Budget & Taxes

E-Retail Lawsuit Could Lead To State Tax Changes | 05-19-2017

Earlier this year South Dakota passed a law requiring out-of-state sellers with in-state sales over $100,000 or 200 individual transactions per year to collect and remit sales taxes to the state. The law was part of an effort by multiple states - including...

Big Cost For Bail System Overhaul In CA | 05-19-2017

Democrats who control the California Legislature have proposed legislation ( AB 42 and SB 10 ) that would end the practice of having judges set bail amounts based on a schedule of rates for various crimes. Instead, new county pretrial services agencies...

Budgets In Brief - May 22 2017 | 05-19-2017

AK Lawmakers Vote To End Oil Subsidies ALASKA’s Senate has approved a House proposal eliminating cash subsidies for oil companies. But there’s still a wide gap between the two chambers over what to do about subsidies owed but not yet paid...

Soda Tax Fizzles In Santa Fe | 05-12-2017

For the past couple of years, taxes on sodas and other sugary drinks have been on a roll. In November 2014 Berkeley, California became the first city to pass such a tax. And that levy’s dual benefit of raising new revenue while reducing the consumption...

PA Gov Pitches Unusual Plan To Reduce Medicaid Spending | 05-12-2017

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolfe (D) has proposed an unconventional way to reduce Medicaid spending in his state, which could become a necessity if Congress succeeds in repealing the Affordable Care Act: raising the state’s minimum wage. His administration...

Protest In NE Senate Nearly Derails State Budget | 05-12-2017

Last week Nebraska Sens. Steve Erdman (R) and Joni Albrecht (R) proposed amendments to an $8.9 billion budget package under consideration in their chamber and then withdrew them before they could be voted on. Erdman’s amendment would have kept all...

Budgets In Brief - May 15 2017 | 05-12-2017

GA Gov Signs Rural Investment Tax Credit Bill GEORGIA Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed legislation ( SB 133 ) providing $60 million in tax credits for companies that invest in businesses in rural areas. The measure has been both criticized as a handout...

USPS Upsets AK Marijuana Tax Payment System | 05-04-2017

When one of the owners of Rainforest Farms in Juneau, Alaska tried to mail a box of cash to Anchorage last month to make a regular tax payment, the U.S. Postal Service refused to deliver it. Not because of insufficient postage or missing address information...

HI Lawmakers Agree On Rail-Funding Plan | 05-04-2017

Hawaii House and Senate leaders reached a tentative agreement last month on a plan that would increase the state’s hotel tax to help fund Honolulu’s high-speed rail project. Pitched by House conferees on Senate Bill 1183 , the plan would increase...

Tax Cuts Creating Distress In OK | 05-04-2017

A few years ago when Oklahoma’s economy was booming, Republicans who control the state’s government pushed through a permanent reduction in the state’s top income tax rate and slashed the oil production tax rate by 5 percent (from 7...

SC House, Senate Pass Differing Infrastructure Bills | 05-04-2017

After much tinkering with amendments that lasted late into the night, South Carolina’s Republican-led Senate passed an infrastructure funding bill ( HB 3516 ) last month. “The Senate passed a bill tonight that will fix our roads, repair...

Budgets In Brief - May 8 2017 | 05-04-2017

ND LAWMAKERS ROLL BACK SPENDING NORTH DAKOTA’s Republican-led Legislative Assembly passed a budget for the 2017-19 biennium last month that reduces general fund spending to 2011-13 budget levels. The $4.3 billion in general fund spending included...

PA Eyeing Online Gambling | 04-28-2017

Facing a $3 billion budget shortfall through next summer, Pennsylvania, the nation’s second biggest commercial casino state after Nevada, is considering a host of gambling expansion ideas, including becoming the first state to take both its casino...

NM High Court Agrees To Consider Budget Dispute | 04-28-2017

Last month, New Mexico’s Democrat-controlled Legislature approved a $6.1 billion budget slightly boosting spending and increasing several taxes to bolster faltering revenues tied to a downturn in the energy industry and the state’s high unemployment...

NC Senate Proposes $1B In Tax Cuts | 04-28-2017

North Carolina’s Republican-controlled Senate has proposed a tax cut plan ( SB 325 ) that would increase the state’s standard income tax deduction and reduce the individual tax rate from 5.499 percent to 5.35 percent, as well as reduce the...

Budgets In Brief - May 1 2017 | 04-28-2017

AK HOUSE PASSES INCOME TAX ALASKA’s House, run by a coalition of 17 Democrats, three Republicans and two independents, passed a bill ( HB 115 ) that would institute an income tax on the state’s highest earners as part of a plan to address...

