More on State Tax Collections

A previous blog dealt with the data on 2011 tax collections of the 50 states available from the Census and sales taxes. When it comes to income taxes, last year close to $300 billion was collected in combined individual and corporate net income taxes. Seven states do not tax individual income; two tax only interest and dividends. Three of those states-Nevada, Texas, and Washington-tax neither individual nor corporate net income tax.

Pennsylvania runs close to the national average on the share attributed to individual and corporate net income taxes. Nationally, $259 billion (86%) came from individuals and $40 billion (14%) came from corporate net income. Pennsylvania collected $11.8 billion with $9.8 billion from individuals and $2 billion from corporate net income, an 83-17 split.

In 2011, Pennsylvania was classified with 14 other states as having no severance tax. Since Act 13 created an unconventional gas drilling fee that will be levied on Marcellus Shale wells, the state will likely be categorized by the Census as still not having a severance tax proper.

Last year $14.6 billion was collected in severance taxes. Close to $10 billion-70%–came from four states (Alaska, Texas, North Dakota, and Wyoming).

Your State’s Revenue Comes From Where?

For those interested in seeing the sources from where the fifty states raise revenue-or at least where they did in 2011-the Census Bureau’s page on "State Government Tax Collections" has a wealth of information. It shows that for last year the states combined collected $757.2 billion in revenue from sales, income, licenses, and other levies.

Close to half of that amount came from sales taxes: $365.9 billion nationally. That amount was split between general sales taxes ($234.4 billion, or 64% of the total) and taxes on specific or selective categories ($131.4 billion, or 36%).

Pennsylvania reported collections of $16.7 billion from sales taxes: $8.9 billion, or 53% came from general sales and $7.8 billion (47%) came from selective sales. Of the eight subcategories of selective sales (alcohol, amusements, insurance premiums, and five others) the Commonwealth reported revenue in each.

Only five states-Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon-identified as not levying a general sales tax.

Subsequent blogs will look at state income taxes and where Pennsylvania will fit with the new well assessment fee.

Population Changes in Allegheny County Municipalities: 2000 to 2010

In last week’s Policy Brief (Volume 11, Number 56), we documented the per capita spending and revenues for most of Allegheny County’s municipalities noting the high, low and average values for several spending and revenue components. We also found a strong correlation between population count and total general fund spending and revenues. 

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The 300,000 Club

U.S. Census data show that there were 16 cities that, as of the 2000 Census, had a minimal population of 300k and a maximum of 399k. By official count, Oakland had 399k people and Tampa had 303k. Pittsburgh fell in the lower half of the group with 334k.

What happened a decade later to this group of 16? Pittsburgh lost 9% of its population and now stands at 305k. Oakland, St. Louis and Santa Ana likewise lost population but stayed within the range of the group. Two Ohio cities, Cincinnati and Toledo, lost population and now coverfewer than 300k people, removing them from the cohort.

Three western cities-Mesa, Colorado Springs, and Omaha-added population and currently have more than 400k, removing them from the group. Miami, Anaheim, Tampa, Wichita, Minneapolis, Arlington, and Tulsa either added population or remained flat but remained in the 300-399k range a decade later.

As of the 2010 Census the new 300k club, based on the changes of that original group, has 13 members: Miami now tops the list at 399k and Pittsburgh is at the bottom of the bracket with its 305k population. With the departures of Mesa, Colorado Springs, Omaha, Cincinnati, and Toledo the group shrunk to 11: population losses in Cleveland and New Orleans pushed them into the cohort.

The Business of Redistricting

This week Allegheny County Council begins discussion on how to redraw the boundaries of the 13 district based seats to reflect the new Census count that puts the County’s population at 1.223 million. This is the second time in Council’s history that a reapportionment has occurred: the old commissioner system that gaveway in 2000had three elected officials that served at large.

We wrote about the firstreapportionment in a Brief back in 2002. Hopefully the "Special Committee on Reapportionment", comprised of five Democrats and two Republicans, does not go down the road that was traveled nearly ten years ago as described in that Brief.

