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States Continue to Feel Recession’s Impact

As a new fiscal year begins, the latest state budget estimates continue to show that states’ ability to fund services remains hobbled by slow economic growth.  The budget gaps that states have had to close for fiscal year 2013, the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2012, total $55 billion in 31 states.  That amount is smaller than in past years, but still very large by historical standards.   States’ actions to close those gaps, in turn, are further delaying the nation’s economic recovery.

The budget gaps result principally from weak tax collections.  The Great Recession that started in 2007 caused the largest collapse in state revenues on record.  Since bottoming out in 2010, revenues have begun to grow again but are still far from fully recovered.  As of the first quarter of 2012, state revenues remained 5.5 percent below pre-recession levels, and are not growing fast enough to recover fully soon.

Meanwhile, states’ education and health care obligations continue to grow.  States expect to educate 540,000 more K-12 students and 2.5 million more public college and university students in the upcoming school year than in 2007-08.[1] And some 4.8 million more people are projected to be eligible for subsidized health insurance through Medicaid in 2012 than were enrolled in 2008, as employers have cancelled their coverage and people have lost jobs and wages.[2]

Consequently, even though the revenue outlook is trending upward, states have addressed large budget shortfalls by historical standards as they considered budgets for 2013.  The vast majority of these shortfalls have been closed through spending cuts and other measures in order to meet balanced-budget requirements.  As of publication all but five states have enacted their budgets, and those five will do so soon. To the extent these shortfalls are being closed with spending cuts, they are occurring on top of past years’ deep cuts in critical public services like education, health care, and human services. 

The additional cuts mean that state budgets will continue to be a drag on the national economy, threatening hundreds of thousands of private- and public-sector jobs, reducing the job creation that otherwise would be expected to occur.  Potential strategies for lessening the impact of deep spending cuts include more use of state reserve funds in states that have reserves, more revenue through tax-law changes, and a greater role for the federal government.

Our survey of state fiscal conditions shows that:

States continue to face a major fiscal challenge.  Thirty-one states projected (and in most cases now have closed) budget gaps totaling $55 billion for fiscal year 2013.  (See Figure 1.)  These shortfalls were all the more daunting because states’ options for addressing them were fewer and more difficult than in recent years.  Temporary aid to states enacted in early 2009 as part of the federal Recovery Act was enormously helpful in allowing states to avert some of the most harmful potential budget cuts in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 fiscal years.  But the federal government allowed that aid to largely expire at the end of fiscal year 2011, leading to some of the deepest cuts to state services since the start of the recession.  Far from providing additional assistance to states, the federal government is now moving ahead with spending cuts that will very likely make states’ fiscal situation even worse.     

State finances are recovering, but slowly.  The shortfall totals for fiscal year 2013 are smaller than the totals from the last few years.  But they remain large by historical standards, as the economy remains weak and unemployment is still high. (Note that even if economic improvement accelerates, state fiscal recovery tends to lag recovery in the broader economy.)

The shortfalls that states have projected for fiscal year 2013 are in addition to the more than $540 billion in shortfalls that states have closed over the past four years.

State Budget Shortfalls in 2012 and 2013

States already have addressed extraordinarily large shortfalls as they developed and implemented spending plans for fiscal years 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.  Shortfalls are the extent to which states’ revenues fall short of the cost of providing services.  Every state except Vermont has some sort of balanced-budget law.  So the shortfalls for 2009 through 2012 — which totaled more than $540 billion combined — have already been closed through a combination of spending cuts, withdrawals from reserves, revenue increases, and use of federal stimulus dollars.  The substantial shortfalls projected for FY2013 have also been largely closed.

Figure 2 compares the size and duration of the shortfalls that resulted from the recession during the first decade of the 2000s to shortfalls reported to date following the onset of the latest recession.  In the early 2000s, as in the early 1990s and early 1980s, state fiscal problems lasted for several years after the recession ended.  The same has proven to be the case this time. The most recent recession was more severe — deeper and longer — than the previous one. State fiscal problems also have proven to be worse and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

States’ fiscal conditions are improving along with the broader economy.  But states are coming out of a very deep hole.  Figure 3 illustrates the magnitude of the problem.   State revenues have begun to rebound.  State tax intake grew 8.3 percent in the 12-month period ending in June 2011 — the 2011 fiscal year for most states.  This encouraging growth offers a glimmer of hope that states are beginning to climb out of the fiscal hole caused by the recession.  Unfortunately, that hole was so deep that even if revenues continue to grow at last year’s rate — which is highly unlikely, as explained below — it would take seven years to get them back on a normal track. 

