The Williams Report
Alabama: Alabama’s general fund ended the year with $34 million more dollars than expected, but in the eyes of many politicians it is as good as spent.
Alaska: Alaska continues to struggle with deficit spending, at the expense of the Permanent Fund. Governor Bill Walker believes that his payroll tax will shore up the state’s finances.
Arizona: Arizona’s revenue comes in $62 million dollars lower than anticipated. Some suspect the lower number of auditors is to blame.
Colorado: Governor John Hickenlooper aims to increase Colorado’s rainy day fund while the economy is still growing.
Connecticut: Governor Dan Malloy signs a bipartisan state budget, 123 days late while striking out a provision which aimed to collect more Medicaid funding from the federal government.
Delaware: Governor John Carney, in recognition of the out-of-control spending growth of state healthcare, signed a resolution aiming to reign in healthcare spending. DHSS secretary Dr. Walker stated, “We can’t grow faster than the state’s economy any longer in healthcare.”
Florida: Governor Rick Scott proposes a budget increase of 2.8 percent, “historic investments in education, transportation, and Florida’s environment.” $180 million in tax and fee reductions proposed.
Florida: Governor Rick Scott proposes a Constitutional amendment to require a supermajority to raise taxes and fees.
Florida: Florida faces a fiscal challenge in the wake of hurricane Irma. The Governor’s office Budget Director, Cynthia Kelly, estimates that the state will have to set aside $127 million dollars to cover recovery costs.
Idaho: Idaho may face a fiscal crisis in the coming year due to weak tax returns, first-quarter revenue came in $8.3 million dollars short.
Illinois: Despite the largest tax increase in state history, Illinois is already in a $1.7 billion deficit.
Indiana: Indiana’s revenue misses the mark by 3 percent due to lower than expected corporate income tax returns.
Iowa: Iowa downgrades revenue estimates by $130 million dollars, joining the national trend of slower-than-expected growth.
Kentucky: Kentucky aims to make mid-year cuts in response to a revenue shortfall.
Louisiana: Temporary tax hikes often become permanent as spending continues. In Louisiana, $1 billion of temporary taxes are set to expire and trigger a budget battle.
Maine: Ballot-approved Medicaid expansion in Maine draws criticism from Moody’s. The credit agency expressed concern that a future decline in federal matching funds could throw the state into a fiscal crisis.
Maryland: New deficit projections are smaller than previously estimated but still significant.
Massachusetts: The house and senate have come to a budget agreement for fiscal year 2017.
Michigan: The legislature passed a $63 million dollar supplemental budget, which includes funds initially vetoed by Governor Rick Snyder.
Minnesota: State Supreme Court upheld Governor Mark Dayton’s line-item veto of legislature funding, noting the legislature has funds to continue operating into 2018. The question of whether governor unconstitutionally coerced legislature by threatening to withhold remains unresolved.
Mississippi: Mississippi joins the national trend with a $1.5 billion dollar deficit projection.
Montana: Montana legislators reach a budget deal with spending cuts and no tax increases.
Nebraska: Nebraska estimates a $195 million dollar deficit for the next fiscal year.
New Mexico: In New Mexico, projected Medicaid spending rises $50 million faster than expected.
New York: Income tax receipts lag behind expectations, setting New York on a path toward deficit and budget battles.
Ohio: Medicaid expansion continues to prove more expensive than initially thought. In Ohio, additional funds have been authorized with more authorizations projected in the future.
Oklahoma: In Oklahoma, Republicans staved off a tax bill which included a $1.50 tax on cigarettes, $0.06 increased tax on gas and diesel, new taxation on low-point beer, plus a 4% gross production tax (‘GPT’) on big oil and gas wells. However, Governor Fallin vetoed an appropriations bill following this tax increase defeat and has called for another special session to consider tax increase once again.
Oregon: Oregon voters will be able to overturn new taxes intended to stop the growing cost of Medicaid at the ballot box.
Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania’s budget compromise faces a $200 million dollar lawsuit from one of the non-profits established by the state. The organization argues that the state does not have the right to appropriate their reserves.
Rhode Island: Rhode Island is on track to spend $29 million more on social services than initially budgeted.
Tennessee: Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam warns state agencies to brace for cuts in spite of strong economic indicators. New revenue will likely be directed into pensions, Medicaid, and public education.
Vermont: Deficit projections worsen for Vermont, growing to an estimated $45 billion shortfall.
Virginia: In Virginia, K-12 costs are expected to rise nearly $500 million dollars over two years, due in large part to a 2 percent raise for most education staff.
Washington: Washington still has not passed their capital budget.
West Virginia: For the first time in three years, West Virginia will not have to cut their budget mid-fiscal year due in large part to stronger economic growth.
Wisconsin: Wisconsin experiences its largest budget surplus since 2000, $112 million.
Wyoming: Stronger than expected oil sector performance eases the projected budget deficit.
California: Reality settles in as California is forced to cut core services in order to fund their pension obligations.
Colorado: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper pushes for state employees to contribute more to their retirement fund.
Connecticut: Connecticut teachers will have to contribute 1 percentage point more of their incomes toward their pensions, but contribution levels remain below the national average.
Florida: The Florida Retirement System aims to recoup losses from investing in Valeant, a pharmaceutical company accused of fraud.
Georgia: State contributions to Georgia’s Teacher Retirement System are outpacing Georgia’s economy and thus crowding out key services.
Illinois: Between 2015 and 2016, Illinois’ public pension system, one of the worst in the country, continued to deteriorate, losing 1.5 percent funded ratio.
Iowa: Identity thieves stole more than 100 Iowa public employee pension payments.
Kentucky: Gov. Matt Bevin pushes forward on pension reform.
Maine: Maine residents voted to increase the amortization period for their state pension system from 10 to 20 years for investment losses.
Maryland: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan moves to cut taxes, starting with an income tax exemption for military pensions.
Minnesota: By Pension & Investment’s metrics, Minnesota experienced the largest decline in funded ratio between 2015 and 2016.
Nevada: Nevada reduces its assumed rate of return for pension investments, although it remains 3 points above the private sector average.
New Mexico: Even after double-digit returns, New Mexico’s Public Employee Retirement System lags behind target funded ratio.
New York: New York’s pension fund executive, Navnoor Kang, plead guilty to fraud.
Ohio: “The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System board of trustees on Wednesday voted 7-2 to set the COLA at 2.25 percent or inflation, whichever is lower. Currently, retirees receive a 3 percent uncompounded COLA.”
Oregon: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown directs a pension panel to explore all pension reform options that do not anger special interest groups.
Rhode Island: Rhode Island’s State Employee Retirement Fund experiences a higher rate of return due to a change in investment strategy.
Texas: TAPERS study finds that using a more realistic discount rate “mathematically, could have moved pension systems in undesirable directions.” Which is to say, accurately estimating Texas’ pension liability reveals a deeper hole than they currently acknowledge.
Wisconsin: The Milwaukee County pension system makes $2.7 to $3.3 million dollar error in disbursements.