Budget & Taxes

State Tax Officials Keeping Eye on Wealthy Former Residents | 03-15-2019

With the first tax season since the federal tax overhaul now in full swing, the $10,000 cap on state and local tax, or SALT, deductions included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may have wealthy Americans in some high-tax states eyeing moves to cheaper locales...

IL Gov Proposes Graduated Income Tax | 03-15-2019

Making good on a campaign promise, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) has proposed a graduated income tax that he says would generate $3.4 billion in revenue for the state while lowering taxes for 97 percent of its residents. “It’s wrong...

Budgets in Brief - March 18 2019 | 03-15-2019

TX SENATE APPROVES $8.4B IN ADDITIONAL SPENDING FOR FY 2019 The TEXAS Senate approved a supplemental FY 2019 appropriation of $8.4 billion for lingering expenses associated with Hurricane Harvey, school safety measures and the teacher retirement system...

Corporate Incentive Recipients Breaking Job Promises | 03-08-2019

Two years ago Amazon announced plans to build a second headquarters in North America and invited cities to vie for the 50,000 jobs that facility would provide. More than 200 cities responded with incentive proposals. But companies don’t always...

Cities, States Taking on Mental Health Funding | 03-08-2019

The Affordable Care Act mandated that insurance companies cover mental health services at parity with medical care. But loopholes in the ACA and other federal laws have let some plans limit or exclude mental health coverage. So state and local governments...

Budgets in Brief - March 11 2019 | 03-08-2019

MN GOV PROPOSES $1.3B IN BORROWING MINNESOTA Gov. Tim Walz (D) has proposed borrowing nearly $1.3 billion to provide more affordable housing, fix buildings on college campuses and repair transportation infrastructure. Although parts of the governor’s...

States To Take Financial Hit From Trump Border Wall Action | 02-22-2019

President Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border could collectively cost states, the District Columbia and two U.S. territories as much as $6 billion in federal military construction and National...

Big Tobacco Companies Shortchanging MN on Settlement Money | 02-22-2019

The makers of several cigarette brands, including Salem and Winston, have stopped paying Minnesota the money they owe it under the 1998 multistate tobacco settlement agreement. That has left the state with an estimated $15 million less per year to spend...

$1B Budget Surplus Not Enough to Help Poor in AZ | 02-22-2019

Four years ago, faced with a $1 billion budget deficit, Arizona’s GOP-controlled Legislature reduced the maximum amount of time residents could receive welfare benefits over their entire lives to 12 months, the shortest duration in the country....

Trump Administration Cuts Off Funding for CA High-Speed Rail | 02-22-2019

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced last week that it was canceling a $929 million grant to California for a high-speed rail project that was supposed to link San Francisco and Los Angeles. The announcement also said the department was...

Budgets in Brief - February 25 2019 | 02-22-2019

CT GOV PROPOSES SODA TAX CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned Lamont (D) unveiled a budget proposal last week calling for a new 1.5 cents per ounce tax on sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks that would generate an estimated $163 million in new revenue next fiscal...

AK Gov Proposes $300M Highway Funding Plan | 02-15-2019

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) has proposed a plan to provide $300 million a year in funding for the state’s roads and highways - which would make it the largest road plan in the state’s history - and about $114 million a year for city and...

Teachers Walk Off Job in Denver | 02-15-2019

For the first time in 25 years, teachers in the Denver Public Schools system have gone on strike. Over 2,500 walked off the job last Monday when an 11th hour effort to hammer out a new contract with better pay fell apart after 15 months of negotiations...

Budgets in Brief - February 18 2019 | 02-15-2019

OH FACING $1B ROAD FUNDING SHORTFALL Jack Marchbanks, head of OHIO’s Department of Transportation, told the state House Finance Committee last week that the department is facing a revenue shortfall of $1 billion a year over the next decade. He...

Marijuana Black Market Big Problem for MA | 02-08-2019

Massachusetts voters legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2016. But over two years later, most pot sales in the state still take place on the black market. The main reason for that is the slow rollout of state-licensed pot shops, with only...

One-Party Control May Not Be Good for State Tax Policy | 02-08-2019

As a result of last year’s elections, Democrats or Republicans hold a trifecta -- control of both legislative chambers and the governor’s office -- in all but 13 states. While Republicans still hold most of those trifectas, 23, Democrats picked...

Budgets in Brief - February 11 2019 | 02-08-2019

UT HOUSE SPEAKER CALLS FOR RECORD TAX CUT UTAH House Speaker Brad Wilson (R) kicked off the state’s 2019 session by calling for a tax cut of at least $225 million. According to the Utah Taxpayers Association, that would be the state’s largest...