In other words, revenues probably won’t come close to what states need to restore the programs that they cut during the recession unless states raise taxes, at least temporarily, or receive additional federal aid while the economy slowly recovers.  As noted below, additional federal aid is unlikely.

Figure 3 shows how much states would be collecting if revenues had not dropped sharply due to the recession but instead had continued to grow at their historical rate of 5 percent.  (The 5 percent rate is based on actual collections between 1980 and 2008, with adjustments for projected inflation and GDP growth.)  It also shows that, at the 2011 rate of 8.3 percent, revenues wouldn’t get back on a normal track until 2019. 

State tax collections typically grow faster than normal after a recession as they recover from a reduced base.  But states haven’t seen sustained growth at an 8.3 percent level since the 1960s.  Already, revenue growth for 2012 has slowed compared to 2011.  Preliminary figures show growth of about 4 percent for the most recent quarter. 

Beyond simply coming out of a deep hole, states face major obstacles that will slow their fiscal recovery.  One is the shifting role of the federal government.  It allowed emergency aid to states to largely expire at the end of fiscal year 2011, leaving states with fewer options to address their still substantial budget shortfalls in fiscal year 2012 and beyond.  Moreover, the federal government has been moving ahead with spending cuts that will very likely reduce ongoing federal funding for state and local governments and make state fiscal conditions even worse.

Another major obstacle to recovery is sluggish economic growth.  Unemployment remains above 8 percent, and many economists expect it to stay at high levels throughout 2012 and beyond.  Continued slow job growth will restrain the rise in state tax receipts.  This is especially true for the sales tax.  High unemployment and economic uncertainty, combined with households’ diminished wealth due to fallen property values, will continue to depress consumption, keeping sales tax receipts at low levels.  If, as in past recessions, the incomes of the wealthy recover faster than those of low- and middle- income individuals and families, this would mitigate somewhat the effect of a sluggish job market on tax receipts, especially in states with progressive income taxes.  Beyond depressing state revenue collections, the weak economy increases demand for Medicaid and other essential services that states provide.  These factors suggest that state budget gaps will continue to be a problem for states for some time to come.   

Estimates from the states, although incomplete, are consistent with this outlook.

Thirty-one states have addressed or are addressing shortfalls totaling $55 billion for FY2013, the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2012 (See Table 1).[3]   These totals may be down somewhat from the daunting budget gaps of the last several years, but they are still very large by historical standards, especially four years after the recession ended. 

There are factors that could make it particularly difficult for states to fully recover from the current fiscal situation.  For example, housing markets have been slow to fully recover; their decline has depressed consumption and sales tax revenue as people refrain from buying furniture, appliances, construction materials and the like.  The weakness in the housing market has also depressed property tax revenue, which largely funds schools and local governments.  Property tax collections were 3.5 percent lower in the 12-month period ending in December 2011 than in the previous 12 months.  This places a strain on local governments’ budgets and makes it more likely that they will look to states to help them sustain funding for local services like education and police and fire protection.  Of course, an unexpected acceleration in the economic recovery could speed the pace of state fiscal recovery.   

Some states initially were not affected by the economic downturn, but the number has dwindled over time.  Resource-rich states — such as New Mexico, Alaska and Montana — saw revenue growth in the beginning of the recession as a result of high oil prices.  Later, however, the decline in oil prices affected revenues in these states.  The economies of a handful of other states have so far been less affected by the national economic problems.  Only two states, North Dakota and Montana, have not reported budget shortfalls in any of these years.  One other state — Alaska—faced shortfalls in fiscal year 2010 but has not projected gaps for subsequent years. 

