Budget & Taxes

SD to Finally Begin Collecting Remote Sales Taxes | 09-14-2018

Nearly three months after winning approval from the U.S. Supreme Court to collect sales taxes from out-of-state sellers that do substantial business in the state, South Dakota will finally start doing so in November. Despite the favorable SCOTUS...

Many States Ready to Weather Next ‘Rainy Day’ | 09-14-2018

A slight majority of states are better prepared for a recession than they were when the last one hit. Over the past seven years, the median state rainy day fund balance has risen from 1.9 percent of fund expenditures to 5.8 percent, topping the pre-recession...

Boom in Energy States May be Helping Drive National Economy | 09-14-2018

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, America’s GDP grew by 4.2 percent between the first quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of this year, the highest quarterly rate since 2014. And an energy boom, fueled by higher oil and gas prices...

Budgets in Brief - September 17 2018 | 09-14-2018

SPORTS BETTING OFF TO GOOD START IN MS Gamblers bet $9.8 million dollars on sporting events at state-regulated gambling halls in MISSISSIPPI in the first 34 days of legalized sports wagering in the state. Mississippi is one of four states - the others...

Other Options for States on SALT Cap | 09-07-2018

After the state and local tax (SALT) deduction was capped at $10,000 as part of the federal tax overhaul last December, high-tax states immediately began looking for ways for their residents to avoid a big bump in their federal tax burdens. Connecticut...

‘Lockbox’ Measures Little Help With Long-Term Transportation Funding | 09-07-2018

In November Connecticut voters will consider the Connecticut Transportation Revenue Lockbox Amendment, which would bar lawmakers from using the state’s transportation fund for non-transportation-related purposes. If the ballot measure is approved...

Budgets in Brief - September 10 2018 | 09-07-2018

STATES AWARDED MILLIONS IN ACA LAWSUIT A federal court in TEXAS ruled that the federal government improperly charged several states millions of dollars in state Medicaid fees that provide funding for the Affordable Care Act. Under the terms of the...

CA Failing to Spend Millionaires’ Tax Dollars on Mental Health | 08-31-2018

In 2004 California voters approved Proposition 63, imposing a tax on residents with annual earnings of $1 million or more to help counties provide services for the mentally ill. Nearly 15 years later, a huge sum of the money generated by the Mental Health...

States Sitting on Budget Surpluses | 08-31-2018

Thanks to an expanding national economy, many state governments are flush with cash. Virginia ended its 2018 fiscal year on June 30 with a $551 million budget surplus. Ohio ended last fiscal year with a $657 billion budget surplus. And California is projecting...

Budgets in Brief - September 3 2018 | 08-31-2018

ND EXPECTED TO TAKE $4.9M HIT FROM FEDERAL TAX REFORM As a result of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, NORTH DAKOTA will take in $4.9 million less in state income taxes in the two-year budget cycle that ends June 30, 2019, according to analysis by...

CA Property Tax Battle Shaping Up for 2020 | 08-17-2018

In 1978 California voters approved Proposition 13, which, among other things, capped property taxes at 1 percent of market value and limited property tax increases to 2 percent per year. The changes to the state’s tax system were dramatic, and they’ve...

WI Trying New Bridge Replacement Program | 08-17-2018

For years, a lack of state funding has forced delays of bridge replacement projects in Wisconsin. But the state’s Department of Transportation, or WisDOT, has launched a new program to address that problem. Under the program, called “Replace...

Budgets in Brief - August 20 2018 | 08-17-2018

SPORTS BETTING OFF AND RUNNING IN NJ Three casinos and two racetracks allowing sports betting in NEW JERSEY took in $40.6 million in such wagering in July, the first full month it has been legal. Since the state initially began allowing sports gambling...

Push for Supermajority Tax Requirement in FL May Not Curb Taxes | 08-03-2018

In March, Florida lawmakers approved a proposed constitutional amendment for the state’s November ballot that would require a two-thirds majority in each chamber of the Legislature to enact new taxes or fees, or hikes of existing ones. As the election...

‘Sin Taxes’ Unreliable Revenue Source for States | 08-03-2018

Since 2000, nearly every state has significantly raised taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products, according to data compiled by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids . Recent years have also seen a steady stream of casino openings in states around the...

Budgets in Brief - August 6 2018 | 08-03-2018

ONLINE SALES TAX PLAN FAILS IN NH In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair , allowing states to collect sales taxes from online sellers located out-of-state, the NEW HAMPSHIRE Senate, meeting in special session...