FCC Funding Spurs Dispute Between States and Cell Phone Carriers | 01-25-2019

Last year the Federal Communication Commission offered $4.5 billion in funding over the next 10 years to help states provide high-speed mobile broadband service in underserved rural areas. Cell phone carriers informed the FCC that several states...

LA Teachers End Strike | 01-25-2019

Los Angeles teachers ended their walkout and returned to their classrooms last week, after reaching a tentative contract agreement with the district. Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, said there was wide support for the contract...

State Revenues Dip in December | 01-25-2019

Nine of the 10 most populous states with an income tax and available data experienced revenue drops in December. Those declines, due mainly to lower income tax collections, ranged from -3.4 percent in Ohio to -41 percent in California. The drops...

Budgets in Brief - January 28 2019 | 01-25-2019

CT APPROVES BANK LOANS FOR UNPAID FEDERAL WORKERS CONNECTICUT’s Democrat-led General Assembly overwhelmingly approved and Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed legislation providing state-backed, zero-interest loans for federal workers who aren’t...

DOJ Issues Bombshell Opinion on Internet Gambling | 01-18-2019

The U.S. Department of Justice dropped a bombshell on the online gambling industry last week when it announced a legal opinion it issued in November saying the federal Wire Act of 1961 - prohibiting the use of wire communication facilities to conduct...

States Rush to Fill Gaps Left by Federal Shutdown | 01-18-2019

As the partial closure of the federal government continues to drag on, states across the country are stepping up to assist the tens of thousands of their residents impacted by the longest federal shutdown in U.S. history. Brand new Govs. Gavin Newsom...

Budgets in Brief - January 21 2019 | 01-18-2019

BIG TRANSPORTATION FUNDING PROBLEM IN OH OHIO has run out of money for major road projects. A coalition of local governments, chambers of commerce, contractors, engineers and truck drivers called Fix Our Roads Ohio has formed to push for solutions...

Federal Shutdown Impacting States and Cities | 01-11-2019

The partial shutdown of the federal government which began on Dec. 22 is already affecting state and local governments. And that impact could soon grow significantly. According to Governing , mandatory programs that receive federal funding, like...

Recreational Pot Sales Going Up in Smoke in CA | 01-11-2019

In 2016 California voters approved Proposition 64, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, on the promise that the measure would, among other things, generate billions of dollars in tax revenues for the state and curb sales on the black market....

CA Gov Proposes $209B Budget | 01-11-2019

Last week, California’s new governor, Gavin Newsom (D), proposed a $209 billion general fund budget for next fiscal year, a 4-percent increase from the budget for the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30. Continuing the fiscally cautious...

Budgets in Brief - January 14 2019 | 01-11-2019

CA SCRAPS ‘TEXT TAX’ The CALIFORNIA Public Utilities Commission has canceled its plan to begin charging a fee for text messaging on mobile phones. That decision came after the Federal Communications Commission ruled last month that text...

Politics of Sustainable Investing by Public Funds | 12-14-2018

Sustainable, or ESG, investing – choosing investments based on environmental, social and governance considerations – has been around for decades. But such investing has really taken off in recent years. According to global investment research...

Some Shrinking U.S. Cities Thriving | 12-14-2018

Conventional wisdom holds that cities need population growth to be economically healthy. But between 2000 and 2016 per-capita income in Pittsburgh rose 24 percent - well over the national average of 18 percent - while the city’s population shrunk...

Congress Passes $867B Farm Bill | 12-14-2018

Congress has passed and President Trump is expected to sign an $867 billion farm bill that, among other things, will expand subsidies for farmers, provide permanent funding for local farmers markets and legalize hemp. The bill had bipartisan support in...

Budgets in Brief - December 17 2018 | 12-14-2018

WILDFIRE CLEANUP COULD COST CA $3B Clearing away the debris from the 19,000 homes and businesses destroyed by last month’s wildfires could cost CALIFORNIA at least $3 billion, according to state and federal authorities. That sum is more than...

Missouri Among Several States With Sports Betting Bills Already Filed | 12-07-2018

Missouri is among a handful of states that will consider becoming the next to legalize betting on sports, with legislation filed this past week considered among those with strong odds for success. Bills to legalize sports bets have also already...

Iowa Lawmakers May Boost Sales Tax for Outdoors | 12-07-2018

A fraction of a penny sales tax increase in Iowa that would go to environmental and outdoor recreational improvements may get a hearing from lawmakers in the Hawkeye state this year, according to legislative leaders. Iowa voters changed the state...

