August 20, 2006


Most States Have Budget Surpluses (Lois Romano, 8/19/06, Washington Post)

For first time since Sept. 11, 2001, the vast majority of states reported saving an average of 10 percent of their budgets, one of the highest percentages of unspent money in decades. The $57 billion in unexpected revenue has afforded states an opportunity to find all sorts of creative ways to spend and save their cash, according to a report released this week by the National Conference of State Legislators. [...]

Nationwide, state lawmakers have been struggling with budgets since the 2001 attacks triggered an economic downturn. After several years of fast-declining revenues, states were conservatively planning based on scaled-back expenditures. Even as revenues started to climb, states were reluctant to count on the money and based budgets on lesser income. As a result, all but five states -- Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan and Wisconsin -- reported surpluses.

The study noted that revenues had been projected to grow by only 2.7 percent for last budget year, but they ended up growing by nearly 7.7 percent. Because state budget drafts forecast 18 months in advance, it is often difficult to accurately predict actual revenue.

In New Mexico, the state was bestowed with unexpected revenues from oil and gas leases, and in Connecticut capital gains taxes proved more generous than expected.

"We saw it coming, but what we didn't see coming was the bounce that we got through capital gains revenues," said Susan Shimelman, director of Connecticut's Office of Fiscal Analysis. "So it wasn't budgeting. It's sort of a largess."

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 20, 2006 1:05 PM

YUP, IL's in the hole and we're going to get a tax increase.....

Posted by: Sandy P at August 20, 2006 1:24 PM

Congress and Bush should use this as an opportunity to push more items down to the state level and reduce the federal role.

To Sandy's point all 5 states still in the hole have Dem governors. LA might have an excuse due to Katrina but then again maybe not with all the federal spending for hurrican cleanup.

Posted by: AWW at August 20, 2006 1:39 PM

The country is definitely going the wrong direction. We must change course to put the Dems in power.

Posted by: ic at August 20, 2006 2:13 PM


In Texas, we spend spend spend!

Posted by: kevin whited at August 20, 2006 6:11 PM

Well, since Wyoming can't really be trusted with a surplus ($2 Billion) that's bigger than its actual budget, It can loan the money to us Coloradans. After all, we're their shopping district and their service provider.

Posted by: Brad S at August 20, 2006 9:16 PM

Every dime needs to sent to the bankrupt public pensions systems, along with reforms banning public "defined benefit" plans.

Posted by: Bruno at August 21, 2006 10:39 AM