state budgets

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.

University of Alaska students facing turmoil under budget cuts, academic consolidation

As the summer ends and students begin returning to school, the situation for students in the University of Alaska System is uncertain, although less so after recent negotiations between Gov. Mike Dunleavy and University of Alaska (U.A.) System’s administration.

NJ governor signs bills to expand angel investment tax credits, fund TBED

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed multiple bills late last month that may help position the state as a leader in technology-based economic development. One bill increases the tax credit for angel investors in qualified technology companies, with even larger credits available for investments in women- and minority-owned businesses and those located in low-income areas. Meanwhile, the state’s approved FY 2020 budget includes $1.0 million for the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation, and Technology. After nearly a decade of receiving no funding from the state, this marks the second consecutive year that the commission will receive $1.0 million to support technology-based economic development.

Despite economic expansion, states suffer lingering effects of recession

An issue brief this month from the Pew Research Center asserts that despite the current national economic expansion still underway, states are still coping with lasting effects of the 18-month recession that ended in 2009. Calling it a “lost decade,” the authors found that although budget pressures have eased in several ways, states still have not fully restored cuts in funding for infrastructure, public schools and universities, the number of state workers, and support for local governments.

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