Table 1:
States That Have Addressed Or Are Addressing FY2013 Gaps
  FY13 Budget Shortfall Closed Before Budget Adoption (States with 11-13 Budgets) Current FY13 Gap Projected Total Shortfall Amount Shortfall as Percent of FY13 Budget
Alabama 0 $271 million $271 million 4.0%
California* 0 $15.0 billion $15.0 billion 16.2%
Colorado 0 $148 million $148 million 2.0%
Connecticut a $2.7 billion $373 $3.1 billion 16.0%
District of Columbia 0 $172 million $172 million 2.6%
Florida 0 $1 billion $1 billion 4.1%
Georgia* 0 $300 million $300 million 1.6%
Hawaii a $500 million 0 $500 million 8.6%
Illinois* 0 $1.8 billion $1.8 billion 5.5%
Kentucky 0 $371 million $371 million 3.9%
Louisiana 0 $1.2 billion $1.2 billion 14.3%
Maine a $369 million $85 million $454 million 15.4%
Maryland 0 $1.1 billion $1.1 billion 7.0%
Massachusetts 0 $1.3 billion $1.3 billion 3.8%
Minnesota a $1.9 billion 0 $1.9 billion 11.2%
Mississippi 0 DK DK na
Missouri 0 $800 million $800 million 10.0%
Nebraska a $347 million 0 $347 million 9.8%
Nevada* a $1.2 billion 0 $1.2 billion 36.2%
New Hampshire a $250 million 0 $250 million 19.9%
New Jersey* 0 $506 million $506 million 1.6%
New York 0 $2.0 billion $2.0 billion 3.4%
North Carolina a $2.0 billion $288 million $2.3 billion 11.5%
Ohio* a $3.0 billion 0 $3.0 billion 10.3%
Oregon a $1.7 billion 0 $1.7 billion 24.3%
Pennsylvania 0 $540 million $540 million 2.0%
Texas* a $9.0 billion 0 $9.0 billion 24.2%
Vermont 0 $51 million $51 million 3.9%
Virginia 0 $145 million $145 million 0.8%
Washington* a $2.5 billion $641 million $3.1 billion 19.6%
Wisconsin a $1.6 billion 0 $1.6 billion 10.8%
States Total $27.0 billion $28.0 billion $55.0 billion 9.5%

States in bold have already adopted fiscal year 2013 budgets as of June 22, 2012. These states have, for the most part, closed the shortfalls listed in this table.(a) State has two-year budget ending in fiscal year 2013.

"DK" indicates that a shortfall is projected but magnitude is not yet reported.

*California's shortfall includes a $6.9 billion gap carried forward from FY12. Oregons and Ohios shortfalls are one half of the states total projected shortfalls for the 2011-2013 biennium. Georgia's gap is a mid-year FY2013 shortfall. Illinois's shortfall includes the estimated state share of the states unfunded Medicaid liability, which totals $1.4 billion. It assumes the continuation of current policies and does not incorporate the changes the governor proposed in his executive budget. It does not include the backlog of previous years General Fund Liabilities. Estimates of Ohios two-year shortfall range from $6 to $8 billion. Nevada's shortfall is the midpoint of several estimates. New Jersey's shortfall is the average of the estimates reported by the Office of Legislation Services and the Treasury Department. Texas underfunded the states Medicaid program when it enacted its FY12-13 biennial budget, leaving a roughly $4 billion budget hole that will need to be filled in FY13. Washington's shortfall total assumes that three-fourths of the states $855 million mid-biennium shortfall will be closed in FY13.

The Consequences of Shortfalls

In states facing budget gaps, the consequences are severe in many cases — for residents as well as the economy.  To date, budget difficulties have led at least 46 states to reduce services for their residents, including some of their most vulnerable families and individuals.[4]  More than 30 states have raised taxes to at least some degree, in some cases quite significantly.

If revenues remain depressed, as is expected in many states, additional spending and service cuts are likely.  Indeed, a number of states have made substantial cuts to balance their budgets for fiscal year 2013.  While data are not yet available that would show the mix of state actions to resolve their budget gaps for 2013, the data through 2012 show that states have enacted more and more spending cuts every year since 2008.  Federal aid and state tax increases have played diminishing roles in addressing the gaps, as the emergency federal aid ended and the elections of 2010 changed the political leadership in a number of states.[5]  

Spending cuts are problematic during an economic downturn because they reduce overall demand and can make the downturn deeper.  When states cut spending, they lay off employees, cancel contracts with vendors, eliminate or lower payments to businesses and nonprofit organizations that provide direct services, and cut benefit payments to individuals.  In all of these circumstances, the companies and organizations that would have received government payments have less money to spend on salaries and supplies, and individuals who would have received salaries or benefits have less money for consumption.  This directly removes demand from the economy. 

Tax increases also remove demand from the economy by reducing the amount of money people have to spend.  However, to the extent these increases are on upper-income residents, that effect is minimized.  This is because these residents tend to save a larger share of their income, and thus much of the money generated by a tax increase on upper income residents comes from savings and so does not diminish economic activity.  At the state level, a balanced approach to closing deficits — raising taxes along with enacting budget cuts — is needed to close state budget gaps in order to maintain important services while minimizing harmful effects on the economy.

