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    Entries in states (18)

    Friday
    Oct122018

    The Week in Public Finance: How the New NAFTA Deal Impacts States

    The revised trade pact keeps the original agreement's free trade zone intact while placing some new burdens on the auto industry.
    BY  OCTOBER 12, 2018

    The assembly line at GM's Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup truck plant in Fort Wayne, Ind. (Shutterstock)

    After President Trump threatened for more than a year to withdraw from NAFTA, auto-manufacturing states breathed a sigh of relief when he announced a renegotiated trade agreement earlier this month with Canada and Mexico.

    A U.S. withdrawal from the 1994 pact would have resulted in the reimposition of tariffs on specific goods between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The impact would have been felt most acutely by states such as Michigan that do a lot of business with the two countries.

    The revised trade pact, dubbed the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, keeps the free trade zone intact while placing some new burdens on the auto industry. Two new key requirements include introducing a higher minimum-wage standard and boosting the required share of auto parts and components from North America up to 75 percent from 62.5 percent.

    Industry observers have reacted positively to the deal mainly because there is one. “It’s a positive compared with the alternative,” says Moody’s Investors Service analyst Ted Hampton. “But a lot remains to be seen.”

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    Friday
    Oct052018

    The Week in Public Finance: States Intent on Taxing Big Pharma Over the Opioid Crisis

    Lawmakers want to raise taxes on pharmaceutical companies to help pay for the cost of the opioid crisis. But success has been elusive.
    BY  OCTOBER 5, 2018

    Pills being dispensed.
    (Shutterstock)

     

    SPEED READ:

    • Minnesota's "penny a pill" bill failed in the state legislature after heavy lobbying removed a key provision. The state plans to try again in 2019.
    • An additional 10 states all tried and failed to pass opioid taxes this session. Lawmakers in those states say they will try again nex year.
    • Only New York has successfully passed legislation, but the new law is on hold thanks to a lawsuit. 
     

    States haven't been very successful at taxing drug companies to help pay for the opioid crisis. But that won’t stop them from trying again next year.

    Minnesota State Rep. Dave Baker, a Republican who sponsored a failed “penny a pill” bill during this year's session, has said that he plans on a different focus in 2019: pharmaceutical licensing reform. Liquor stores and bars pay thousands of dollars each year for the privilege of selling alcohol, Baker noted this week at a conference on opioids in Minneapolis, but drug companies only pay a few hundred dollars in licensing fees.

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    Friday
    Jul072017

    The Week in Public Finance: Late Budgets, Illinois' First in Years and Risky Pension Investments

    BY  JULY 7, 2017
    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie walks from the podium following a news conference about the government shutdown that had closed state parks and beaches to the public. (AP/Mel Evans)

    Better Late Than Never

    They may be late, but both Maine and New Jersey finally have budgets for fiscal 2018 after shutting down their respective governments for three days.

    Early Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a $34.7 billion budget agreement and ended a shutdown. That same day, Maine’s shutdown wrapped up when Gov. Paul LePage signed a $7.1 billion budget. The deal eliminated a lodging tax increase opposed by LePage in exchange for allocating an additional $162 million to public education.

    Delaware also reached a budget deal early Sunday morning. Gov. John Carney signed a $4.1 billion budget that preserved funding for nonprofits, public health programs and schools by raising taxes on real estate transfers, tobacco and alcohol.

    The Takeaway: A whopping 11 states started their fiscal 2018 this month without a budget deal, an unusually high number that reflects the growing divisiveness of tax and fiscal policy. Be it dealing with budget deficits or juggling a demand to bring funding for services back to pre-recession levels, more and more of these conflicts are resulting in statehouse stalemates.

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    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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