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State, Local Revenue Fell 22% in 2009, Census Says

(Corrects to remove the word “tax” before revenue in headline and first paragraph of story published Oct. 31.)

Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. state and local government revenue declined 22 percent to $2.1 trillion in 2009 compared with the year earlier, the Census Bureau said on its website.

Most revenue categories showed declines except property-tax collections, which rose 3.7 percent to $424 billion, the census said. The period covered in the report includes part of the 18-month recession, which ended in June 2009.

Spending totaled almost $3 trillion in 2009, a 4.6 percent increase. Education made up the biggest expense, comprising more than 33 percent of state budgets in nine states.

The second most-expensive category was welfare, which includes support for the needy, the census said. Four states spent more than 20 percent of their budgets on public assistance. Unemployment compensation jumped 86 percent, to $66 billion from $36 billion in 2008.

State governments have rebounded since the period covered in the report, according to data released last week by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. The Albany, New York-based institute said tax collections rose 6.8 percent in the first two months of the third quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2010. The second quarter had the sixth-straight period of gains. States are still pressured by a sluggish housing market and weak consumer confidence, the study found.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Riquier in New York at ariquier@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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