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Ongoing Revenues

Description: 

The primary focus of state government public finance is the general fund. Ongoing revenues—which exclude one-time fixes intended to balance the budget, such as transfers between the general fund and other state government funds—is the best measure to track changes in state government revenues over time.

The revenue data are reported for fiscal years; for example, fiscal year 2013 runs from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013. An annual time series of revenues are available back to fiscal year 1971. Revenue data extend through the last complete fiscal year. Over the years, numerous changes have been made to the sources of revenue deposited to the general fund.

In order to compare revenues over time, the effects of inflation, population growth, and per capita economic growth must be considered. Reporting revenues 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: 

Revenues are reported by the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) http://www.azleg.state.az.us/jlbc.htm. Preliminary estimates of fiscal year revenues are available several weeks after the end of a fiscal year. Go to the “Fiscal History” section of the website, then to the “Historical Revenue Collections” category.

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. It is released about three months after the end of the quarter; revisions to estimates for prior quarters are made every quarter.

Data Quality Comments: 

Because of differences by state in accounting systems, the JLBC data are not comparable to those of any other state.

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

iconOngoing Revenues Per $1,000 of Personal Income, Arizona State Government General Fund

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Visualization Notes:

Through the early 1990s, ongoing general fund revenues in Arizona averaged nearly $49 per $1,000 of personal income (alternatively, were equal to approximately 4.9 percent of personal income). A long series of tax reductions since then have not only greatly lowered revenues, but have made revenue collections much more cyclical. Even at the peak of the economic cycle in fiscal year (FY) 2006 and FY 2007, revenues relative to the size of the economy and to the ability of Arizonans to pay taxes and fees were less than the long-term average. At the recessionary trough in fiscal year 2010, ongoing revenues per $1,000 of personal income were only $29. The figure in FY 2014 slightly exceeded $33, but this still was at least $4 less than any figure prior to FY 2009.

iconActual and Adjusted Ongoing Revenues per $1,000 of Personal Income, Arizona State Government General Fund

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Visualization Notes:

Had no tax law changes been passed in Arizona since the early 1990s, general fund revenues would have been much higher than actual revenues. Though this adjusted revenue still would have been cyclical, the magnitude of the cyclical swings would have been less than actually experienced. Adjusted revenues in fiscal years 2009 through 2014 were below the historical norm, illustrating the length and depth of the last recession and the slow recovery that has followed.

iconOngoing Revenues by Type Per $1,000 of Personal Income, Arizona State Government General Fund

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Visualization Notes:

Relative to the size of the Arizona economy and to the ability of Arizonans to pay taxes and fees, general fund revenues from the property tax and from miscellaneous taxes have been nearly eliminated since the early 1970s, with the fiscal year 2014 figure in each category near the lowest on record. Despite few adjustments to the sales tax, its revenues have fallen relative to the size of the Arizona economy since the mid-1980s, as consumer spending has shifted from taxable goods to untaxed Internet purchases and untaxed services. The cyclical rebound from the last recession has been modest. Due to numerous reductions in tax rates, revenues from the income tax have fallen since the early 1990s relative to the size of the economy, though annual collections are highly cyclical. While income tax collections will continue to rebound from the recent recessionary trough, they are unlikely to reach the peaks of the last two economic cycles, due to further statutory reductions to the tax rate.

iconOngoing Revenues by Type as a Share of the Total, Arizona State Government General Fund

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Visualization Notes:

As a result of all of the tax law changes that have been made since the early 1970s, Arizona’s general fund has become very highly dependent on the sales tax and the income tax. These two sources accounted for 90 percent of all revenues in fiscal year 2014 — 24 percentage points higher than in fiscal year 1971. Revenue collections from the sales tax and the income tax are highly cyclical.

Data Source

Revenues are reported by the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) http://www.azleg.state.az.us/jlbc.htm. Preliminary estimates of fiscal year revenues are available several weeks after the end of a fiscal year. Go to the “Fiscal History” section of the website, then to the “Historical Revenue Collections” category.

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. It is released about three months after the end of the quarter; revisions to estimates for prior quarters are made every quarter.