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Hey there,I need to summarize this article to understand better, if u can summarize for me in 250 to 300 words. Please.Thanks.State and local tax revenue has nearly snapped back to the peak hit several years ago—a gain attributed to a reviving economy and tax increases implemented during the recession.But the improvement masks deeper problems for state and local governments that are likely to linger for years. To weather the recession, state governments relied on now-depleted federal stimulus funds, which allowed them to put off painful cuts that would have otherwise been necessary to balance budgets. Meanwhile, demand for government services and the tab for public-worker pensions and health care have continued to grow.Total tax receipts for state and local governments hit $1.29 trillion in 2010, just 2.3% shy of the $1.32 trillion taken in during 2008, not adjusted for inflation, according to Census Bureau data.Peak tax revenue was reached during the first year of the recent recession, which began in December 2007, due to the usual lag between the time a downturn hits and when it is reflected in tax receipts.Part of the upturn in state revenue can be traced to tax increases imposed during the recession. For 2010, tax hikes boosted state revenue by $12.3 billion, about 2%, according to the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.The latest tallies show a diverging trend in the fiscal health of state and local governments. While state tax revenue increased every quarter of 2010, including a 6.7% jump in the fourth period compared with a year earlier, local tax revenue fell in the first and fourth quarters—in part because of slumping real-estate tax receipts.While states are primarily funded by sales and income taxes—which tend to grow along with an expanding economy—the nation’s 89,000 cities, school districts and other local governments depend heavily on property taxes.It typically takes a few years for falling housing prices to show up in property-tax receipts, and the latest Census figures suggest that is now happening.Local “governments are still very much in the midst of the downturn and are likely to have a couple of tough years ahead,” says Chris Hoene, director of research for the National League of Cities, adding that local governments will struggle until there is a rebound in housing markets.For states, an improving revenue picture might seem surprising, given the big budget deficits in the coming fiscal year. State income-tax revenue jumped 10.9% in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared with a year ago, as Americans’ healthier incomes and stock-market gains translated to higher income-tax payments. Sales taxes grew 1.9% over the period, according to the Census.While state finances are improving, their current fiscal woes largely reflect lingering problems that have yet to be resolved. For decades, the cost of state and local government has risen faster than overall inflation, in part because of pension and health-care promises governments made to their employees.”States and localities will face continued pressure on their finances as they struggle to pay the cost of promises already made,” says Don Boyd, a senior fellow at the Rockefeller Institute. “This will be hard to explain to taxpayers who see that the cyclical part of their problem is improving.”WSJ’s Conor Dougherty and Mitra Kalita visit the News Hub to discuss state-level revenues seeing a rebound, but local revenues weighed down by a sluggish housing market. January housing sales figures ignited fresh fears of a double-dip recession.Meanwhile, in the 2012 fiscal year that starts in July, states will no longer have the roughly $150 billion in stimulus funds that over the past two years have been used to fill gaps in states’ budgets. That means governors and legislators are just now considering cuts that, but for the stimulus, would have been made years ago.State and local fiscal burdens cast a cloud over an otherwise improving economy and job market. Concerns about governments’ ability to get their fiscal houses in order have roiled the municipal-bond market, raising borrowing costs for many cities and in the process impeding their ability to spend on things like new roads or sewers.At the same time, budget crunches have prompted widespread layoffs, especially at the local level.In the 12 months ended in February, state and local governments shed 241,000 jobs, compared with an overall national gain of 1,269,000 in nonfarm jobs.The growing stress on local governments is likely to put more pressure on state budgets, even as states’ own revenues improve. State and local finances are intertwined, with states paying for many local services. Also, cities’ fiscal woes can raise doubts among bond investors about a state’s fiscal health.Local fiscal stress has prompted states including Michigan and California to seek more oversight of municipal finances. Michigan is training “emergency financial managers” to advise its cities.In California, the state controller is seeking greater power to audit cities’ finances. I really need to review the summary by tonight by 10pm. If you can do this at least by 10 pm, I am willing to pay $20.Thanks
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