State Budgets

The Williams Report


General: Steve Ballmer Says Numbers and Facts Still Matter
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is spending $10 million to develop website USAFACTS in order so show “what is government doing with our tax dollars and how successful are they being.”

Connecticut: Research & Commentary: Connecticut Needs A Tight Spending Cap
Gov. Malloy proposes to close spending cap loopholes by fully defining what areas of spending are covered by the cap.

Illinois: Bad Budgeting Pushes Businesses Out, Rauner Tells Quincy Firm
Due to an operating budget deficit of approximately $6 billion Gov. Rauner proposes a freeze on property taxes and capping on state spending.

Louisiana: House Republicans Set On Budget Plan, Expect to Take It Up In Committee May 1
Republican lawmakers in Louisiana prepare to make cuts to state spending after numerous midyear deficits and miscalculated projections.

Massachusetts: Baker Preparing For Potential Tax Revenue Shortfall
“Because the state has already spent the bulk of its revenues for the fiscal year that’s winding down, the menu of budget-balancing options is more limited.”

Michigan: While Schools Try Fiscal Responsibility, Union Sets Up Protests
While two Michigan county school boards are attempting to reduce costs, the teachers’ union presses for increased spending again.

Mississippi: Can State Emergency Fund Cover More Rainy Days?
Mississippi spends its rainy day fund over years without replenishing it.

Ohio: Ohio Legislators Must Trim $800 Million From Proposed Biennial Budget
Legislators looking to cut $800 million from their $67 billion 2 year budget say nothing is off the table, but that funding to combat opioid abuse will likely not be cut.

Oregon: Lawmakers: Oregon Budget Deficits Could Get Worse
Legislators’ proposes multiple austerity measures to shore up states revenue in the face of a budget deficit, some discuss tax increases.

Pennsylvania: PA. Eyes Leap to Internet for Casinos, Lottery
Lawmakers consider expanding casinos and lottery online to broaden its tax base.

Texas: The Texas Budget Battle: The Good, The Bad and – Well At Least It’s Not All Ugly
Texas drops from 16th to 23rd in 2017 state fiscal health rankings, to be published by the Mercatus Center.



General: Pew: State Pension Funds Paying for Increased Alternatives Allocations
State pension plans have moved to alternative investments to attempt to match their discount rates increasing fees for managing the funds.

General: Think Public Pensions Can’t Be Cut? Think Again.
Failure to fully fund pension plans can create a strain on local budgets forcing some cities into bankruptcy and ultimately forced cuts to pensions, including for current retirees.

California: Can Public Workers Get Pension Benefits Without Actually Working? California Supreme Court Will Decide
California’s Supreme will hear a case regarding “airtime purchases,” the practice of increasing a state retiree’s pensions by treating them as though their employment had been longer than it was.

California: Marin Voice: Voters Need to Insist on Public Pension Reform
A California Court of Appeals upheld an initiative requiring new hires to be placed in 401(k)-style pension plans.

Florida: Bill Calls For More Audits of State Pension System
Seeing lower than predicted returns Rep. Richardson proposes a 5 year audit of public pensions 30-year-rate-of-return to ensure expected results match reality.

Florida: Florida House Votes to Change Public Employee Pensions
Representatives voted 74 – 41 in favor of changing pension rules so employees are automatically registered in a 401(k) styled-plan and can voluntarily change to a traditional pension.

Illinois: Pew: Illinois Pension Funds Invested in Risky, Alternative Investments
Illinois’ pension fund is heavily invested in alternative choices with high costs that are not entirely predictable.

Illinois: Financial Pundit Sees Dark Clouds Over Windy City
“Bomey covered Detroit’s bankruptcy woes for the Detroit Free Press, and says runaway pension costs are putting entirely too much pressure on Chicago’s system.”

Massachusetts: Editorial: T Pension Progress
The house approved allowing the Pension Reserves Investment Management board to manage the T’s retirement investments, however it is not required to.

Michigan: Business Leaders: Close Pensions To New State Employees
Republican lawmakers in Michigan discuss proposals to rein in costs of the state’s pension including switching to a 401(k) styled plan or just getting rid of it.

Oregon: Oregon Pension Reform Already In Place, We Just Need to Use It (Opinion)
Oregon’s financial woes can be traced back to an Oregon Supreme Court decision preventing decreases in the state’s pension system.

Pennsylvania: Legislators Say They’re Working on Pensions, Property Taxes
Sen. Argall proposes transitioning to a 401(k) style pension system as well as eliminating property taxes and raising income and sales taxes.

Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Governor, Treasurer Call on State Pension Plans to Cut Costs
Governor Wolf threw his support behind the idea that the state should move to “passive investing” for pensions to reduce fees.

South Carolina: Waiting for the Pain of State Pension Shortfall
County governments in South Carolina prepare for an increase in payments for the state’s pension fund.

South Carolina: SC Pension Fix Signed Into Law
Governor McMaster signed into law a bill requiring increased payments from state employees and taxpayers while calling to move the state to a defined contribution pension system.

Texas: Comptroller Glenn Hegar: Reform Rainy Day Fund to Tackle Pension Issue
Officials in Texas differ on if the rainy day fund should be used to shore up the state’s pension system.  The comptroller suggests reforming the entire fund.

Texas: Houston Mayor: 2,200 Layoffs Possible if Pension Plan Fails in Legislature
Facing a budget shortfall Houston’s Mayor says pension reforms or layoffs will be needed.

In Depth: State Budgets

Smart budgeting is vital to a state’s financial health. The ALEC State Budget Reform Toolkit offers more than 20 policy ideas for addressing today’s shortfalls in a forthright manner, without resorting to budget gimmicks or damaging tax increases. One way to stabilize budgets over time is to embrace…

+ State Budgets In Depth