Blue States Sue Trump Administration Over SALT Limit | 07-20-2018

Four mostly Democrat-governed, northeastern states - Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey and New York - are suing the Trump administration over the $10,000 cap on the federal tax deduction for state and local taxes included in the federal tax overhaul enacted...

PA Casinos Swarm for Interactive Gaming Licenses | 07-20-2018

Nine of Pennsylvania’s 13 casinos applied for iGaming licenses from the state’s Gaming Control Board this month. Those licenses, authorized by the gaming law passed by the state last year, will allow casinos to offer three interactive gaming...

Budgets in Brief - July 23 2018 | 07-20-2018

CO TO EXCEED TABOR REVENUE CAP IN COMING YEARS Despite the passage of a bill last year ( SB 267 ) exempting a state hospital fee from the revenue cap imposed by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) initiative approved by voters in 1992, COLORADO...

Some State, Local Bond Issuers Going ‘Green’ | 07-13-2018

A growing number of states and municipalities are going “green” with their bond sales. Developed about a decade ago to allow environmentally conscious investors to identify investments aligned with that priority, green bonds have become a...

Pharma Sues to Block NY Opioid Fee | 07-13-2018

The Healthcare Distribution Alliance, a national trade group that represents national, regional and specialty drug distributors, has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block New York’s new $100 million annual surcharge on opioid manufacturers and...

Budgets in Brief - July 16 2018 | 07-13-2018

TRUCKING INDUSTRY SUES RI OVER NEW TOLL SYSTEM The American Trucking Association and three companies - MASSACHUSETTS -based, convenience-store chain Cumberland Farms; MASSACHUSETTS -based cargo carrier M&M Transport Services; and NEW JERSEY -based...

SCOTUS Ruling Against Public Unions May Not Lower States’ Labor Costs | 07-06-2018

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that public-sector workers who aren’t union members don’t have to contribute to unions’ collective bargaining efforts. The 5-4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME will likely further erode union membership...

KY Cuts Medicaid Benefits After Work Requirement Blocked | 07-06-2018

In January Kentucky became the first state to receive federal approval to impose a work requirement for Medicaid . But last month a federal judge blocked that plan, called Kentucky HEALTH. The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services...

Budgets in Brief - July 9 2018 | 07-06-2018

U.S. HOUSE AND SENATE PASS FARM BILLS The U.S. Senate passed an $867 billion farm bill last month, a week after the House passed its own version. The two chambers will now have until Sept. 30 to resolve the points of contention between the two bills...

Questions Remain After SCOTUS Online Sales Tax Ruling | 06-29-2018

On June 21 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc. that online retailers can be required to collect sales taxes in states where they don’t have a physical presence. The 5-4 decision reversed the court’s 1992 ruling in...

Budgets in Brief - July 2 2018 | 06-29-2018

GAS TAX REPEAL INITIATIVE ON CA BALLOT An initiative to repeal the gas tax hike and new vehicle registration fees approved by CALIFORNIA’s Democrat-controlled Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown (D) last year to pay for road and highway repairs...

Seattle to Repeal Recently Approved ‘Head Tax’ | 06-15-2018

Last month Seattle, Washington’s City Council unanimously approved a tax on the city’s largest employers to help address its homelessness problem. The Seattle area has the third-largest homeless population in the country, and the city spent...

New Jersey Moves Ahead With Sports Betting | 06-15-2018

New Jersey Gov. Philip Murphy (D) signed a bill last Monday ( AB 4111 ) providing for the regulation and taxation of sports betting in the state. The legislation brought an end to a years-long battle to help the state’s struggling casinos that led...

Budgets in Brief - June 18 2018 | 06-15-2018

MANY STATES SHORT ON UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FUNDS: Twenty-eight states don’t have enough money in their unemployment insurance trust funds to get through the next economic downturn, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Labor . Eleven...

UT Sales Tax Revenue Eroding | 06-08-2018

Over the past 45 years, taxable sales as a proportion of consumer services have declined more in Utah than in nearly any other state, according to a new report from the Utah Foundation. The state actually had the same amount of per-capita sales tax revenue...

IL Gov Achieves Budget Milestone | 06-08-2018

For the first time since taking office three years ago, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) approved a full state budget. Joined at a signing ceremony by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, the governor said the $38.5 billion spending plan was the result...

Budgets in Brief - June 11 2018 | 06-08-2018

LA BOOST TAX BREAK FOR WORKING POOR: LOUISIANA lawmakers approved legislation expanding a tax break for the state’s working poor, after members of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus withheld support for a renewal of the state tax until...

