State Budgets

The Williams Report

A look at fiscal headlines from statehouses nationwide

State Budgets

National: What Can We Learn from Record-Busting State Budget Standoffs?
Illinois and Pennsylvania have gone months on end without budgets — but in neither state was government really “shut down.”

Illinois: Stopgap Budget Spends $8 Billion More Than the State Brings In
“The state’s financial crisis will cease only when politicians are brave enough to reject the failed status quo,” writes Ted Dabrowski, vice president of the Illinois Policy Institute.

Pennsylvania: Casino Bet Not Paying Off for State Budget
The Keystone State is leaning heavily on “sin taxes” to fill a billion-dollar budget hole this year. At least one tax has been a total bust, notes the Lehigh Valley Express Times. Not one of Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos took lawmakers up on their offer to sell after-hours liquor licenses at $1 million a pop — there goes $12 million in theoretical revenue.

Wisconsin: Performance-Based Funding for UW Still a Possibility in Next Budget
Budgeting for outcomes could mean a rare “win-win-win” for universities, students and taxpayers alike.

Pension Reform

National: Public Pensions Facing Worst Returns Since Recession
“A volatile stock market over the past year has taken a toll on public pension assets,” Governing‘s Liz Farmer reports.

Idaho: A Good Time to Talk Pension Reform
Overly-rosy projected returns lead to massive shortfalls, as State Budget Solutions has warned for years. Like many states, Idaho’s target return for its pension funds is 7 percent. In reality, however, those funds generate far less — just 1.53 percent in the most recent fiscal year.

Kentucky: Kentucky Retirement Systems Posts -0.52% Fiscal Year Return
Now more than ever, states need reality-based accounting.

New Jersey: Sweeney: Pension Ballot Question All But Dead This Year
High drama in the Garden State, as Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Camden) accuses union leaders of trying to buy his vote.

New York: Another Warning Sign on New York’s Growing Pension Disaster
In just two years, the annual pension costs of New York City will amount to a staggering $10 billion — up from $1.4 billion when Mike Bloomberg’s first year as mayor.

Rhode Island: State Pension Fund Loses Money for Second Consecutive Year
Total assets shrunk more than 5 percent during the last fiscal year, officials said.

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