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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,...

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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...

6 Ways to Improve State Budgeting

June 12, 2015

A new report from The Volcker Alliance, headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, outlines six ways states can write budgets that keep the future more in mind.

It’s timely advice:  as states finally emerge from the aftermath of the Great Recession, they need to address serious...

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Wisconsin Law Would Tilt Playing Field Even More Against Workers

March 4, 2015

My colleague Jared Bernstein recently addressed some of the canards around Wisconsin’s proposed “Right to Work” (RTW) law, which would dilute unions’ bargaining strength by making it harder for them to collect dues from the workers they...

New Jersey Going from Bad to Worse on Budget Practices

October 7, 2014

New Jersey, which already comes up short in budget planning and budget transparency, is falling even further behind.

The state Treasury Department recently stopped publishing monthly comparisons of actual tax collections to projected collections — information that the state’s revenue status reports...

Kansas’ Troubles Highlight Need for “Rainy Day” Reserve Fund

September 24, 2014

Kansas these days offers a host of lessons of what not to do when managing state finances.  We’ve already noted one:  don’t enact unaffordable tax cuts.  Kansas’ massive income tax cuts have left it...

Why More Inequality Means Less State Revenue — And How States Can Respond

September 19, 2014

Growing income inequality in recent decades has slowed state tax collections, a new report from Standard & Poor’s finds, making it harder to fund public...

Five Ways That States Can Produce a More Trusted and Reliable Revenue Estimate

August 7, 2014

Update, September 4: We have updated this post to reflect updates in the related revenue estimating paper.

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...

3 Steps States Can Take to Improve Their Rainy Day Funds Now

April 21, 2014

States can take concrete steps now to improve the structure of their rainy day funds, helping them to more effectively weather the impact of inevitable future downturns, as we explain in our new paper.

States used their rainy day funds to avert over $20 billion in cuts to services, tax increases, or both, in each of the...

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