TEXT OF INTERVIEW
BILL RADKE: You know, some of the biggest victims of this recession have turned out to be state governments. Jobs have been shed, spending has declined, and state tax coffers have just emptied out. Well there’s some new data out today that researchers say shows the beginning of a turnaround. Marketplace’s Jeremy Hobson joins us now live from our New York Bureau with more on that. Hi Jeremy.
JEREMY HOBSON: Hi Bill.
RADKE: So, we know states pay for cops and schools. What does this new data show about state budgets?
HOBSON: Well, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York, overall state tax revenues are up about 2 percent in this second quarter of 2010 versus the same period last year. That’s the second quarter in a row of increased revenues. After five straight quarters of declines. And remember Bill, it was just a few weeks ago that Congress passed that $26 billion of aid for state governments, which gives you some idea of just how concerned lawmakers in Washington are about a wave of state layoffs if tax revenues were to fall short.
RADKE: Right. I’m glad to hear it, Jeremy, that there’s been an increase in tax revenues. Why is that?
HOBSON: Well, one reason is last year was just so bad that it’s easy to look good in comparison. But Robert Ward, who is the deputy director of the Rockefeller Institute, says there are other reasons. too.
ROBERT WARD: Sales taxes were very strong in the second quarter of 2010. And that partly reflects some tax increases that states enacted. There were also some income tax increases in a few of the states.
So tax increases were part of it. Bill. The other part, he says, is a national economic picture that’s gotten better in the last year. He says that’s the only way to explain the fact that 30 out of the 50 states reported increased tax revenues.
RADKE: OK. That’s Marketplace’s Jeremy Hobson joining us live from our bureau in New York City. Jeremy, thank you.
HOBSON: You’re welcome, Bill.
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