WASHINGTON -- States will be able to issue a total of almost $14.5 billion of tax-exempt private-activity bonds under volume caps in 1992 -- about $186 million, or 1.3%, more than in 1991, according to a Washington-based research group.

Federal Funds Information for States, which tracks information affecting state budgets, said Friday that volume caps on these bonds will rise in 21 states, fall in seven states, and remain unchained in 22 states and the District of Columbia, based on 1991 population data released late Thursday by the Census Bureau.

But the huge rise in the nationwide ceiling for these bonds in 1992 is due in part to the fact that the states were forced to use out-of-date 1989 population data to determine their 1991 caps. The Internal Revenue Service directed the states to use those figures after the Census Bureau failed to publish the correct 1990 resident population data before 1991.

the volume limits -- which apply to most tax-exempt private-activity bonds, but not to 501(c)(3) bonds -- are $50 per resident or $150 million, whichever is greater, for each state.

The 1990 population data the Census Bureau published late last year had contained voting apportionment population figures, which generally are higher than the resident population figures that are supposed to be used to determine the caps. The 1992 volume caps reflect population changes that occurred in both 1990 and 1991 for the states.

The caps in 21 states rose a total of $206.8 million because of population gains. California accounted for about a third of the overall nationwide increase in the state tax-exempt private-activity bond volume limits for 1992. California's volume limit rose to $1.52 billion from $1.45 billion, a $65.9 million, or 4.53%, increase that reflects population grown of 1.3 million from 1989 to 1991.

Other states with large increases

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in their volume caps for 1992 included Arizona, Washington, and Florida. Arizona had the largest percentage increase in its volume cap. Its volume cap rose 5.46%, to $187.5 million from $177.8 million, reflecting a 194,000 population increase from 1989 to 1991.

Washington State's volume cap rose to $250.9 million from $238.1 million, a 5.40% increase based on a population growth of 257,000 over the two years. Florida's population grew 606,000 in the two-year period, increasing its volume cap to $663.9 million, from $633.6 million in 1990.

The volume caps in seven states fell a total of $20.75 million because of a drop in population. Louisiana and Oklahoma had the biggest decreases in their tax-exempt private-activity bond volume caps. Louisiana's volume cap fell to $212.6 million from $219.1 million, a 2.97% decrease based on a 130,000 drop in population. Oklahoma's cap fell to $158.8 million from $161.2 million, a 1.52% decrease based on a 49,000 drop in population.

The District of Columbia and 22 states each had unchanged volume caps of $150 million.

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