Ultimately, the actions needed to address state budget shortfalls place a considerable number of jobs at risk.

The roughly $55 billion shortfall that states have faced for fiscal year 2013 equals about 0.36 percent of GDP.  Assuming that economic activity declines by one dollar for every dollar that states cut spending or raise taxes, and based on a rule of thumb that a one percentage point loss of GDP costs the economy 1 million jobs, the state shortfalls projected to date could prevent the creation of 360,000 public- and private-sector jobs next year.  

The Role of the Federal Government

Federal assistance lessened the extent to which states needed to take actions that further harmed the economy.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), enacted in February 2009, included substantial assistance for states.  The amount in ARRA to help states maintain current activities was about $135 billion to $140 billion over a roughly 2½-year period — or between 30 percent and 40 percent of projected state shortfalls for fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011.  Most of this money was in the form of increased Medicaid funding and a “State Fiscal Stabilization Fund.”  (There were also other streams of funding in the Recovery Act flowing through states to local governments or individuals, but these will not address state budget shortfalls.)  This money reduced the extent of state spending cuts and state tax and fee increases. 

In addition, H.R. 1586 — the August 2010 jobs bill — extended enhanced Medicaid funding for six months, through June 2011, and added $10 billion to the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund.  Even with this extension, federal assistance largely ended before state budget gaps had fully abated.  The Medicaid funds expired in June 2011, the end of the 2011 fiscal year in most states,[6] and states had drawn down most of their State Fiscal Stabilization Fund allocations by then as well.  So even though significant budget gaps remained in 2012, there was little federal money available to close them.  Partially as a result, states’ final 2012 budgets contained some of the deepest spending cuts since the start of the recession.

One way to avert these kinds of cuts, as well as additional tax increases, would have been for the federal government to reduce state budget gaps by extending the Medicaid funds for as long as state fiscal conditions are expected to be problematic.  But far from extending this aid, federal policymakers are moving ahead with plans to cut ongoing federal funding for states and localities, thereby making state fiscal conditions even worse.  The federal government has already cut non-defense discretionary spending by nine percent in real terms since 2010.  Discretionary spending caps established in the federal debt limit deal this past summer will result in an additional six percent cut by the end of the next decade.  The additional cut by the end of the next decade would grow to 11 percent if sequestration — the automatic, across-the-board cuts also established in the debt limit deal — is allowed to take effect.    

Fully one-third of non-defense discretionary spending flows through state and local governments in the form of funding for education, health care, human services, law enforcement, infrastructure, and other services that states and localities administer.  Large cuts in federal funding to states and localities would worsen state budget problems, deepen the size of cuts in spending, increase state taxes and fees, and thus slow economic recovery even further than is already likely to occur.

