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R.I. tax burden 11th highest

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PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s tax burden rose to the 11th highest in the nation as a share of residents’ income in 2009 despite total state and local government revenue dropping 21 percent for the year, a report from the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council said Monday.

State and local governments collected $1.9 billion in 2009, down 21 percent from 2008, but less than the 22.1 percent national average government revenue drop, the RIPEC report said.

Tax collections in Rhode Island dropped to $109.84 per $1,000 of personal income in 2009 from $114.18 per $1,000 in 2008, but larger drops in the tax burden across the country caused the Ocean State to move up to 11th in highest tax burden from 17th in 2008.

Per capita, Rhode Island’s tax burden remained 13th highest in the nation in 2009, the same place it was the year before.

The RIPEC report, which was based on U.S. Census Bureau figures, attributed the state’s high tax burden primarily to property taxes, which increased to 45 percent of all tax revenue in the state in 2009 from 42.3 percent in 2008. Excluding property taxes, the state’s tax burden was below the national average, RIPEC said.

While tax collections were down across the board, the RIPEC report attributed the majority of government revenue losses for 2009 to negative investments in social insurance trusts such as public employment retirement systems, workers compensation and unemployment insurance trust funds.

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