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    Entries in spending (4)

    Wednesday
    Jun212017

    Uncertain of the Future, States Save and Save Some More

    Governors and legislatures are keeping spending growth at its lowest level since the recession to make sure they're prepared for the next one.
    BY  JUNE 21, 2017
    (Shutterstock)

    In the face of a politically and financially uncertain fiscal 2018, states are hunkering down, pulling back on spending increases and beefing up rainy day funds.

    General fund revenues for fiscal 2017 are coming in below forecasts in 33 states, according to a new survey by the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). That’s the highest number since the recession, and it also marks the second straight year that more states have failed to meet projected revenues than exceeded them. As a result, it’s increasingly likely that more states will be forced to make spending cuts (23 have already reported doing so).

    The survey also finds that thanks to states’ “thin margins,” spending for fiscal 2018 will tick up by a mere 1 percent -- the lowest growth rate since 2010, when states were in the midst of dealing with the recession. Most of those spending increases will be targeted toward education, where many states are still trying to make up for cuts following the recession, and Medicaid.

    Despite slow revenue growth -- or perhaps because of it -- governors and legislatures in many places are prioritizing saving money for the next economic downturn. After a slight dip in 2017, rainy day fund balances are expected to hit the highest total ever at more than $53 billion across 48 states. (Georgia and Oklahoma were not able to provide data.)

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    Wednesday
    May032017

    The Worrisome Relationship Between Population Projections and State Spending on Kids

    BY  MAY 3, 2017

    Should geography determine a child's chances for success? A new look at how much states spend per kid indicates that might be the case.

    An analysis by the Urban Institute found that states that spend more per child tend to have better outcomes when taking public education, health and social services into account. At the two ends of the spectrum, Vermont spends nearly three times as much annually on children as Utah. The national average is $7,900 per child. A total of 14 states spend less than $7,000 per child and nine spend more than $10,000 each year.

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    Friday
    Apr212017

    The Week in Public Finance: Ballmer's Data Trove, Grading Pension Health and a New Muni Bond Threat

    BY  APRIL 21, 2017

    This Goes Way Beyond Open Data

    You might not peg former Microsoft CEO and current owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers as a government data geek. But Steven Ballmer stepped into that role in a grand scale this week when he unveiled his privately funded, years-long project to help citizens easily track how government spends their money.

    Called USAFacts, the website contains federal, state and local aggregated data on revenue and spending, as well as on debt, population, employment and pensions. Want to know about pension debt? Two quick searches reveal that unfunded liabilities in state and local retirement systems have more than quadrupled since 2000. At the same time, the median age in the country has increased by 2.5 years.

    As a businessman used to the corporate world, Ballmer wants to make government financial reports more readable. To that end, the site has introduced the first government "10-K report" -- the private sector's version of an annual financial report. It aggregates data from all U.S. governments and gives progress reports on government programs, provides financial balance sheets and gives data on key economic indicators.

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    Thursday
    Nov172016

    Facing Weak Revenues, States' Spending Growth Slows

    BY  NOVEMBER 17, 2016

    Declining tax revenues has driven a slowdown in state spending, according to a new report from the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO).

    In fiscal 2016, state spending grew by an estimated 4 percent. That growth rate is significantly slower than the relatively sharp increase of 6.9 percent in fiscal 2015, which also marked a 10-year high in spending growth.

    Spending from the general fund grew 3.1 percent from fiscal 2015, which is significantly lower than increases in prior years and is a full percentage point lower than NASBO predicted for 2016 spending. The shrinkage was largely driven by declines in personal income and sales tax revenue growth.

    In total, general fund revenues increased just 1.8 percent in 2016, compared with 4.8 percent the year before. Corporate income taxes -- a smaller portion of states’ general revenues -- saw a significant decline of 5.8 percent.

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