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State spending

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After years of budget cutting and slashing jobs, some states are ready to spend more freely this year, USA Today reports.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, state income taxes are up 3.6 percent over 2011 with sales taxes 3.1 percent higher. Property taxes have risen much slower at 1.8 percent from 2011 to 2012. Income and sales taxes have risen almost 15 percent nationwide since the recession hit bottom in 2009.

The increase has led to a surplus for most states, many of them looking to hike spending on education.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has proposed a $2,500 pay raise for teachers and to increase state education funding by 6.5 percent to $6,800 per student at a cost of $1.2 billion.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Corbett has proposed increasing aid to schools from $9.5 billion to $9.8 billion.

A 6.5 percent increase in education spending has been proposed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed a 4 percent hike in state aid to elementary and secondary schools.

The trend is encouraging, but the impact of the increases has to be weighed against cuts in spending the past four or five years.

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