State (and local) sales tax rates have risen, but, as we will see, this has not generated much extra revenue.
The figures are a little higher than you might expect. I'm not sure of
how Vertex computes these rates. They might include excise taxes on
things like gasoline, liquor, tobacco, hotels, restaurants, rental
cars, airports, telecommunications, etc. etc. which are simply targeted
Here's another version, from the Tax Foundation:
In any case, the main point is that the trend has been higher. Here's a
bit of recent history on sales and excise taxes, 2000-2014:
Most state sales taxes date from the 1930s:
Here's a nice look at Federal, State and Local revenue since 1900. This
data comes from usgovernmentrevenue.com
which is a good source.
We see that Local taxes were the primary source of tax revenue in 1900.
This is related to state-funded schooling, which spread in the late
19th century. Both State and Local taxes have a big falloff in World
War II. There must have been some kind of transfer from the State and
Local level to the Federal level. This data set is very jiggy around
the 2009 recession, especially for State tax revenues.
One of the things you will notice here is that State and Local
"revenue" is much higher than "tax revenue", in the preceding chart.
This pushes the Federal, State and Local total well over 30%. Quite a
lot of State and Loca revenue is not tax revenue.
"Other revenue" accounts for 42% of State and 52% of Local revenue.
Some of this is things like traffic tickets, which have evolved into
little more than an extortion racket. Utility revenue is things like
water and sewage, which is probably pretty benign. "Insurance trust
revenue" is primarily contributions to pension programs from government
Here is the info on tax revenues:
Plainly a lot of rise here, while revenues at the Federal level have
Some big increases in State sales and excise taxes, actually beginning
in the 1920s in this chart despite that "sales taxes" were not formally
adopted until after 1933. Higher rates (see Vertex data above) since
1980 have not led to any increase in revenue/GDP.
Finally, here's some info on local property taxes:
A strange burst here in the 1920s, in this data series. Pretty flat (in
terms of revenue) since 1950. Of course, this doesn't mean that tax
rates have been flat.