Table 2
Total FY2012 Budget Gaps
  FY2012 Shortfall Closed When Budget Adopted FY2012 Mid-Year Shortfall FY2012 Total Shortfall as Percent of FY12 Budget
Alabama $979 million $188 million $1.2 billion 15.9%
Arizona $1.5 billion $0 $1.5 billion 18.2%
California $23 billion $930 million $23.9 billion 27.8%
Colorado $450 million $0 $450 million 6.3%
Connecticut $2.9 billion $285 million $3.2 billion 17.1%
District of Columbia $322 million $0 $322 million 5.0%
Florida $3.7 billion $0 $3.7 billion 15.8%
Georgia $1.3 billion $0 $1.3 billion 7.6%
Hawaii $540 million $0 $540 million 9.6%
Idaho $92 million $0 $92 million 3.6%
Illinois $5 billion $1 billion $6.4 billion 18.5%
Iowa $149 million $0 $149 million 2.5%
Kansas $492 million $0 $492 million 8.1%
Kentucky $780 million $190 million $970 million 10.5%
Louisiana $1.6 billion $471 million $2.1 billion 25.1%
Maine $422 million $121 million $504 million 16.6%
Maryland $1.4 billion $0.0 $1.4 billion 9.5%
Massachusetts $1.8 billion $0 $1.8 billion 5.5%
Michigan $767 million $0 $767 million 3.5%
Minnesota $3.8 billion $0 $3.8 billion 22.4%
Mississippi $634 million $0 $634 million 13.7%
Missouri $704 million $0.0 $704 million 8.8%
Nebraska $166 million $0 $166 million 4.8%
Nevada $1.2 billion $0.0 $1.2 billion 37.0%
New Hampshire $250 million $0 $250 million 20.0%
New Jersey $10 billion $550 million $11.0 billion 37.5%
New Mexico $450 million $0.0 $450 million 8.3%
New York $10.0 billion $350 million $10.4 billion 18.2%
North Carolina $2 billion $0 $2.4 billion 12.2%
Ohio $3.0 billion $0 $3.0 billion 10.8%
Oklahoma $500 million $0 $500 million 9.0%
Oregon $1.7 billion $0.0 $1.7 billion 24.0%
Pennsylvania $3.7 billion $0 $3.7 billion 13.5%
Rhode Island $219 million $0 $219 million 6.9%
South Carolina $630 million $0 $630 million 11.1%
South Dakota $127 million $0 $127 million 11.0%
Tennessee DK $0.0 NA NA
Texas $9.0 billion $0 $9.0 billion 20.4%
Utah $390 million $0 $390 million 8.2%
Vermont $176 million $0 $176 million 14.2%
Virginia $2.0 billion $0 $2.0 billion 12.2%
Washington $2.5 billion $214 million $2.7 billion 16.9%
Wisconsin $1.6 billion $0 $1.6 billion 11.3%
States Total $102.9 billion $4.4 billion $107.3 billion 15.5%
Notes: California’s shortfall includes an $8.2 billion shortfall carried forward from FY2011. California’s mid-year shortfall is the amount of the “trigger” cuts that the state is making in fiscal year 2012.  Illinois mid-year shortfall total reflects the anticipated shortfall between spending and revenues at the end of the fiscal year.  It includes the estimated state share of the state’s unfunded Medicaid liability, which totals $750 million.  It does not include a backlog of previous years’ General fund liabilities of more than $5 billion. Kentucky and Virginia have two-year budgets.  They closed their FY2012 shortfalls when they enacted their budgets for the FY2011-FY2012 biennium.  Oregon and Ohio’s shortfalls are one half of the states’ total projected shortfalls for the 2011-2013 biennium.  Estimates of Ohio’s two-year shortfall range from $6 to $8 billion.  Nevada’s shortfall is the midpoint of several estimates.  "DK" indicates that a shortfall is projected but magnitude is not yet reported. Washington state’s mid-year shortfall total assumes that one-fourth of the state’s $855 million mid-biennium shortfall will be closed in fiscal year 2012. 
Table 3:
Total FY2011 Budget Gaps
  FY2011 Shortfall
Closed When
Budget Adopted*
FY2011 Total Total Shortfall as
Percent of FY2011
General Fund
Alabama $586 million $275 million $861 million 12.3%
Arizona $3.1 billion $211 million $3.3 billion 39.0%
California* $17.9 billion* See Note $17.9 billion* 20.7%
Colorado $1.5 billion $257 billion $1.8 billion 25.1%
Connecticut $5.1 billion $0 $5.1 billion 28.8%
Delaware $377 million $0 $377 million 11.4%
District of Columbia $104 million $175 million $279 million 4.5%
Florida $4.7 billion $0 $4.7 billion 19.5%
Georgia $4.2 billion $0 $4.2 billion 25.4%
Hawaii $594 million $220 million $814 million 16.2%
Idaho $84 million $0 $84 million 3.5%
Illinois $13.5 billion $0 $13.5 billion 40.2%
Indiana $1.3 billion $0 $1.3 billion 9.4%
Iowa $1.1 billion $0 $1.1 billion 20.3%
Kansas $510 million $60 million $570 million 10.1%
