December 21, 2005


Revenue Is Starting to Burn Holes in States' Pockets: Fiscal Posture Turns Around (T.R. Reid, December 21, 2005, Washington Post)

A $300 million tax refund in Hawaii. A full day of kindergarten for every 5-year-old in Delaware. A light-rail line from Denver's airport to downtown. Cheap health insurance for middle-class families in Illinois. Property tax cuts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. A new tram lift for Wyoming's biggest ski resort.

With legislatures from Augusta to Honolulu due to gather next month to approve spending for fiscal 2007, the states are awash in proposals such as these to take advantage of budget surpluses. After four tough years of tax increases and budget cuts, state governments are cautiously starting to spend again amid climbing tax revenues.

"Revenues improved notably in fiscal 2005, enabling many states to begin restoring funding to programs cut during the previous economic downturn," noted a Fiscal Survey of the States issued yesterday by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers.

When they faced budget shortfalls after the Greenspan slowdown of '00-'01, we were supposed to feel sorry for them and throw federal money their way. Now they're awash in money again and right back to squandering it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 21, 2005 8:02 AM

Many grasshoppers, few ants.

Posted by: John at December 21, 2005 9:52 AM

Ah, but here in my former "Golden State", now the "Red Dye #5 State", we are hopelesly in debt and continue to squander the taxpayer $$$'s.

Posted by: Mike Daley at December 21, 2005 8:37 PM

Denver, and Colorado, do not have a "surplus" to give to build a light-rail line to DIA. It's not a light-rail, either.

The sales-tax increase initiative called "FasTracks" calls for, among other things, commuter rail to DIA. All items are to be built by 2016 (yeah, right).

Posted by: Brad S at December 21, 2005 11:09 PM