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What is the Local Government Revenue?

In FY 2016, local government revenue was “guesstimated” to be $1.32 trillion. In FY 2014, the latest year reported by the Census Bureau, local government revenue was $1.22 trillion.

Local Government Revenue Analysis  


This page shows the current trends in US Local revenue. There are also charts on US Local revenue history.

Recent US Local Government Revenue

Chart R.01l: Recent Local Revenue

Chart R.02l: Recent Local Revenue as Pct GDP

Local Government Revenue was increasing strongly, year on year, in the mid 2000s, reaching over $1 trillion in 2007. Local revenues faltered in the Great Recession, down to $0.9 trillion in 2009, partly due to pension fund losses. In the subsequent recovery local revenues stabilized at a little more than $1.1 trillion.

Viewed from a GDP perspective, local government revenue was increasing steadily as a percent of GDP from 2005, reaching over 7 percent in 2007. In the Great Recession local revenues declined to 6.4 percent GDP in 2009 and then recovered to 7.3 percent GDP in 2010. But local revenues have been declining as a percent of GDP during the subsequent recovery from the Great Recession.

US Local Government Revenue Since 1900

Chart R.03l: Local Revenue in 20th Century

Local government began the 20th century as the dominant tax collector, with annual revenue of 3.5 percent of GDP. Local revenue increased rapidly in the first three decades of the century, peaking at over 9 percent of GDP in the depths of the Great Depression. Over the middle decades, from 1935 to 1950, local government revenues crashed, declining to 3 percent of GDP in the late 1940s. Local revenues recovered briskly through 1960, hitting over 7 percent of GDP. From 1960 to 1990 revenues increased more slowly, reaching just under 7 percent of GDP in the mid 1990s. In the early 2000s local revenues are showing a slight increase, from 6.5 percent in 2001 to over 7 percent by 2010.

Federal, State, Local Revenue in 20th Century

Chart R.04t: Local Government Revenue
by Government Level

At the start of the 20th century, about half of government revenue was local government revenue. Out of a total of 7 percent of GDP, a full 3.5 percent was collected at the local level. Federal revenue spiked in World War I, but by the mid 1920s, local government revenue and federal revenue were about equal at 5 percent of GDP, with state revenue below 2 percent of GDP. During the 1930s this changed, as state revenue surged to 5 percent of GDP while federal revenue increased to 7 to 8 percent of GDP and local revenue increased to about 6 percent of GDP. After the spike of World War II, when federal revenue briefly hit almost 24 percent of GDP, state and local governments entered the 1950s at about 4 percent of GDP while federal revenue fluctuated between 16 and 18 percent of GDP. Since the 1950s state and local revenue has steadily increased, with state revenue reaching 10 percent of GDP and local revenue reaching 6.5 percent of GDP in 2000.

State-by-State Comparison of State and Local Revenue

Chart R.05c: State and Local Revenue Comparison

The bubble chart shows total state and local revenue for each state in dollars per capita compared against the Gross State Product (GSP) in dollars per capita. The chart shows that the overwhelming number of states show a correlation between state and local revenue and GSP. Notable outliers are Texas and Massachusetts, on the low taxing side and New York, California, Vermont, and North Dakota, on the high taxing side.

Top Revenue Requests:

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Revenue Data Sources

Revenue data is from official government sources.

Gross Domestic Product data comes from US Bureau of Economic Analysis and

Detailed table of revenue data sources here.

Federal revenue data begins in 1792.

State and local revenue data begins in 1890.

State and local revenue data for individual states begins in 1957.

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Next Data Update

> Federal Budget FY18

> data update schedule.

Data Sources for 2012_2021:

Sources for 2012:

GDP, GO: GDP, GO Sources
Federal: Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 2.1, 2.4, 2.5, 7.1
State and Local: State and Local Gov. Finances
'Guesstimated' by projecting the latest change in reported revenue forward to future years

Sources for 2021:

GDP, GO: GDP, GO Sources
Federal: Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 2.1, 2.4, 2.5, 7.1
State and Local: State and Local Gov. Finances
'Guesstimated' by projecting the latest change in reported revenue forward to future years

> data sources for other years
> data update schedule.

FY18 Budget Blueprint Released

On March 16, 2018 the Trump administration issued a Budget Blueprint outlining proposed changes to "discretionary" spending for Fiscal Year 2018. The following table shows the major changes to Budget Authority in excess of $2 billion per agency.

AgencyFY18 Change
in $ billion
Health and
Human Services
State and Intl Aid-10.9

Because usgovernmentspending spending data is based on Historical Table 3.2, it shows spending by function rather than by agency. Until Table 3.2 is published in the final version of the FY18 budget we cannot exactly predict how the Table 3.2 numbers will change at the subfunction level.

But we have applied the Budget Blueprint budget authority changes into the budgeted FY18 outlays by guessing the application of agency level changes to subfunction changes to give a rough feeling of what the Trump changes look like. You can check out what is going on here or here.

The numbers will change when the final FY18 federal budget numbers come out.

Tax links

us dataus chartdeficit/gdptaxes/gdpdebt/gdpus gdpus real gdpbreakdownfederalstatelocal201520162017californianew yorktexas

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