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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...

States Are Starting to Save for Another Rainy Day

April 16, 2014

With the budget challenges of the Great Recession and its aftermath still fresh in their minds, state policymakers are considering ways to strengthen their “rainy day funds” — budget reserves they can use when recessions or other unexpected events cause revenues to fall or spending to rise.  But, it’s still premature for most states to act aggressively to refill the funds until their revenues...

New Report Highlights Need for States to Help Address Income Inequality

March 6, 2014

An important new report documents rising inequality in states across the country.  As we outlined in our 2012 analysis of state-by-state income inequality, states can — and should — take certain steps to help alleviate these trends.

A study of IRS data by the Economic...

Plenty of Room for Improvement in State Budget Planning

February 5, 2014

Most states fall short on long-term budget planning (see map below) and would reap concrete benefits by adopting proven, non-partisan fiscal tools, according to our new report.  Oregon is a good example.

When Oregon created a state lottery in 1984, it exempted lottery winnings from the state income tax.  But...

The Best — and Worst — States at Long-Term Budget Planning

February 4, 2014

Connecticut, Maryland, and Tennessee do the best job of factoring long-term issues into their budget decisions, according to our major new report (with state-by-state fact sheets), while New Jersey, Oklahoma, and South Dakota do the worst.
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Not So Fast: Echoing the Call for State Budget Caution

January 27, 2014

We recently explained that policymakers shouldn’t use the arrival of budget surpluses to start cutting taxes.  Now, others also are urging states to use caution before prematurely cutting taxes.

Twenty-three states cut taxes or other revenues in their fiscal year 2014 budgets, according to...

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