Kentucky $780 million $0 $780 million 9.1%
Louisiana $1.0 billion $108 million $1.1 billion 14.3%
Maine $940 million $0 $940 million 34.7%
Maryland $2.0 billion $0 $2.0 billion 15.3%
Massachusetts $2.7 billion $0 $2.7 billion 8.6%
Michigan $2.0 billion* $0 $2.0 billion* 9.3%
Minnesota $4.0 billion $0 $4.0 billion 25.0%
Mississippi $716 million $0 $716 million 15.9%
Missouri $730 million $0 $730 million 9.4%
Nebraska $329 million $0 $329 million 9.7%
Nevada $1.8 billion $0 $1.8 billion 54.5%
New Hampshire $365 million $0 $365 million 27.2%
New Jersey $10.7 billion $0 $10.7 billion 38.2%
New Mexico $333 million $159 million $492 million 9.1%
New York $8.5 billion* $0 $8.5 billion* 15.9%
North Carolina $5.8 billion $0 $5.8 billion 30.6%
Ohio $3.0 billion $0 $3.0 billion 11.0%
Oklahoma $725 million $0 $725 million 13.7%
Oregon* See Table 5 $378 million See Table 3 See Table 3
Pennsylvania $4.1 billion $0 $4.1 billion 16.2%
Rhode Island $395 million $0 $395 million 13.4%
South Carolina $1.3 billion $0 $1.3 billion 26.1%
South Dakota $102 million $0 $102 million 8.8%
Tennessee $1.0 billion $0 $1.0 billion 9.4%
Texas $4.6 billion $4.3 billion $8.9 billion 20.9%
Utah $700 million $0 $700 million 14.7%
Vermont $338 million $0 $338 million 31.3%
Virginia $1.3 billion $0 $1.3 billion 8.5%
Washington $3.5 billion 1.1 billion $4.6 billion 29.6%
West Virginia $134 million $0 $134 million 3.6%
Wisconsin $3.4 billion $137 million $3.5 billion 24.9%
Wyoming $147 million $0 $147 million 10.3%
States Total $122.6 billion $7.4 billion $130.0 billion 19.9%
Note: California's shortfall does not include $1.2 billion in proposed reserve replenishment. Oregon has a two-year budget. See Table 3 for additional gap information.
Table 4:
Total FY2010 Budget Gaps
  FY2010 Shortfall
Closed When
Budget Adopted
Mid-Year Gap
FY2010 Total Total Shortfall as
Percent of FY2010
General Fund
Alabama $1.2 billion $400 million $1.6 billion 23.7%
Alaska $1.3 billion 0 $1.3 billion 28.9%
Arizona $3.2 billion $1.9 billion $5.1 billion 65.0%
Arkansas $146 million $247 million $395 million 9.1%
California* $45.5 billion Yes* $45.5 billion 52.8%
Colorado $1.0 billion $600 million $1.6 billion 23.8%
Connecticut $4.2 billion $513 million $4.7 billion 27.0%
Delaware $557 million 0 $557 million 18.2%
District of Columbia $650 million $167 million $817 million 13.0%
Florida $5.9 billion $147 million $6.0 billion 28.5%
Georgia $3.1 billion $1.4 billion $4.5 billion 28.8%
Hawaii $682 million $533 million $1.2 billion 25.2%
Idaho $411 million $151 million $562 million 22.4%
Illinois $9.3 billion $5.0 billion $14.3 billion 43.7%
Indiana $1.1 billion $309 million $1.4 billion 10.6%
Iowa $779 million $533 million $1.3 billion 22.6%
Kansas $1.4 billion $459 million $1.8 billion 33.9%
Kentucky 0 $1.2 billion $1.2 billion 14.5%
Louisiana $1.8 billion $777 million $2.5 billion 27.8%
Maine $640 million $209 million $849 million 28.0%
Maryland $1.9 billion $936 million $2.8 billion 20.3%
Massachusetts $5.0 billion $600 million $5.6 billion 20.4%
Michigan $2.8 billion $454 million $3.3 billion 15.8%
Minnesota $3.2 billion $209 million $3.4 billion 22.7%
Mississippi $480 million $437 million $917 million 19.3%
Missouri $780 million $931 million $1.7 billion 22.7%
Nebraska $150 million $155 million $305 million 9.2%
Nevada $1.2 billion $384 million $1.5 billion 46.8%
New Hampshire $250 million $180 million $430 million 28.6%
New Jersey $8.8 billion $2.2 billion $11 billion 40.0%
New Mexico $345 million $650 million $995 million 18.2%
New York $17.9 billion $3.2 billion $21.0 billion 38.8%
North Carolina $4.6 billion $391 million $5.0 billion 26.2%
Ohio $3.3 billion $296 million $3.6 billion 13.9%
Oklahoma $777 million $864 million $1.6 billion 28.4%
Oregon* $4.2 billion 0 $4.2 billion 32.4%
Pennsylvania $4.8 billion $1.1 billion $5.9 billion 23.6%
Rhode Island $590 million $400 million $990 million 34.8%
South Carolina $725 million $439 million $1.2 billion 21.5%
South Dakota $32 million 15.8 million $48 million 4.3%
Tennessee $1.0 billion $170 million $1.2 billion 12.1%
Texas $3.5 billion 0 $3.5 billion 10.7%
Utah $721 million $279 million $1.0 billion 22.1%
Vermont $278 million $28 million $306 million 28.3%
Virginia $1.8 billion $1.8 billion $3.6 billion 24.1%
