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COLUMBIA -- South Carolina suffered the second-largest percent drop in revenue from individual income taxes in the country last year.
U.S. Census Bureau data show the Palmetto State absorbed a 30 percent decrease, while in Arizona the revenue stream plunged by 42.5 percent, the largest decline of all the states. Tennessee came in third, and New Mexico had the fourth-highest drop, with both states experiencing declines in the 23-percent range.
The data, assembled in the Census Bureau's "2009 Annual Survey of State Government Tax Collections," show that nationwide, taxes on individual income were down 11.8 percent, while general-sales taxes slipped 5.4 percent, and corporate net income taxes dropped 20.7 percent.
R.J. Shealy, spokesman for the S.C. Comptroller General confirmed that revenues were down but said the state's No. 2 position was unexpected.
The Census numbers give a bleak snapshot of South Carolina's crippling unemployment rate, which has consistently been among the nation's highest. In January the jobless rate reached 12.6 percent. This month the S.C. House passed a $5 billion budget that forced lawmakers to make more than $500 million in cuts, a number that is expected to double next year.
In the category of corporate net income tax, states that weathered the largest percent decrease in revenue were Michigan, at 63.5 percent, Oregon, at 45.8 percent, New Mexico with 42.6 percent and Utah, which suffered a 37.7 percent drop.
The data reflects revenues for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2009.