Skip to Navigation
share:

Expenditures by Type

Description: 

An annual time series of state and local government expenditures produced by the U.S. Census Bureau goes back to fiscal year 1961, but the focus in Arizona Indicators is the period since the early 1990s. The data are reported for fiscal years; for example, fiscal year 2010 ran from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010. The latest data typically lag two-to-three years behind.

The government finance data are collected from a census of all governments in years ending in ‘2’ and ‘7.’ In the other years, information is collected from each state government and from a sample of local governments. Only “general” expenditures of state and local governments are collected; publicly run utilities, liquor stores, and insurance trust programs, such as employee retirement systems, are excluded.

Total expenditures are divided into two categories: capital outlays (for the construction of buildings and for the purchase of land and equipment) and noncapital expenditures (such as the compensation of employees and the purchase of supplies, materials, and contractual services). Capital outlays largely are made in response to a growing population and may not benefit other residents, so the noncapital figure generally is the more meaningful measure. Unfortunately, the Census Bureau does not divide total expenditures into their capital and noncapital components for all expenditure categories. Thus, the charts on this page present total expenditures.

In order to compare expenditures over time, the effects of inflation, population growth, and per capita economic growth must be considered. Reporting expenditures per $1,000 of personal income automatically adjusts for all three factors. The fiscal year average (the average of the four quarters of the fiscal year) of personal income is used to standardize the public finance data.

Data Source: 

Expenditures are reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau http://www.census.gov/govs/estimate/. Personal income is estimated quarterly by state by the U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm.

Data Quality Comments: 

The Census Bureau did not release state and local government finance data by state for fiscal years 2001 and 2003; interpolated figures for these years are shown in the charts. In noncensus years, the Census Bureau data are subject to sampling error. In all years, the data are subject to misreporting by state and local governments and to misunderstandings between the Census Bureau and state and local governments regarding the differing accounting systems used.

Some of the inputs to the calculation of personal income by state are estimated. Personal income estimates are subject to revision. Personal income is a comprehensive measure of the economy but has conceptual limitations when employed to adjust public revenues and expenditures.

iconExpenditures by Type Per $1,000 of Personal Income, Arizona State and Local Governments

Loading Data...

Visualization Notes:

Education is the largest category of state and local government spending. Education expenditures fell during the mid-1990s relative to the size of the economy. They have been largely flat since then — though the figure reached its lowest point in fiscal year (FY) 2012 — despite decreases in funding from the state government general fund. Increases in funding from other sources, including the property tax and university tuition, have offset the decrease from the general fund.

The second largest category is social services. Spending has been erratic; the figure dropped back in FY 2012 from unusually high levels. In the public safety category, spending has been relatively steady. In the other categories, expenditures relative to personal income reached unusually low levels in FY 2012.

iconExpenditures by Type Per $1,000 of Personal Income as a Percentage of the National Average, Arizona State and Local Governments

Loading Data...

Visualization Notes:

Education spending relative to personal income was above the national average through fiscal year (FY) 1996 but was more than 10 percent below average in FYs 2010 through 2012. Spending on transportation, environment and housing, and administration all were unusually low relative to the national average in FY 2012.

Data Source

Expenditures are reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau http://www.census.gov/govs/estimate/. Personal income is estimated quarterly by state by the U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm.