From Frost Belt to Sunbelt, states are adding new taxes on income, sales, gas -- even CO
Boston — State lawmakers looking for reelection are finding 1982 an even more taxing year than anticipated.
Around the United States, state senators and representative who last year helped put $3.8 billion in new taxes on the books are reluctantly at it again.
With the 1982 lawmaking sessions over in nearly half the states, and many others in their final weeks, at least 34 tax hikes have been approved. And several others, including some large increases, are pending.
Over the past four months at least 22 states from the frost belt to the Sunbelt have raised one or more levies to provide dollars needed to replace those lost to inflation and cutbacks in federal funds.
The Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation Inc., which keeps track of state tax-increase proposals each year, notes that 1982 sessions are considering measures that could net an additional $6.8 billion.
A number of these measures may not be enacted, however. And although the revenue boost from this year's new taxes seems almost certain to fall short of tax hikes in 1981, it could still be a record for an election year.
Although unwilling to speculate how many of the bills will pass, Dr. Robert Schleck, the senior research analyst for the privately financed Tax Foundation, anticipates approval of ''a substantial portion.''
Many of the measures, say Dr. Schleck and others watching tax bills, are temporary and automatically terminate next year unless extended.
In Washington State, for example, a $275 million revenue package running from April 1 this year through June 20 next year was enacted. Included is a 4 percent surcharge on most state taxes, including those on corporations, utilities, insurance, cigarettes, and liquor. The exemption of food from the state sales tax also was removed for 14 months.
The sales tax was raised from 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent last November and now is being temporarily reduced to 5.4 percent through October 1982.
At the same time counties and cities throughout Washington State were empowered to increase from 0.5 percent to a full percent their local sales taxes to provide property tax relief.
Neighboring Oregon, which like Washington has found its lumber industry hard hit by the recession in housing, approved a temporary hike in its graduated income tax. The lowest rate was raised from 4 percent to 4.2 percent and the high end boosted from 10 percent to 10.8 percent. The measure, -expected to yield $75 million, runs through 1982. The state also enacted a one-year boost in the cigarette tax from 16 cents to 19 cents a pack.
Following the trend of the past few years, most 1982 increases have been in the form of sales and excise taxes, especially those on motor fuels, cigarettes, and liquor.
Besides Oregon, only two states--Minnesota and Vermont--have boosted their personal income taxes. Four states, including Washington with its 4 percent surcharge, have raised business and corporate taxes this year.
Indiana increased its supplemental business income tax from 3 percent to 4 percent. Iowa raised its levy on net corporate income over $250,000 from 10 to 12 percent. Nebraska raised from 4.125 percent to 5.25 percent its assessment on taxable business income of $50,000 or more.
Connecticut lawmakers pushed through a $36 million revenue measure, including a projected $31 million from a speed up in corporation tax collections and exemption reductions.
Rhode Island has imposed a new 1 percent levy on the gross assets of petroleum companies doing business in the state.
The Minnesota personal income tax increase, approved at a special legislative -session last December, is in the form of a one-year, temporary 7 percent surcharge.
Vermont lawmakers edged that state's personal income tax from 23 percent to 24 percent of a taxpayer's federal income tax liability. It also boosted the state sales tax from 3 percent to 4 percent and clamped a new 14 cent-a-gallon bite on formerly tax-exempt diesel fuel. A substantial portion of the revenue generated by the sales tax increase is being earmarked for local aid to public schools throughout the state.
Besides Vermont and Washington, sales taxes in Florida and Nebraska have been increased, although on a temporary basis in the latter. Also approved was continuance of 1 percent of the 4.5 percent Tennessee sales tax, which was scheduled to expire later this year.
The hike in Nebraska is from 3 percent to 3.5 percent and the boost in Florida from 4 percent to 5 percent, with half of the projected $760 million yield funneled to hard-hit local governments.
Cigarette tax hikes ranged from 2 cents a pack in Utah (from 10 to 12 cents a pack) to 10 cents a pack (from 11 cents to 21 cents) in Michigan. Included are raises from 14 to 18 cents a pack in Nebraska, 18 to 23 cents in Rhode Island, and 20 to 25 cents in Wisconsin, giving that state the highest cigarette tax in the nation.
Gasoline tax increases have been approved in Arizona (from 8 cents per gallon to 10 cents), Idaho (from 11.5 cents to 12.5 cents), Maryland (from 9 cents to 13.5 cents by July 1983), and Missouri (from 11 cents to 13 cents). The Missouri tax is subject to voter approval and the question will be on either the August primary or November ballot.
Kentucky legislators placed a 10-cent-a-gallon floor on its variable gasoline tax. The tax is tied to a percentage of the wholesale price and had been affected adversely by the recent price reductions.
Virginia has added a 3 percent excise tax, pegged to the wholesale gasoline price, on top of the regular 11-cent-a-gallon levy.
Kentucky, New Mexico, Utah, and -Virginia have upped their liquor taxes. Minnesota did, too, in effect, by making--alcoholic beverages subject to the state sales tax.
So-called severance taxes, which are paid by business for tapping a state's various natural resources, have been boosted in at least two states thus far in 1982. Colorado legislators placed a levy on the carbon dioxide produced by natural gas wells and Florida delayed until 1988 a scheduled 20 percent reduction in the tax on phosphates.
Major tax proposals still pending include income tax increases in Michigan and Ohio.
In Ohio, where the sales tax was increased from 4 percent to 5 percent last November, the measure is expected to bring in more than $1 billion in new revenue. The state's lower house is considering a temporary 25 percent surcharge on the state's personal income tax. The projected $1 billion-plus yield is needed to avert a threatened $1.5 billion state budget deficit by the end of the next fiscal year.