Based on the 2000 Census the typical district would contain 98,589 people. With slight variation the approved districts ranged from 97k to just over 100k. The new Census count would put the population count at 94,013 per district. The key consideration that the Committee has to make is on how to avoid dividing municipalities into separate districts. Currently the City of Pittsburgh touches four of the 13 districts: nearly all of the 10th (Wilkinsburg is the only non-city municipality in that district), parts of the 11th and 12th, and all of the 13th. The County’s administrative code has the key language: "unless absolutely necessary, no city, borough, township, or ward should be divided in forming councilmanic districts…A municipality shall be divided into as few County Council districts as possible". The City still represents about 1/4th of the County’s total population as it did in the 2000 Census. It could be possible that the City’s influence spreads to three districts this time around instead of the current four. The original 2002 plan referenced in the Brief wanted to have the City touch 6 of the 13 districts.

This will be the first meeting of this special committee, so there is no set schedule yet for public hearings or input as of yet.

Debunking Demographic Hype in the ‘Burgh

Giddy editorial writers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette nearly hyperventilated recently upon learning the City’s median age had declined from 35.5 years in 2000 to 33.2 years in 2010.  As they portrayed it, the reason for the significant decline in the median age was a 7,642 increase in the number of people aged 20 to 24 and a nearly 13,000 person drop in the over 65 population.  The editorial lauded the decadal shift in age opining that new stadiums and other attractions around the City are finally paying big dividends.

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Education Employment Grows by Leaps and Bounds

School districts around the region and across the Commonwealth are grappling with the realities of the coming fiscal year and exploring methods of cost-savings and revenue enhancements.  In recent weeks the possibilities of furloughs, pay freezes, tax increases, school closures, mergers, and student fees (either separately or in combination) have been mentioned.   


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Counting PA’s Cities

The official numbers from the decennial census will be arriving in the coming months. What does the existing estimate data show now? From the official 2000 census count through the estimated July 2009 period, the state’s population increased 2.6%.

The state’s ten largest cities exhibit various trends in population change over that same time frame. Not counting some minor changes in position of ranking, the cities that constituted the top ten in 2000 (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Reading, Scranton, Bethlehem, Lancaster, Altoona, and Harrisburg) did so in the 2009 estimates. Philadelphia, with 1.5 million residents today, is 30 times larger than the 10th largest city of Altoona, with 46k residents.

Quite a mixed bag in terms of results: Philadelphia (1.9%), Allentown (0.9%) and Bethlehem (2.8%) grew; Pittsburgh (6.9%), Scranton (6.6%), Lancaster (1.8%), Altoona (6.1%) and Harrisburg (2%) declined in population; Erie and Reading remained virtually unchanged.

The extremes overall? Tiny New Morgan Borough in Berks County (increased 225%) and Collegeville Borough in neighboring Montgomery County (down 36%).

Population Change: How Does Pittsburgh Stack Up?

In anticipation of the formal count of population under the decennial Census comes the 2009 estimate of "incorporated places and minor civil divisions". Looking at the list of the 276 places that fit the criteria of being over 100k people-all the way from New York City at close to 8.4 million to Boulder, CO at a scant 160 people over 100k-shows a population count of 311,647 for Pittsburgh, ranking it 61st. Year over year decline has slowed since the earlier part of the decade, and overall Pittsburgh has lost 6.6% of its 2000 estimated population of 333k (the official Census count was 334.5k).

How does Pittsburgh’s estimated change over the decade stack up? Revisiting our research back to 2004 when we started looking at cities in a comparative perspective provides an idea.

Our peer group report looked at ten other cities of similar population size (we used a range of 305k-380k from 2000 estimates). All of the cities increased in population-from a 0.6% bump in Cincinnati to 39% in Raleigh. That latter city, along with Colorado Springs and Minneapolis, no longer fit the population range we defined six years ago having reached more than 380k in 2009.

We then looked at Rust Belt cities-here Pittsburgh finds more company with Detroit (-3.7%), Buffalo (-7.5%) and Cleveland (-9.5%) posting decreases. Philly (2%) and Milwaukee (1.2%) netted positive numbers.

Lastly, our Benchmark City-a concept much broader and one we have revisited twice-shows all four regional hub cities growing over the decade. Salt Lake City is up 1.1%, Columbus 4.9%, Omaha 8.1%, and Charlotte is up 21%.