Increasing tax revenues for governments is another sign that the budget crisis facing governments may be slowly ending. Tax revenues for state and local governments grew in the fourth quarter of 2010, marking the fifth straight quarter of positive growth, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report. Fourth quarter 2010 tax revenues were up 2.2 percent compared to fourth quar­ter totals for 2009. Tax rev­enue for the quarter totaled $380.3 billion, compared with $372.2 billion reported for fourth quarter 2009.


The news is even better when looking at 2010 quarterly data. State and local revenues grew by 33 percent in the final quarter of 2010 compared to the third quarter.

Corporate income tax revenue, general sales tax revenue and individual income tax revenue increased, while property tax revenue declined, according to the fourth quarter report. Property tax revenues were down 3 percent from the same period the year before, according to the Census data. The decline in property tax revenue is the first decline since the first quarter of 2010.

Half of the governments’ revenues came from property taxes, which boost local government finances, according to the fourth quarter report. While the property tax revenues were down from year-earlier levels, they still almost doubled to $177.2 billion from the $90.1 billion taken in for the third quarter of 2010.


Individual income tax revenues reached $65.9 billion in the fourth quarter. That was up 9 percent from the $60.8 billion brought in during the third quarter of 2010. Corporate income tax revenues rose, as well — to $10.3 billion in the fourth quarter from $9.4 billion in the third.

Motor fuels sales tax revenue was up 8.2 per­cent from the fourth quarter of 2009. Tobacco sales tax revenue was up 3.2 percent, and alcoholic beverage sales tax revenue was up 4.7 percent when compared with the fourth quarter 2009.

Several revenue sources lost ground in the fourth quarter of 2010, however. Sales tax receipts fell to $71.8 billion compared to $72.2 billion the previous quarter. Motor vehicle taxes fell to $5.6 billion in the quarter from $5.8 billion in the third quarter, which is the lowest point in two years.

The Census Bureau has conducted the quarterly revenue survey with summary continuously since 1962.