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    Entries in states (16)

    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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    Wednesday
    Jan112017

    Have States Reached Their Savings Limit?

    After several years of growth, the amount states are socking away in rainy day funds has slowed.
    BY  JANUARY 11, 2017

    Rainy day savings deposits appear to be plateauing.

    After six straight years of squirreling away money, budgeted figures for fiscal 2017 show a slight dip in rainy day fund balances across the 50 states. States now have a median 4.9 percent of annual expenditures saved for the fiscal year, down from 5.1 percent the previous year.

    What's more, four states -- Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey and North Dakota -- now show no budget reserve funds, up from two states last year. The overall shift is a signal that tighter financial times could be ahead for states as a whole.

    The findings are based on Governing's analysis of projected 2017 budget data from the National Association of State Budget Officers. Given that roughly half of states are now expecting budget shortfalls for 2017, budget reserve balances could dip more than projected.

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    Tuesday
    Dec132016

    Budget Shortfalls Expected in the Most States Since Recession

    Almost half the states cut their budgets this year, and that trend is likely to continue into 2017.
    BY  DECEMBER 13, 2016

    Weak revenues are causing the most state budget shortfalls since the Great Recession.

    According to the National Association of State Budget Officers’ (NASBO) annual state spending survey, half of all states saw revenues come in lower than budgeted in fiscal 2016 and nearly as many (24) are seeing those weak revenue conditions carry into fiscal 2017, which ends in summer 2017 for most states. It marks the highest number of states falling short since 36 budgets missed their mark in 2010.

    As a result, 19 states made mid-year budget cuts in 2016, totaling $2.8 billion. That number of states “is historically high outside of a recessionary period,” according to the report.

    The revenue slowdown is caused mainly by slow income tax growth, even slower sales tax growth and an outright decline in corporate tax revenue

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