State Budgets

The Williams Report

A look at fiscal headlines from statehouses nationwide

State Budgets

National: Initial thoughts on state ballot measures
November 8 brought good news for taxpayers in many states. Voters in California and Maine, however, approved some painful new tax measures.

National: Good tax policy doesn’t need 12 steps
Raising taxes on alcohol does very little to battle addiction or mend budget shortfalls.

Connecticut: State faces projected deficit of $1.3 billion
In Washington State, priority-based budgeting helped close a $2.8 billion shortfall without raising taxes; it could work in Connecticut, too.

Mississippi: Governor’s budget: More for schools but cuts for many agencies
The $5.8 billion budget avoids raising any taxes.

New Jersey: State credit rating downgraded again
The state’s woefully underfunded pension system is largely to blame.

Rhode Island: State on track to finish budget year with $59 million surplus
Revenues significantly outperformed expectations. Various agencies are still overspending by a combined $28 million, according to state budget officer Tom Mullaney.

Virginia: Lawmakers concerned about budget
The commonwealth faces a $1.5 billion shortfall.

West Virginia: House majority leader says mid-year budget cuts seem like “necessary action” from governor
State revenues are $87.4 million below projected estimates.


National: Public pension debt jumps 113% to $5.6 trillion
Stanford University’s U.S. Pension Tracker now pegs state and local pension debt at $5.6 trillion nationwide — in agreement with last month’s report from State Budget Solutions, a project of the ALEC Center for State Fiscal Reform. It is undeniable that states and localities are saddled with massive unfunded liabilities; now it’s time for meaningful reform.

National: States and cities are drowning in pension debts
R Street’s Alan Smith writes that “while there’s a clarion call from every class of political leadership to do something about sea-level trends, one sees only a bare occasional mention about the rising tide of red ink that impacts our future in ways most people will find to be a lot more threatening.”

National: How Trump can stop the pension mess from spreading
States are having a hard enough time managing their own public pensions. Allowing states to operate private retirement plans is “a disaster waiting to happen,” writes the Manhattan Institute’s Steven Malanga.

Arizona: State high court strikes down 2011 pension reform law
The ruling is expected to cost Arizona’s pension system up to $220 million.

Michigan: Lawmakers considering city pension reforms
Municipalities across the state are facing significant unfunded liabilities — and the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System of Michigan (MERS) justifiably wants them to boost contributions.

Nevada: Pension reform must come before tax hike
Spot-on analysis from Robert Fellner, director of transparency research at the Nevada Policy Research Institute.

Texas: The time to fix Texas’s public pensions is now
“Unless Texas takes steps to improve its pension outlook, its citizens could soon be paying much higher taxes, even as they receive fewer public services,” warns Josh B. McGee, chairman of the state’s Pension Review Board.

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