Cigarette smuggling across state lines is a serious problem, costing states billions in lost revenue each year and creating challenges for law enforcement. 

With the end of tax season, CNBC has compiled some interesting graphics related to federal and state taxes. Using data from the Tax Foundation, the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Treasury Department, the article details where federal and state revenues come from and how they are spent. The top three spending items for the federal government were Health and Human Services, Social Security and Defense. An interactive map of the United States allows users to see several state-level measures, including total taxes paid, average deductions and state tax rates. 

The non-partisan Tax Foundation has calculated the tax burdens of the citizens of each state while adjusting for the fact that many state taxes are exported to residents of other states.

Jennifer Burnett, CSG Program Manager, Fiscal and Economic Development Policy, outlines the top five issues for 2014 related to fiscal and economic development policy, including pervasive federal instability, a sluggish recovery, soaring health care costs, a stagnant labor market and new demands on state resources for economic development.

In a legal setback for states seeking to collect taxes from Internet sales, the Illinois Supreme Court in October struck down the legislature’s 2011 Main Street Fairness Act. According to USA Today, the decision marks the first time a state’s Internet sales tax law has been invalidated. Illinois’ measure is known as an “Amazon” law, named after the online retailer.

According to recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau, total state tax revenue hit a 25 year high in the second quarter of 2013, totaling $259.6 billion – a 9.4 percent increase over the same quarter in 2012.

According to a recent Stateline Article the uncertainty from the federal government’s inability to reach a budget deal is starting to anxiety for the states in anticipation of a second round of sequester.  About 30 percent of a state’s revenue is from the federal government. 90 percent of that federal money comes in the form of grants. Three-fourths of those grants are subject to potential sequestration according to the Federal Funds Information for the States.

Only six states—Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah—don’t have a state lottery. Alabama House Minority Leader Craig Ford wants to change that, and he thinks he has the support of the majority of Alabamans.

In March 2013, Wyoming became the 44th state to legalize the operation of a state lottery. Lottery sales across all states totaled nearly $69 billion in 2012, with profits of more than $19 billion. Most states use at least some of that revenue to fund education and 17 states mandate that revenue be used exclusively for this purpose.

Cigarette taxes are a means both to raise state revenue and to discourage the use of tobacco. Cigarette taxes range significantly across states, as does the amount of revenue collected on such taxes. Revenues from state taxes on tobacco totaled more than $17 billion in 2012, representing 2.2 percent of all state tax revenue. 

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