WASHINGTON (AP) – State budgets are in their worst shape since World War II, prompting legislatures to institute the largest tax increases in a decade, the National Governors Association said yesterday.

Soaring health care costs and a sputtering economy that hurt tax collections were blamed for the budget problems.

State lawmakers responded with $8.3 billion in tax hikes for the fiscal year that began for most states on July 1.

That was the largest dollar increase since 1992, when $15 billion in tax hikes were enacted, the association reported.

The report found that 23 of 49 states raised taxes; Florida did not participate in the survey.

Cigarettes and other tobacco products saw the biggest tax hikes, $2.9 billion, followed by sales taxes, $1.4 billion; corporate income taxes, $1.2 billion; and personal income taxes, $1 billion, according to the report.

Alcohol and gasoline were among other items that saw tax increases. More than a dozen states also raised various fees, including those for emergency services, driver’s licenses and filing of court records.

“It’s a pretty dire outlook for states,” said Raymond Scheppach, executive director for the governors’ group. “Unfortunately, even when the economy comes back, it will help, but I think states are going to continue in a very, very difficult situation for at least the next two or three years until, in particular, we get some major reforms in the Medicaid program.”

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