 2014



IWS Documented News Service


Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor---------------------- Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau





2012 Annual Survey of State Government Finances


Press Release 23 January 2014

State Government Expenditures Exceed Revenues for the Third Time in the Last Four Years


General revenues for state governments were $1.6 trillion in 2012, a 1.8 percent decrease from $1.7 trillion in 2011, according to the latest findings on state government finances from the U.S. Census Bureau. General expenditures by state governments fell 0.5 percent in 2012 to $1.6 trillion, down from $1.7 trillion in 2011. This is third time in the last four years that general expenditures have exceeded revenues.

A major contributor to the fall in general revenue was declining funding from federal grants. Federal grants to states totaled $514.2 billion, down 10.7 percent from $575.8 billion in 2011. (Federal grants make up 31.6 percent of states' general revenue.)

Total revenue, which includes general revenues and social insurance trust revenue such as unemployment compensation funds, fell 15.6 percent to $1.9 trillion in 2012 (down from $2.3 trillion in 2011).

"A large part of the decrease in the federal grants revenue was due to the temporary nature of funding provided through federal stimulus money beginning in mid-2009," said Lisa Blumerman, chief of the Census Bureau's Governments Division. "The 2012 Census of Governments captures the third fiscal year since the beginning of the infusion of stimulus money."

The findings are from the 2012 Census of Governments: Finance - Survey of State Government Finances, which shows revenues, expenditures, debt, and cash and security holdings for each state as well as a national summary of state government finances.

The decline in total revenue in 2012 was mainly due to the $323.0 billion decrease in social insurance trust revenue. Social insurance trust systems showed revenues of $263.7 billion in 2012, a drop of 55.1 percent from $586.7 billion in 2011. These systems are mainly composed of state employee retirement systems and state social insurance trust systems, including those for unemployment compensation and workers' compensation.

Highlights of State Government Revenues

Tax revenue increased in 2012, as government taxes were $798.2 billion and up 4.7 percent from prior year's total of $762.4 billion, accounting for 49.0 percent of general revenue.

Other highlights for state government revenues:

  • Government service charges (excluding utilities) were $172.9 billion, a drop of 4.5 percent from $181.1 billion in 2011. (Service charges make up 10.6 percent of general revenue.)
  • Individual income tax revenue rose 8.1 percent to $280.7 billion, up from $259.6 billion in 2011.

Highlights of State Government Expenditures

Total expenditures for state governments were $2.0 trillion in 2012, down 1.5 percent from 2011. Expenditures for education were $588.7 billion, down 0.7 percent from $592.9 billion in 2011. Education represents 35.8 percent of state government general expenditures.

State government spending on education totaled more than 40 percent of general expenditures in 13 states, led by Indiana (46.3 percent), Georgia (45.7 percent) and Texas (45.0 percent). The accompanying table shows general expenditures and education expenditures and their shares of total spending for each of the 50 states for 2012 and 2011.

Other highlights for state government expenditures:

  • Public welfare spending was at $489.2 billion for 2012, down 1.1 percent from $494.8 billion in 2011. Welfare spending represented 29.7 percent of state government general expenditures.
  • Spending on health and hospitals was $129.8 billion, and was up 3.0 percent from $126.0 billion in 2011. Health and hospital spending represented 7.9 percent of state government general expenditures.
  • Unemployment compensation expenses fell 21.5 percent to $95.3 billion, down from $121.4 billion in 2011.

The leading states in spending on public health and hospitals, measured as a percentage of general expenditures, were Kansas (12.4 percent), Hawaii (12.3 percent) and Missouri (11.8 percent).

State government spending on public welfare was greater than 30 percent of general expenditures in 14 states, led by Tennessee (38.4 percent), Maine (36.6 percent) and New York (36.2 percent).

The leading states in highway spending, measured as a percentage of general expenditures, were North Dakota (19.0 percent), South Dakota (16.7 percent) and Montana (13.9 percent).

For the 43 states with lotteries, ticket sales totaled $59.4 billion in 2012, compared with $54.8 billion in 2011. Lottery prizes awarded totaled $37.0 billion in 2012 (up from $33.8 billion in 2011) and lottery proceeds were $19.4 billion in 2012 (up from $18.4 billion) in 2011.

The top three states in lottery ticket sales were New York ($7.4 billion), Massachusetts ($4.5 billion) and Florida ($4.2 billion). The same states also ranked highest in prizes awarded: New York ($4.1 billion), Massachusetts ($3.4 billion) and Florida ($2.8 billion).


The data on state government finances for fiscal year 2012 and past years are available on the Internet in viewable and downloadable files at <>.

The data in these tables are from a census of governments, therefore they are not subject to sampling variability but are subject to response and processing errors as well as errors of item nonresponse.

For more information on the data limitations, definitions and methodology, see <>.




This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.



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