Tuesday, May 30, 2006

State Spending Grows Faster than Incomes

Non-seasonally adjusted employment data reveals the upward trend identified by the Arkansas Policy Foundation in 1997 has continued. Federal employment has declined while Arkansas state and local government employment, including K-12 public education, has continued to expand:

December 1997

Federal Government 21,200
State Government 63,000
Local Government 104,000
State & Local Government 167,000
Total Government 188,200

March 2006

Federal Government 20,500
State Government 71,500
Local Government 119,500
State & Local Government 191,000
Total Government 211,500

Side notes by myself, not by the Policy Foundation, mega government lives in Arkansas.

23,300 New government taxpayer funded jobs in the last nine years

2,589 New government jobs per year created

Since 1980, state spending has consistently outpaced the rate at which Arkansans generate income. Arkansas' spending during that time grew by 57% and Arkansans' personal income grew by 40%. The state spends money faster than Arkansas families can make it.

Between 1992 and 1995 real growth in the state's general revenue was 19.5% and the rate of growth in personal income over the same period was 10%, showing that in recent years the state generates its income at twice the rate as that of its citizens.

According to State Policy Reports (SPR) Arkansas ranks first in the nation in per capita rate of increase in combined local and state tax burden; 40.9%, far above the national average of 27.3%.

Total state spending (inclusive of federal funds) has risen sharply over the last three decades. Analysis shows that in 1962 Arkansas spent $294 million. Today the figure is just under $8 billion. Adjusted for inflation, growth in state spending, from the mid 60s until now, represents a 452% increase. The sharp upward trend shows that since the mid 1970s spending has doubled every ten years. This raises an important tax policy question. How much longer can Arkansas' taxpayers sustain the continued expansion of their government at this rate?

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