State Tax Actions in 2013



NCSL Report on 2013 State Tax Actions Shows Modest Reforms

DENVER—Tax reforms in the 50 states were more modest in 2013 than predicted at the beginning of what was largely expected to be “the year of tax reform,” according to a new report by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). “State Tax Actions 2013” summarizes tax actions taken during regular and special legislative sessions in 2013— as well as actions approved by voters—in the 50 states.

The report contains data collected from the National Association of Legislative Fiscal Offices and shows that while 13 states enacted tax reform in 2013, many other measures failed or were pared down significantly.

“The results of our survey are a bit misleading because even though the net tax change was relatively modest, tax reform was still a predominant theme in state legislatures in 2013,” said the report’s author, Mandy Rafool, NCSL Fiscal Affairs program principal.  “The robust discussions in the states that enacted and proposed major tax changes shows there is an appetite for reform.”

In summary, collective revenue actions taken in the 50 states resulted in a slight net tax cut of less than $1 billion, representing 0.1 percent of the prior year’s state tax collections. This compares to a net tax increase of $4.1 billion, or 0.5 percent, in 2012. Seven states—Alaska, Arizona, Iowa, Maine, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin—reduced net taxes by more than 1 percent. Another seven—Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming—reported a net increase of more than 1 percent. Thirty-six states made no significant net tax change.

The report shows that reform efforts focused on three major areas:

  • Personal and corporate income taxes
  • Broadening the sales tax base
  • Changing transportation-related taxes

Credentialed members of the media may receive a free full copy of NCSL's "State Tax Actions 2013.” Please contact the press room to obtain a complete copy of NCSL's budget report. This report is also available for purchase in NCSL's bookstore.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.