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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.

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...

Higher-Than-Expected Revenues Offer Lessons for States

June 13, 2013

In many states, recent tax collections are higher than last year, exceeding the states’ own projections.  The higher-than-expected revenues are welcome — but states should proceed cautiously as they consider what to do with the new funds, as we explain in a new paper.

A closer look into the tax spurt...

Texas Model Isn’t All That It Seems

June 11, 2013

Texas Governor Rick Perry heads to New York this weekend to try to attract businesses by presenting Texas as a prosperous, business-friendly state.  To be sure, the number of people and jobs in Texas has grown in recent decades; groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council have cited it as a model for...

Swapping State Income Taxes for Bigger Sales Taxes Would Make Tax Systems Even Less Fair

April 25, 2013

4-25-13sfp.jpgMy recent post explaining that there are far better ways to address state tax volatility than replacing income taxes with larger sales taxes noted that such a swap would tilt state tax systems even more against low-income families.  This two-part graphic...

Looking for Common Ground in the State Income Tax Debate

April 22, 2013

Josh Barro of Bloomberg News wrote a thoughtful commentary on our recent report on ways to address income tax volatility.  While we differ with some of his conclusions, we’re encouraged that he agrees that states shouldn’t...

Five Strategies to Smooth Out the Ups and Downs of State Tax Dollars

April 18, 2013

State revenues plummet in recessions as struggling households and businesses pay less in taxes, and it occurs just when states can least afford the loss (see chart).  Some states, including Louisiana, Nebraska, and North Carolina, have recently considered replacing state...

State Pension Plans on the Rebound

March 11, 2013

State-run pension plans for teachers, police and other state and local workers have made important progress toward restored financial health without breaking state budgets, according to a new study by one of the premier research organizations in this field.

That suggests that the...

Why Replacing State Income Taxes with Bigger Sales Taxes Doesn’t Make Sense

January 22, 2013

In an alarming trend, governors in Louisiana, Nebraska, and North Carolina have proposed eliminating their state’s...

How States Can Prepare for the Next Rainy Day

January 15, 2013

States entered the Great Recession of 2007-2009 with their biggest budget reserves in history, but those reserves filled only a modest share of the huge state budget gaps that the recession generated, in part because many states’ “rainy day” funds are poorly designed.  Now is the time to fix those flaws, as our...