How Rhode Island Revenues Compare – 2015 Edition

PROVIDENCE R.I. (November 2015) – Today RIPEC released its annual report: How Rhode Island Revenues Compare, 2015 Edition, which provides details on state and local government revenue sources from Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, the most recent year for which state and national data are available. The publication compares Rhode Island’s fiscal system with those of the other 49 states and the national average using data released by the US Census Bureau.

Rhode Island’s FY 2013 total tax burden remained among the highest in the country, ranking 14th highest when measured on both personal income and per capita bases. By both measures – per $1,000 of personal income or per capita – Rhode Island’s total tax burden continues to be driven in large part by the state’s high property tax collections, which accounted for 44.5 percent of all tax collections in the Ocean State during FY 2013. During the same fiscal year, Rhode Island’s property tax collections were 4th highest in the United States as a share of personal income and 6th highest on a per capita basis.

Despite recent efforts in Rhode Island to control property taxes, such as through the property tax cap, the state’s property tax collections increased at a faster rate than the national average on both personal income and per capita bases between FY 2002 and FY 2013. Additionally, Rhode Island has grown increasingly reliant on property taxes over time. In FY 2002, property tax collections accounted for 40.4 percent of total state tax revenues; by FY 2013, this percentage increased to 44.5 percent of all tax revenues.

On other taxes, Rhode Island’s collections were more comparable to the national averages in FY 2013. When measured on a per capita basis, Rhode Island’s individual income tax collections were 24th highest, general sales tax collections were 32nd highest and other tax collections were 27th highest during the same fiscal year. Overall, the state’s FY 2013 tax collections of $111.18 per $1,000 of personal income were 7.1 percent greater than the national average of $103.82 per $1,000 of personal income; on a per capita basis, Rhode Island’s tax collections of $5,132 were 10.8 percent greater than the national average of $4,634.

In FY 2013, state and local governments in Rhode Island collected total revenues of $12.1 billion, approximately $0.9 billion (7.5 percent), above FY 2012 levels, while national state and local FY 2013 revenue collections of $3.4 trillion were $0.4 trillion (12.7 percent) greater than FY 2012 levels. A significant factor contributing to increased government revenues in FY 2013 in Rhode Island, and nationally, was an increase in non-general revenues, which includes insurance trust, utility and liquor store revenue.

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