state budgets

State leaders zero in on recovery in budget proposals, state addresses

As state budgets move into the legislatures for final negotiations and approvals, the last of the governors have addressed their constituents and put forth their proposals. While a renewed sense of hope is seeping into the latest addresses, governors are still cautious and guarded in proposing new programs. Broadband, small business, education and workforce initiatives continue to be among the innovation-related initiatives announced by the state leaders, with the intent that those efforts will also boost the economic recovery of the states.

Higher education, lower taxes in governors’ plans for growth

Several more State of the State addresses were delivered already this month, leaving just a few states yet to go and the pandemic and recovery from the pandemic, not surprisingly, continue to feature heavily in governors’ plans. Energy opportunities, tax cuts, broadband and shifts in the model for higher education are in play in this week’s review of addresses from California, Florida, New Hampshire and Wyoming.

FY 2021 fiscal environment presents real challenges for many states, NASBO finds

Before America had a pandemic to fight, U.S. governors collectively expected 10.8 percent more revenue to work with in FY 2021 than current estimates projected in the latest National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) survey. Thirty-five states reported in the semi-annual survey released Dec. 23 that general funds had not met expectations for FY 2020; 19 states made mid-year cuts as a result.

State budget recovery likely years away, SSTI analysis shows

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) indicates that the U.S. economy through 2030 will have $8 trillion (as measured in 2019 dollars) less in economic activity than the CBO projected just five months ago.  Combined with SSTI’s recent examination of economic recovery that found it took 20 states at least four years for their economy to recover back to Great Recession levels, the impact on state budgets can be expected to be long lasting. In fact, a new examination by SSTI finds that through FY 2018, 15 states’ general revenue funds had not recovered to FY 2008 levels (as measured in 2018 dollars) based on data collected by the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). For an additional 16 states, it took seven to 10 years to reach FY 2008 levels.

States scramble to find footing with budgets stressed by pandemic

After finally beginning to find their footing following the Great Recession of 2008 and having built up their state rainy day funds, states are now finding that it’s not just raining — they are facing a tsunami. With their two main sources of revenue, the income tax and sales tax, both seriously impacted by the historic levels of unemployment claims and shuttered businesses, states are just beginning to try to manage a budgetary storm that could have lasting impacts on their economies.

States dealt blow with pandemic

In general, the effect of the pandemic on states’ budgets due to the wave of business, retail, and commerce shutdowns, as well as other reduced economic activity across the nation, is not entirely known, or too early to forecast; however, a number of states are beginning to experience the initial impacts of a substantial downturn. With several states having already enacted their 2020-21 budgets, special sessions are expected later this year to deal with declining revenues. Others ended sessions early without a new fiscal year spending plan in place.

Pandemic upends states’ legislative sessions

Postposed primary elections, shuttered schools, sheltering in place orders and millions of workers shifting to home offices while others are displaced completely — the COVID-19 pandemic is radically altering the way of life for the country. States, too, are scrambling to respond to the pandemic while dealing with ongoing legislative sessions and budget negotiations. Some of those responses are detailed here.

Aging states face greater economic constraints

As the country’s working age demographic continues to get older, state budgets, especially those in the Northeast, will face greater pressure from increased Medicaid costs, says a new report from S&P Global Ratings. Environmental, Social, And Governance: Increasing Generational Dependency Poses Long-Term Social Risks To U.S. States' Fiscal And Economic Stability examines those trends resulting from the shifting demographics. By 2035, the number of people age 65 and older is expected to outnumber those under the age of 18 for the first time in U.S. history. This is expected to create economic, fiscal and social challenges for state governments.

States launching innovation initiatives across the country

Proving that innovation is appealing to states regardless of their size or political leanings, new initiatives in both Democratic and Republican states, as well as large states like California and small states like Vermont, are driving innovation agendas into action in areas ranging from clean energy and aid for students and colleges, to new venture capital investments and bond financing to support business collaborations with higher education to help translate cutting-edge research into products and companies.

Free tuition offerings continue to evolve in states across the US

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham became the latest governor to propose a plan for free tuition, with what has been called the “one of the most ambitious attempts to make higher education more accessible.” If approved, the plan would allow in-state students to attend any of the 29 state public colleges or universities, regardless of income. It is designed as a “last-dollar” program.

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