Economics and Finance
Wyoming's legalization of a state lottery in March 2013 made it the 44th state with such a lottery. While Hawaii and Utah continue to ban all forms of gambling, the other states without lotteries (Alabama, Alaska, Mississippi, and Nevada) profit from casinos and other forms of gambling, but have yet to cash in on lottery revenues which totaled more than $19 billion last year.
Falling gas prices caused U.S. consumer prices to drop at the fastest rate in four years.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last Thursday the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased 0.4 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis. Over the last 12 months, consumer prices rose 1.1 percent before seasonal adjustment. That is well below the Fed's 2 percent inflation goal. The U.S. central bank targets a different gauge of prices that tends to run cooler than the Labor Department's index.
Stateline has two interesting articles out related to the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. The first article, Not So Fast: Tax Revenue Estimates from Legal Marijuana May Not Materialize, takes a look at the projected economic impacts of marijuana legalization, especially in regards to tax policy. Potential tax revenue was one of the selling points of legalization, but it is difficult to estimate the true economic impact of legalized marijuana, in part because marijuana is currently a part of the cash-only economy. “Nobody has any idea (about revenue)," Jeffrey Miron, Harvard economist and analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute, told Stateline. He further hints that the only way to estimate the full impact of marijuana legalization may in fact be through legalization in all 50 states.
State personal income continued to increase in 2012, growing by 3.5 percent over 2011. That growth rate was slower, however, than in 2011, when income grew by 5.2 percent over 2010. Personal income grew the most in North Dakota in 2012—by an impressive 12.4 percent—while personal income fell slightly in South Dakota—the only state to have negative growth over the period—falling by 0.2 percent.
Real median household income fell between 2010 and 2011 by 1.5 percent—the second consecutive annual drop—landing at $50,054 in 2011. Nevada saw the biggest drop from 2010 to 2011 in real median household income—10.9 percent—while Oklahoma saw the biggest year over year increase—9.0 percent. Median household income in 2011 ranged from a low of $39,856 in Kentucky to a high of $68,876 in Maryland. From 2010 to 2011, 28 states experienced a decrease in real median household income while 21 states saw an increase and one state—North Carolina—saw no year-over-year change.