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The population of interest for this survey covers the 50 state governments, all local government property tax collectors and local government non-property tax imposers. All state government tax collection is covered. A stratified cluster sample of local property tax collectors yields the estimates of property tax. A stratified sample of local tax imposers yields estimates of all nonproperty taxes. For the fourth quarter of 2010, the latter sample, which gives estimates of nonproperty taxes, replaced a nonprobability sample. A five-quarter bridge report, which compares results using the old methodology to results using the new sample and new methodology, accompanies the release of the data for the first quarter of 2012.
The state government tax data presented by the Census Bureau may differ from data published by state governments because the Census Bureau may be using a different definition of which organizations are covered under the term, "state government." For the purpose of the survey statistics, the term "state government" refers not only to the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of a given state, but it also includes agencies, institutions, commissions, and public authorities that operate separately or somewhat autonomously from the central state government but where the state government maintains administrative or fiscal control over their activities as defined by the Census Bureau.
For further information on the definition and organization of governments, see Chapter 1 of the Government Finance and Employment Classification Manual and the 2007 Census of Governments.