Budgets in Brief - December 10 2018 | 12-07-2018

CT ON PACE FOR FISCAL YEAR-END SURPLUS Higher-than-forecast income tax receipts leave CONNECTICUT on pace for a nearly $250 million budget surplus, state comptroller Kevin P. Lembo said this week in a regular monthly forecast . Lembo projected the...

Record Spending in States | 11-30-2018

Total spending across all 50 states last fiscal year exceeded $2 trillion, a new high, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers . The record spending was driven largely by a bump in income tax revenues, resulting from last year’s...

ID Cities Look to Charge New Residents for Growth | 11-30-2018

A population explosion in Ada County, Idaho is putting a strain on city services, from roads to parks to fire and police stations. So some cities in the tax-averse region are looking to do what the county’s largest city, Boise, has done before:...

Sports Betting Blows Past $500M Mark in NJ | 11-30-2018

About $260 million was wagered in New Jersey on sporting events in October, bringing the total for the four and a half months sports betting has been legal in the state to $597 million. A spokesman for FanDuel, which handles the sports book at the...

Budgets in Brief - December 3 2018 | 11-30-2018

AK FACING BIG CLIMATE-CHANGE COSTS ALASKA is facing some of the country’s most extreme climate changes, including coastal erosion and road damage, according to the federal climate report released last month. The report estimated that the climate...

Deadly Wildfires Intensify CA Insurance Crisis | 11-16-2018

As of early last week, the numerous wildfires raging in California - including the Camp Fire, the most destructive in the state’s history - had collectively burned over 280,000 acres, destroyed almost 7,000 homes and businesses, forced the evacuation...

Election Sends Mixed Signals for Transportation Funding | 11-16-2018

There were some big wins for transportation funding in this month’s election. The biggest was California voters’ rejection of Proposition 6, a GOP-backed effort to repeal the gas tax enacted by the state’s Democrat-controlled Legislature...

Amazon HQ2 Deal Better for VA Than NY? | 11-16-2018

After a year of deliberating, Amazon finally announced it has selected two locations for its second headquarters: Queens, New York and Arlington, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C. “These two locations will allow us to attract world-class...

Budgets in Brief - November 19 2018 | 11-16-2018

GA GOV PROPOSES HURRICANE RELIEF MEASURES: GEORGIA Gov. Nathan Deal (R) proposed $200 million in income tax credits last week for landowners in the southwestern part of the state who replant trees destroyed by Hurricane Michael last month. The incentive...

Voters Rejected Most Tax Measures on Ballot: | 11-09-2018

Proposed tax increases and restrictions on future tax hikes were on the ballot in several states last week. Most of them failed. Colorado voters rejected both Amendment 73 , which would have increased corporate and personal income taxes to provide...

Tax Hikes May Be on OR’s Legislative Agenda in 2019 | 11-09-2018

On Election Day Oregon voters rejected a proposition ( Measure 104 ) that would have required a three-fifths majority in both chambers of the state’s legislature to approve tax hikes, as well as other policy changes that would increase state revenues...

Budgets in Brief - November 12 2018 | 11-09-2018

GOOD ECONOMIC NEWS GOING INTO ELECTIONS Days before last Tuesday’s vote, the Labor Department reported that the typical worker’s wages went up 3.1 percent in the past year, the biggest increase in nearly a decade. Federal economists also...

OK Ballot Measure Would Mandate Oil Revenue Reinvestment | 11-02-2018

Any time oil prices take a tumble like they did last week, states with oil-reliant economies take a financial hit. Oklahoma is particularly vulnerable to such dips because it’s one of just two of the country’s oil producing states (the other...

Sports Betting ‘Gold Mine’ for NJ: | 11-02-2018

Sports betting has really taken off in New Jersey. Roughly $184 million in bets on sporting events were placed in the state in September, almost twice as much as the $96 million wagered in August. And that brings the total in the first three and a half...

Budgets in Brief - November 5 2018 | 11-02-2018

CO POT SALES BREAK $1B LEVEL EARLIER THAN EVER Combined recreational and medical marijuana sales in COLORADO topped $1 billion in August, the earliest point they’ve reached that level in the four years marijuana has been allowed for recreational...

MO Could Become 2nd State to Ban Sales Taxes on Services | 10-19-2018

Next month Arizona voters will decide whether their state will prohibit the expansion of its already limited sales taxes on services, which are currently levied only on certain software and transportation businesses. In 2016 the Missouri Association...