NJ Gov Planning More Pension Reform | 04-14-2017

In February New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) unveiled a plan to use revenue from the state’s lottery to bail out its woefully underfunded public pension system. And last week he told reporters he’s been meeting with union leaders to discuss...

AK House Leans On Oil Industry To Resolve Budget Deficit | 04-14-2017

As part of a plan to address their state’s $2.8 billion budget deficit, members of the Alaska House voted 21-19 in favor of a bill ( HB 111 ) last week that would increase oil production taxes and reduce the state subsidy for new oil drilling. ...

Budgets In Brief - April 17 2017 | 04-14-2017

NH HOUSE FAILS TO PASS BUDGET NEW HAMPSHIRE’s Republican-controlled House failed to pass the budget proposed by the chamber’s Finance Committee for the first time since the 1960s, due to limited Democratic support and a “large faction”...

States Resort To Rural Job ‘Schemes’ | 04-07-2017

The same distress over the disappearance of jobs in rural communities that helped drive the successful presidential campaign of Donald Trump is leading some states to turn to a complex economic development approach that hasn’t lived up to its advocates’...

CO Considers Far-Reaching Rural Aid Bill | 04-07-2017

A bill ( SB 267 ) introduced in Colorado last month would allocate $300 million for road projects in rural counties, $400 million for rural school districts and millions of dollars for rural hospitals that serve large numbers of Medicaid participants...

Budgets In Brief - April 10 2017 | 04-07-2017

NY PASSES BUDGET EXTENSION NEW YORK lawmakers approved a budget extension that will keep the state government operating through the next fiscal year as well as provide nearly $1.8 billion for economic development projects favored by Gov. Andrew Cuomo...

GOP Govs Balk at Trump Budget Blueprint | 03-31-2017

The Trump administration’s push for deep cuts to the federal budget is drawing public opposition from some state governors, including Republicans. Of particular concern to the GOP governors are prospective cuts to regional economic development agencies...

States Anticipating Slower Revenue Growth | 03-31-2017

States are projecting income tax revenue growth of 3.6 percent and sales tax growth of 3.1 percent this fiscal year, down from 4 percent and 3.6 percent respectively last fiscal year and well below annual averages prior to the Great Recession, according...

States Delaying Payment of Income Tax Refunds | 03-31-2017

A lot of taxpayers are going to be waiting longer than usual for their state tax refunds this year. At least 21 states, including Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina and Wisconsin, say refunds could be delayed...

Budgets in Brief - April 3 2017 | 03-31-2017

ID PASSES GROCERY TAX REPEAL: The IDAHO Legislature has passed legislation repealing the state’s tax on groceries, effective July 1, 2018. If signed by Gov. C.L. Butch Otter (R), IDAHO would join 37 other states without a grocery tax. (ASSOCIATED...

States Not Waiting On Trump Infrastructure Plan | 03-17-2017

Despite President Trump’s call for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending, at least 15 states, including six governed by Republicans - Arkansas, Indiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah - are considering raising gas taxes or other fees...

Spending Cap On Fast Track In IA Legislature | 03-17-2017

A proposed constitutional amendment that would permanently limit state spending in Iowa was unanimously approved by a Senate subcommittee last week. The bill - SJR 9 , which would limit spending to “the lesser of 99 percent of the adjusted revenue...

CA Lawmakers Propose Tax Exemption For Teachers | 03-17-2017

With baby boomer retirements diminishing the ranks of California teachers, nearly one in three educators in the state leaving the job within the first seven years, and modest starting salaries doing little to attract people to the fill those positions...

Budgets In Brief - March 20 2017 | 03-17-2017

WV SENATE COMMITTEE APPROVES TAX REFORM PLAN WEST VIRGINIA’s Select Senate Committee on Reform approved a bill ( SB 335 ) last week that would replace the state’s current 6-percent sales tax with an 8-percent general consumption tax and...

GA Advances Sales Tax on Uber, Lyft | 03-10-2017

Georgia could soon become the second state, after Rhode Island, to require ride-sharing services to collect sales taxes from passengers. Under a bill ( H 225 ) passed by the state’s House last week, riders of Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing services...

States Vary on Key Measure of Economic Recovery | 03-10-2017

The employment rate for Americans of prime working age - those between the ages of 25 and 54 - which fell to 4.9 percent during the recession, reached an estimated 78.2 percent in January, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Economists consider...

Budgets in Brief - March 13 2017 | 03-10-2017

Fantasy Sports Bill Goes to MS Gov: The MISSISSIPPI Senate passed a bill approved by the House last month ( HB 967 ) that, if signed by Gov. Phil Bryant (R), would impose an 8-percent tax on the revenues of fantasy sports companies like Fan Duel and...

