Monthly Archives: December 2010

Tax Revenue Per Capita

Today we improved our US state tax revenues section by adding a new variable: tax revenue per capita. Check out the map below for an example showing tax revenue per capita for tobacco products:

New Hampshire collects the most taxes on a per capita basis than any other state. Now we will have to look for data showing if high taxes on tobacco products result in lower numbers of smokers.

Raw Sugar Prices Increase

Raw sugar prices are on the rise on fears that world demand will exceed global supply. According to Bloomberg, damaged sugar crops due to a drought in Russia and adverse weather conditions in Brazil and China are responsible for a supply shortage. Sugar - Monthly Price - Commodity Prices

Brazil, India, China, Thailand, Pakistan, Mexico, Colombia, Australia and the United States are the world’s largest sugar producers. Brazil dominates sugar world markets thanks to high demand for sugar-based ethanol.

Corn Prices on the Rise

Corn ending stocks for the US for 2010 are projected to be lower than corn demand for the same period, prompting a rise in corn prices. Corn prices increased about 55% for the June-November 2010 period. According to the Corn and Soybean Digest low crop yields explain the supply side. The demand side can be explained mainly by the increase of corn-derived ethanol production.

Maize (corn) - Monthly Price - Commodity Prices

Sales Tax Collections Increase in Oklahoma

According to, sales tax collections have been on the rise in the last six months for some states, Oklahoma and West Virginia among others. They are expected to grow even more during the months of November and December 2010.  As can be seen in the graph below, sales tax collections have been on the rise except for the period between the fourth quarter 2008 and the first quarter 2010.


The second quarter 2010 shows an increase in sales tax collection of 9.4% with respect to the previous quarter.

Sales tax revenue is the second largest source of tax collections after individual income tax revenue for the state of Oklahoma as can be seen in the chart below.

Operating System Market Share

One of the side benefits of running a highly trafficked global site is that we can analyze and confirm changes in the market share of PC operating systems. Here is a graph showing OS market share for the past 30 days:


OS market share 2010

The large blue slice of the pie chart corresponds to all Microsoft operating systems, while the small green slice corresponds to all Macintosh operating systems.

Contrast the graph above with a similar one for the same period in 2009:


OS market share 2009

If our visitors are representative of the overall universe of web users, it looks like Microsoft has lost significant market share to Apple.

High Cotton Prices

Cotton prices are expected to keep climbing. Excess demand over supply is the main factor. World supply is not likely to catch up soon since cotton inventories are currently low. Cotton crops in China and India have been damaged due to bad weather, and floods in Pakistan have further decreased cotton output. The major cotton producers are India, China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and the United States.

As of January 2010 the price of cotton was at 77.4 cents per pound. By October 2010 the price of cotton had climbed to 126.55 cents per pound, an increase of 63.5%. The world cotton market is valued at approximately 12 billion annually.

Cotton - Monthly Price - Commodity Prices

North Carolina Sales Tax Revenue

Continuing with our series of posts about our new state tax revenue section, I highlight the case of sales tax revenue for North Carolina. Unlike many other states, sales tax revenue has increased significantly despite the economic downturn, as shown in the graph below.

In fact, sales tax revenue hit a high of $1.5 Billion in Q2 2010. It should be noted that the NC sales tax rate was increased temporarily by an additional 1% as of September 2009. The increase will expire on July 1, 2011.

California sales tax revenue history

Our new state tax revenue section makes it easy to view the effects of the current economic downturn on state tax revenues. Take for example the case of California. As shown in the graph below, revenue from sales taxes hit a peak of $9.5 Billion in Q4 2007 and a recent low of $7.3 Billion in Q1 2009. The amount collected for Q2 2010 (which is the most recent amount reported to the US Census Bureau) was $9.1 Billion, which some would argue is clear proof that the economy is recovering, while others say that it is just a temporary increase due to temporary government stimulus.

Source: US Census Bureau