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Four Ways to Modernize State Sales Taxes

July 9, 2013

Outdated sales taxes are keeping states from fully competing in a 21st century economy.  As they emerge from the recession, many states are recognizing the urgent need to invest in highly competitive education systems, modern transportation networks, and a range of other innovative public initiatives that will form a strong foundation for future economic growth.  But states won’t be...

North Carolina’s Obscene Attack on Jobless Benefits

July 1, 2013

North Carolina, with one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates at 8.8 percent, imposed cuts in unemployment benefits today that are truly breathtaking:

  • Jobless workers can now receive only 19 weeks of benefits — less than half what any other state offers, even states like North Dakota where the economy is much stronger (see map).  The previous limit,
  • ...

Why Smart States Are Raising Revenues, in One Graph

May 30, 2013


Five years after the start of the Great Recession, state revenues remain 5 percent below pre-recession levels, after adjusting for inflation, even as the number of people needing state services has grown.  So, it’s not surprising that more than a dozen states have enacted or...

The Deep Hole in Higher Ed Funding

May 28, 2013

“Many state governments have begun to boost higher-education budgets,” the Wall Street Journal reports today.  That’s welcome news, but as the striking chart below (from our recent report) shows, those increases follow several...

Minnesota’s Tax Plan a Recipe for Future Growth

May 21, 2013

As states finalize their budgets for the next fiscal year, Minnesota stands out for making smart changes to its tax system that will position the state for future economic growth.  The legislature passed a tax plan last night that — after years of spending cuts —...

Brownback’s Claims Wilt Under Scrutiny

April 11, 2013

In delivering the Republican Party’s weekly address on Saturday, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback made the rosy claim that states can cut taxes deeply without hurting their schools and other investments in the future, and he used his state as an example.  But the governor’s...

Some (Relatively) Good News in Today’s Jobs Report

April 5, 2013

Today’s jobs report suggests that state and local public job losses may be leveling out, a more hopeful picture than last month.  States and localities gained a modest 7,000 jobs in March and have cut 28,000 jobs over the last 12 months, a much...

The Ryan Budget’s Huge Cost Shift to States

March 27, 2013

Federal support for services that states and localities provide — schools, health care, clean water, and law enforcement, for example — would fall precipitously under the House-passed budget from Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, our new report explains.  These cuts would come on top of the deep cuts in federal...

Big Cuts in State Income Taxes Aren’t a Ticket to Stronger Growth

March 21, 2013

A number of states, including Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin, are considering deep cuts in personal income taxes to spur economic growth. But both recent history and empirical studies suggest that this approach doesn’t work particularly well, as our new report explains.


State Jobs Picture Darker Than We Thought

March 8, 2013

States’ and localities’ ability to provide public services has been damaged even more deeply in recent years than experts had thought, today’s jobs report indicates — and federal funding cuts are making it even harder for states to recover.

States and localities lost another 10,000 jobs in February, with three-quarters of the job...