IRS Warns States Against Dodging SALT Deduction | 06-01-2018

After Congress imposed a $10,000 limit on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction with the federal tax overhaul it passed last year, high-tax states like California and New York began strategizing ways for their taxpaying residents to get around the...

CA Pot Sales Lagging Predictions | 06-01-2018

California is on pace to take in $1.9 billion in revenue from medical and recreational marijuana sales in 2018, according to a recent projection from the cannabis industry analytics firm New Frontier Data. While that sum is substantial, it’s only...

Budgets in Brief - June 4 2018 | 06-01-2018

HI ECONOMY HEATING UP: HAWAII’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism revised its projection for visitor spending this year up to 8.6 percent, nearly double its previous estimate of 4.5 percent. The big increase is due to record...

Supreme Court Okays Sports Betting | 05-18-2018

In a landmark decision last week, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a quarter-century-old law barring states from legalizing wagering on professional and amateur sports. New Jersey argued that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA...

Battle Over Tax Hikes in OK | 05-18-2018

In March, as an uprising over teacher pay and classroom funding was spreading across the country, the Oklahoma Legislature passed and Gov. Mary Fallin (R) signed a package of tax hikes on cigarettes, energy production and motor fuel ( HB 1010 b ) to help...

Budgets in Brief - May 21 2018 | 05-18-2018

CA GOV PROPOSES LAST STATE BUDGET: CALIFORNIA Gov. Jerry Brown (D) unveiled the final budget of his tenure, a plan calling for $199.3 billion in total spending and projecting an $8.8 billion surplus, $7.6 billion of which would be deposited into two...

State Pot Revenues Surging But Still Relatively Insignificant | 05-11-2018

Between 2014 and 2017, tax revenues from the sale of marijuana shot up about 400 percent in Washington. In Colorado they surged about 900 percent. But the $314 million and $223 million in marijuana tax revenues, respectively, in the two states that were...

States See Year-End Tax Revenue Bump | 05-11-2018

State and local tax collections increased by 9.4 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively, in the final quarter of 2017, roughly three times the average quarterly growth rate for the last year, according to a report by the Rockefeller Institute of Government...

Budgets in Brief - May 14 2018 | 05-11-2018

CA ECONOMY NOW WORLD’S 5TH LARGEST CALIFORNIA’s economy has surpassed that of the United Kingdom to become the world’s fifth-largest, according to data released this month by the U.S. Department of Commerce. California’s 2017...

Drug Industry Pushing Back on Opioid Taxes | 05-04-2018

With America’s deadly opioid epidemic continuing to spread , state lawmakers are trying out a new strategy to combat it: taxing the manufacturers and distributors of the drugs, which include frequently prescribed painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin...

Cities’ Love Affair With Sports Stadiums Over | 05-04-2018

In the two decades from 1991 to 2010, over 100 new stadiums opened across the country. Most of them were financed at least in part with public money. The boom was fueled by demand from sports teams and their fans for a more elevated spectator experience...

Budgets in Brief - May 7 2018 | 05-04-2018

NJ SUPREME COURT BLOCKS STATE FUNDING FOR CHURCHES The NEW JERSEY Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the state Constitution expressly prohibits the use of public money for the benefit of churches, invalidating Morris County’s practice of giving...

Supreme Court Divided on Internet Sales Taxes | 04-20-2018

Last week the Supreme Court began deliberating South Dakota v. Wayfair , a closely watched case concerning whether states should be allowed to tax sales to in-state customers by out-of-state businesses, such as internet retailers. The case is a...

KY Broadband Internet Project Threatening State’s Economy | 04-20-2018

In 2015 Kentucky began a public-private project to extend high-speed internet across the state, the first such effort in the nation. But that project, Kentucky Wired, which was initially projected to be completed by late 2018, has run into delays due...

Budgets in Brief - April 23 2018 | 04-20-2018

TN HOUSE PUNISHES MEMPHIS FOR REMOVING CONFEDERATE STATUES: The TENNESSEE House voted last week to strip $250,000 earmarked for the planning of bicentennial celebrations in Memphis next year from the state’s fiscal 2018-19 budget. That action...

States Look to Reinsurance Pools to Curb Rising Healthcare Costs: | 04-13-2018

Not long ago Minnesota’s health insurance exchange, MNsure, was in critical condition. Premiums were skyrocketing and health insurance companies were fleeing the market. But last year the state’s Legislature approved $542 million in funding...

DC Looking to Pare Back Federal Estate Tax Break | 04-13-2018

The federal tax overhaul pushed through Congress by the Republican majority in December doubled the exemption threshold for the estate tax levied on property and other assets transferred from deceased individuals to their heirs - earning it the epithet...