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Budget Process Improvements Can Help States Make Better Decisions

April 26, 2016

Virginia’s recently enacted 2017 budget creates a unit within the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to track the cost and effectiveness of tax incentives designed to promote economic development.  That’s a positive step:  our 2014 report ...


It’s Time to Invest in Schools

March 30, 2016

The country is $46 billion a year behind what it should spend on building and repairing K-12 schools to provide healthy and safe modern facilities, a new report from the 21st Century School Fund, the National Council on School Facilities, and the U.S. Green Building Council finds.  This neglect hurts students...

School Repair Needs Are Highest Where Low-Income Families Live

States Can Balance Investments in Infrastructure and Other Priorities

March 9, 2016

Now is an especially good time for states to invest in infrastructure assets that are key to long-term economic growth, but these much-needed investments shouldn’t come at the expense of priorities like schools and health care.  Washington, for example, is doing it right; Mississippi...

Cars in Traffic

Investing in Infrastructure: A Good Strategy for State Economic Growth

February 26, 2016

Some states have cut taxes and offered corporate subsidies in recent years in misguided efforts to boost their economies, even as they neglect overdue and...

Construction Worker

Reinvesting in Infrastructure Would Boost State Economies

February 23, 2016

State and local investment in transportation, public buildings, water treatment systems, and other forms of vital infrastructure has fallen to a 30-year low.  Reversing this decline is key to creating good jobs and promoting full economic recovery — and it’s an especially good time for states to do it, as we explain in a...

State and Local Spending on Infrastructure Is at 30-Year Low

Weaker Unions Could Lead to More Income Inequality in States

January 8, 2016

The Supreme Court will consider a case next week that could have implications for income inequality, which has been growing across the country and in individual states since the 1970s, as we’ve documented here and...

Public Workers in States That Allow Fair Share Fees Are Twice as Likely to Join a Union

Weaker Unions Likely Would Mean Greater Income Inequality

November 19, 2015

November 20, 2015: We’ve updated this post.

The Supreme Court is considering a case that could have implications for income inequality, which has grown across the country and in individual states since the 1970s, as we’ve documented here...

Gavel at Court

Interactive: State Cost Estimates of Legislation

October 22, 2015

State policymakers need accurate information about the cost of spending- and tax-related proposals to make good decisions about them.  Nearly all states produce a cost estimate of bills, typically called a “fiscal note,” but in many states these estimates aren’t very useful, as we explain in a new...

Most States Could Improve their Cost Estimates of Legislation

Interactive: State Budget Planning Tools

October 20, 2015

States routinely put at risk some of the country’s highest priorities ― educating children, maintaining a healthy and trained work force, and caring for the elderly, for example ― by failing to employ proven budget methods that would help them plan farther into the future. A few improvements would make considerably more information available to policymakers and the public for budget debates,...


Long-Range Projections Key to Smart State Decision Making

October 19, 2015

State policymakers need reliable, multi-year information about revenues and program costs to make sound decisions about how best to provide for the high-quality education systems, roads and bridges, and other public investments that build a foundation for strong economic growth.  Three key pieces of data — revenue forecasts, budgets that show the cost of maintaining current services, and cost...