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Time to Revisit State Tax Breaks for Seniors

November 10, 2010

While states that provide special tax breaks for seniors regardless of their income may appear attractive places to retire, those tax breaks will become significantly more costly over the next few decades as the elderly’s share of the population grows, as my colleague Nick Johnson noted in a recent U.S. News & World Report blog post. Those growing costs will make it harder and harder for these states to maintain high-quality public services, which can have a big impact on quality of life in a state.

State Budgets Looking Up, But from a Deep Revenue Hole, Cont.

October 13, 2010

Yesterday I posted about state budget conditions. Readers may want to know how we calculate state shortfalls. Here are the basics:

State Budgets Looking Up, But from a Deep Revenue Hole

October 12, 2010

State revenues are stabilizing, and many states expect some revenue growth in fiscal year 2011 (which started July 1 in most states) after the record decline of recent years, according to recent Census data. In addition, as states tally up spending and revenues for fiscal year 2010, some are finding that they ended the year in the black. Yet as I noted last week, total state shortfalls for 2012 will be about as big as this year’s. Why do states continue to face huge shortfalls if fiscal conditions are looking up?

Another Tough Budget Year for States — and Next Year Looks No Better

October 7, 2010

With states in the third year of a fiscal crisis sparked by their steepest revenue decline on record, we’ve updated our analysis of state budget shortfalls for the current (2011) and coming (2012) fiscal years. Here are the highlights:

Why Most States Have Rejected a Cuts-Only Approach

August 24, 2010

Today’s Wall Street Journal editorial (“Virginia Is for Surpluses”) trumpets Virginia’s $400 million surplus for fiscal year 2010 and praises Governor McDonnell for closing the state’s large budget shortfall without raising revenues. But both parts of this argument have serious flaws.

Back in the Black — But Not Out of the Woods

July 20, 2010

As states tally up spending and revenues for fiscal year 2010, which ended June 30 in most states, some (such as Virginia and Connecticut) are finding that they ended their year with their budgets in the black. Here’s what those modest “surpluses” mean — and what they don’t.

The Latest on State Budgets

July 16, 2010

Most states started their 2011 fiscal year on July 1, and we’ve updated our analysis of the budget shortfalls — that is, the gaps between revenues and spending — that states closed when adopting their budgets. As the map shows, nearly every state faced a shortfall for 2011; in 18 states, the shortfall exceeded a fifth of the state’s spending.

Estate Tax Reform Must Not Come at States’ Expense

May 20, 2010

As states cut everything from education to health care to address historic budget shortfalls, the last thing they need is for Congress to undercut an important revenue source for many of them. But that’s exactly what would happen if Congress eliminated the federal tax deduction for state-level estate and inheritance tax payments.