Washington* $3.4 billion $1.4 billion $4.8 billion 23.2%
West Virginia $184 million $120 million $304 million 8.2%
Wisconsin $3.2 billion 0 $3.2 billion 23.7%
Wyoming 0 $32 million $32 million 1.8%
Total $158.5 billion $32.3 billion $190.8 billion 29.0%
Notes: * California's mid-year gap is included in the total shown for FY2011 in Table 1. Oregon has a two-year budget. For Oregon, the size of the combined shortfall before budget adoption for FY2010 and FY11 is shown here.
Table 5:
Total FY2009 Budget Gaps
  FY2009 Shortfall Closed When Budget Adopted Additional Mid-Year Gap FY2009 Total Total Shortfall as Percent of FY2009
General Fund
Alabama   $1.1 billion $1.1 billion 12.7%
Alaska   $360 million $360 million 6.8%
Arizona1 $1.9 billion $1.8 billion $3.7 billion 36.8%
Arkansas $107 million   $107 million 2.4%
California $22.2 billion $14.9 billion $37.1 billion 36.7%
Colorado   $1.1 billion $1.1 billion 14.2%
Connecticut $150 million $2.5 billion $2.7 billion 15.5%
Delaware $217 million $226 million $443 million 12.2%
District of Columbia $96 million $583 million $679 million 10.8%
Florida $3.4 billion $2.3 billion $5.7 billion 22.2%
Georgia1 $245 million $2.2 billion $2.4 billion 11.5%
Hawaii   $417 million $417 million 7.3%
Idaho   $452 million $452 million 15.3%
Illinois $1.8 billion $2.5 billion $4.3 billion 15.1%
Indiana   $1.2 billion $1.2 billion 9.1%
Iowa $350 million $134 million $484 million 7.6%
Kansas   $186 million $186 million 2.9%
Kentucky $266 million $456 million $722 million 7.8%
Louisiana   $341 million $341 million 3.7%
Maine $124 million $140 million $265 million 8.6%
Maryland $808 million $691 million $1.5 billion 10.0%
Massachusetts $1.2 billion $4.0 billion $5.2 billion 18.5%
Michigan $472 million $1.5 billion $2.0 billion 8.5%
Minnesota $935 million $654 million $ 1.6 billion 9.2%
Mississippi1 $90 million $363 million $453 million 8.9%
Missouri   $542 million $542 million 6.0%
Nevada $898 million $561 million $1.6 billion 19.9%
New Hampshire $200 million $50 million $250 million 8.0%
New Jersey1 $2.5 billion $3.6 billion $6.1 billion 18.8%
New Mexico   $454 million $454 million 7.5%
New York $4.9 billion $2.5 billion $7.4 billion 13.2%
North Carolina   $3.2 billion $3.2 billion 14.9%
Ohio1 $733 million $1.9 billion $2.6 billion 9.4%
Oklahoma $114 million   $114 million 1.7%
Oregon   $442 million $442 million 6.6%
Pennsylvania   $3.2 billion $3.2 billion 11.3%
Rhode Island $430 million $442 million $872 million 26.6%
South Carolina $250 million $871 million $1.1 billion 16.3%
South Dakota   $27 million $27 million 2.2%
Tennessee1 $468 million $1.0 billion $1.5 billion 13.4%
Utah   $620 million $620 million 10.4%
Vermont $59 million $82 million $141 million 11.6%
Virginia $1.2 billion $1.1 billion $2.3 billion 13.8%
Washington   $1.3 billion $1.3 billion 8.5%
Wisconsin $652 million $1.0 billion $1.7 billion 11.7%
Wyoming   $119 million $119 million 6.8%
TOTAL $46.8 billion $63.1 billion $109.9 billion 15.2%
1 These states provided a range of estimates for their FY2009 gaps; this table shows only the low end of the estimates. For more detail see 29 States Faced Total Budget Shortfall of At Least $48 billion in 2009, available at Note: In most cases these shortfalls have already been addressed.
Table 6:
Source of Gap Estimates
State Source
Alabama Governor's Office/ Arise Policy Project
Alaska Legislative Fiscal Office/Legislative Finance Division Overview of proposed budget
Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee, Financial Advisory Committee
Arkansas Governor's proposed budget, Dept of Finance and Administration/ Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
California Governor's budget, Legislative Analysts Office, Dept of Finance, Controller
Colorado Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute/CO Legislative Council
Connecticut CT Voices for Children analysis of Office of Fiscal Analysis data/ Comptroller/ Office of Policy and Management
Delaware Governor's proposed budget
District of Columbia Chief Financial Officer/ Mayor’s Budget for Fiscal year 2013/ DC Fiscal Policy Institute
Florida Revenue Estimating Conference/Office of Economic and Demographic Research
Georgia State budget, Georgia State University/ FY11: Georgia Budget and Policy Institute
