State Budget and Tax

Improving State Revenue Forecasting: Best Practices for a More Trusted and Reliable Revenue Estimate

Every state estimates how much revenue it will collect in the upcoming fiscal year. A reliable estimate is essential to building a fiscally responsible budget and sets a benchmark for how much funding the state will be able to provide to schools and other public services. Yet some states forecast revenues using faulty processes that leave out key players and lack transparency

Related: Budgeting for the Future: Fiscal Planning Tools Can Show the Way


States Likely Could Not Control Constitutional Convention on Balanced Budget Amendment or Other Issues

A number of states are likely to consider resolutions that call for a convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced federal budget, and possibly to shrink federal authority in other, often unspecified, ways. Proponents of these resolutions claim that 24 of the 34 states required to call a constitutional convention already have passed such resolutions. A convention likely would be extremely contentious and highly politicized, and its results impossible to predict. States would be prudent to avoid these risks and reject resolutions calling for a constitutional convention. States that have already approved such resolutions would be wise to rescind them.

Related:  Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment Poses Serious Risks


A Guide to State Fiscal Policies for a Stronger Economy

Building stronger state economies that create jobs and expand opportunity will require sensible, forward-looking state fiscal policies. States need to invest adequately in education, health care, transportation, and workforce development. To do that, they need to make decisions about how to raise and spend revenues with an eye toward the future.




State and local governments are the main source of funding for K-12 education, public colleges and universities, health care, transportation, public safety, and many other services — including services for low-income and other vulnerable residents.  They finance these services mostly through taxes and fees, primarily income and sales taxes.  (Not every state has an income and sales tax.)  Unlike the federal government, states must balance their budgets on an annual basis.

Policy Basics:
- Policy Basics: The ABCs of State Budgets
- Where Do Our State Tax Dollars Go?
- Property Tax Caps
- Tax Payer Bill of Rights (TABOR)
- State Earned Income Tax Credits

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The Center’s State Fiscal Project works with state officials and state-based nonprofits to develop responsible budget and tax policies that take the needs of low-income families into account.  We provide information and technical assistance on a variety of issues, including strengthening state tax systems, state budget priorities, and making low-income programs more effective.  We also help state nonprofits understand how federal budget and tax decisions affect states and their residents.

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