KS Gov Vetoes Income Tax Hike | 03-03-2017

Kansas’ Republican-controlled Senate followed the lead of the state’s Republican-led House last month and approved a major income tax increase, completing a reversal of course from the big tax cuts the GOP-controlled Legislature passed in...

CA Gov Proposes Flood Control Plan | 03-03-2017

In the wake of damage to the main and emergency spillways of California’s Oroville Dam, which prompted the evacuation of 188,000 nearby residents from their homes last month, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has proposed a $437 million flood protection plan...

Philadelphia Soda Tax Exceeds Expectations In First Month | 03-03-2017

Last year, when Philadelphia became the second U.S. city to approve a tax on sodas and other sugared beverages (two years after Berkeley, California became the first), the city’s Department of Revenue estimated the levy would generate $2.3 million...

Budgets In Brief - March 6 2017 | 03-03-2017

Tax Collections From Wealthy Down in CT Estimated quarterly tax payments in January were down 9 percent from last year in CONNECTICUT , with 90 percent of that decline due to lower collections from the state’s wealthiest taxpayers, according...

Conditions Ripe For State Gas Tax Hikes | 02-17-2017

With gas prices at their lowest point in over a decade, gas tax-fueled transportation funding having failed to keep pace with mounting road repair needs and a chaotic post-election period providing a chance to take on controversial issues, there may never...

KS House Approves Income Tax Hike | 02-17-2017

On Thursday (Feb. 16) Kansas’ Republican-led House gave final approval for a major income tax increase, marking a reversal of course from the big tax cuts the GOP-controlled Legislature passed in 2012 and 2013 at the urging of Gov. Sam Brownback...

CT Towns Facing Big Cuts Under Gov’s Proposed Budget | 02-17-2017

As part of a plan to address $3.6 billion in projected budget deficits over the next biennium, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy(D) has proposed shifting a third of teacher pension costs from the state to cities and towns, and restructuring education funding...

Budgets In Brief - February 20 2017 | 02-17-2017

GA Approves Supplemental Budget GEORGIA’s General Assembly has approved a midyear, supplemental spending plan that includes about $27 million to give 20 percent raises to state law enforcement officers and $50 million for a new cybersecurity...

Congress Mulls CA Counter Punch | 02-10-2017

California lawmakers have been exceedingly vocal in their intentions to battle the Trump administration at every turn. But they may soon face off with another foe that comes from closer to home: the Golden State’s own Republican delegation to Congress...

Budgets In Brief - February 13 2017 | 02-10-2017

Edwards Pitches LA Budget Fix LOUISIANA Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) proposed a wide range of fixes aimed at closing the Pelican State’s $304 million budget deficit, including tapping into the state’s rainy day fund. Other proposals include...

States Not Budgeting For Repeal Of Obamacare | 02-03-2017

Last month the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate passed a budget resolution allowing for the repeal of parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And on his first day in office, President Donald Trump signed an executive order providing for the dismantling...

Some States Better Positioned than Others for Fiscal Downturn | 02-03-2017

Twenty-five states ended the 2016 fiscal year with revenue collections that were below projections, and nearly that many were already forecasting shortfalls for the current fiscal year only months after it had begun, according to the National Association...

TX Gov. Blocks Funding to ‘Sanctuary City’ | 02-03-2017

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) blocked $1.5 million in state funding for courts, crime victim services and other programs in Austin, the state’s most liberal city, after the city’s sheriff, Sally Hernandez, a Democrat, announced that jails there...

Budgets In Brief - February 6 2017 | 02-03-2017

Indian Gaming Boosting OK Economy Native American tribes have paid the state of OKLAHOMA over $1 billion in exclusivity fees since 2006, according to a report from the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association. The report also indicated that tribal gaming...

Money Running Out For CA Stem Cell Research Program | 01-20-2017

In 2004 California voters approved Proposition 71 , authorizing the sale of $3 billion in general obligation bonds to support human embryonic and other types of stem cell research. “Research that we do now holds the promise of cures for tomorrow...

Local Govts Turn To Dirt Roads For Savings | 01-20-2017

According to a 2015 report by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, cities and counties in at least 27 states have converted 550 miles of paved roads to dirt roads, either by actively tearing up the pavement and combining it with gravel and...

Moody’s Settles With States, DC Over Role In Financial Crisis | 01-20-2017

Moody’s Corp., the world’s second largest ratings firm, has agreed to pay 21 states and the District of Columbia $426.3 million as part of an $864 million settlement with state and federal authorities over its ratings of mortgage securities...