Hawaii Council on Revenues forecast/Governor's Office/ Department of Budget and Finance
Idaho Legislative summary of adopted budget/Governor's budget office/Press Reports
Illinois State budget/Voices for Illinois Children analysis
Indiana State Budget Committee/Governor's Budget Proposal
Iowa Fiscal Services Division/Revenue Estimating Conference
Kansas State Budget and Legislative Research Department
Kentucky Consensus Forecasting Group/Governor's office/Kentucky Center for Economic Policy
Louisiana Revenue Estimating Conference/Governor's budget/Louisiana Budget Project
Maine Revenue Forecasting Committee/Office of Fiscal and Program Review/Bureau of Budget/Maine Center for Economic Policy
Maryland Department of Legislative Services/ State Board of Rev Estimates
Massachusetts MA Budget & Policy Center
Michigan Consensus Revenue Forecast, Senate Fiscal Agency, Michigan League for Human Services
Minnesota Management and Budget forecast
Missouri Governor's budget office and Missouri Budget Project
Mississippi Governor's office
Montana CBPP analysis of Leg. Fiscal Div. Legislative Budget Analysis: 2013 Biennium
Nebraska Governor's office/Tax Rate Review Committee/General Funds Financial Status
Nevada Division of Budget and Planning/Board of Examiners and Jan Economic Forum FY12 Press Reports
New Hampshire Budget Director/Press reports of revenue shortfalls, court case/New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute
New Jersey Governor’s office/ Office of Legislative Services—Latest FY2012 estimate is from July, 2010/ Dept. of the Treasury
New Mexico Consensus Revenue Estimate/NM Voices for Children/Leg Finance Committee
New York Division of Budget/ Fiscal Policy Institute
North Carolina North Carolina Fiscal Research Division/ FY12, FY13 NC Budget and Tax Center
Ohio Office of Budget and Management/ FY12 and FY13 Press Reports
Oklahoma State Tax Commission/OK Policy Institute/ FY12 Fiscal Services Division
Oregon Jt. Committee on Ways & Means/September Revenue Forecast/ FY12 OR Reset Report/OR Center for Public Policy
Pennsylvania Governor’s office/ Budget Director/Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center/ Independent Fiscal Office
Rhode Island Governor’s budget/The Economic Progress Institute
South Carolina State Budget and Control Board and revised revenue projections
South Dakota Governor's proposed budget/South Dakota Budget and Policy Project
Tennessee Press reports of State Funding Board meeting
Texas Center on Public Policy Priorities analysis of Legislative Budget Board, Comptroller and HHS Commission data/News Accounts of Estimates from Texas Elected Officials
Utah Governor's proposed budget, Legislative Fiscal Analyst, press reports/Voices for Utah Children
Vermont State budget office /Public Assets Institute analysis of Joint Fiscal Office data
Virginia House Appropriations/Governor's office/Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis
Washington Governor's Budget/WA Budget and Policy Center/FY12 OFM Six Year Outlook/Economic and Revenue Forecast Council
West Virginia Department of Revenue/Governor's budget/FY12 Budget Director (press)/West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy
Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau/Wisconsin Budget Project
Wyoming Consensus Revenue Estimating Group
For source information for the original shortfall estimates, see29 States Faced Total Budget Shortfall of At Least $48 Billion in 2009, available at

End Notes

[1] U.S. Department of Education, Condition of Education 2012, tables A-3-1, A-10-1, and A-11-1.

[2] CBPP calculations based on data from the Congressional Budget Office and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

[3] All but five states have now completed their budgets.  The remaining states are close to completion.

[4] For more detailed information, see “An Update on State Budget Cuts,”

[5] For information on how states have closed budget shortfalls since 2008 see “Out of Balance: Cuts in Services Have Been States’ Primary Response to Budget Gaps, Harming the Nation’s Economy,”

[6] Most states operate on a July-June fiscal year. The exceptions are New York (April-March), Texas (September-August), and Alabama and Michigan (both October-September).