The combined local, state, and federal governments took in and spent more than $1 trillion for the first time in the 1981 fiscal year, according to a Census Bureau report issued yesterday.
Passing the trillion-dollar mark was largely symbolic, but it comes at a time when both Congress and the president are acutely aware of the growth of government debt and spending, as well as the failure of revenues to keep up with them.
When the federal debt was about to pass $1 trillion by October, 1981, President Reagan said, "One trillion dollars of debt; if the nation needed a warning let that be it."
All governments together spent $1.109 trillion, and took in somewhat less, about $1.075 trillion for the fiscal year, the Census Bureau reported.
The main sources of revenue for all governments were taxes, which accounted for $650 billion of the trillion-dollar overall income. The taxes broke down this way: individual income tax was $331 billion of the total, corporate income taxes were $75 billion, sales and customs taxes were $135 billion and other charges such as postage and interest earnings came to $171 billion of the governments' total tax income.
About 62 percent of all taxes were exacted by the federal government last year, while the states took 23 percent and local jurisdictions asked for 15 percent.
Another chief source of government income was insurance trust money, taken in on such programs as unemployment compensation, workmen's compensation, employe retirement, and federal old age, survivors and health programs. About $225 billion was taken in through these programs.
One other item, which took a significant jump in 1981, was the income from sale of electricity and liquor. Revenues from those two sources went up 17 percent that year.
Spending by all governments, the report said, included $584.8 billion for current operations, $116.5 billion for capital outlays, $68.6 billion for assistance and subsidies, $101 billion for interest on debts and $238.9 billion for insurance benefits and repayments.
Included in the current operations figure is $273.8 billion spent on salaries and wages.
The top spending categories from general funds were: public health and welfare, $196 billion; education, $158 billion; interest on debt, $97 billion; natural resources, $44 billion; and highways, $34 billion.
National defense and international relations cost the government $$175 billion and insurance trust spending amounted to $239 billion, the report said.
The Census report also showed that corporate income taxes over the 1981 fiscal year dropped by $2.7 billion, to $75.3 billion, while individual income taxes rose by more than $46 billion, to $332 billion.