While state revenues are rebounding from the Great Recession, the budget situation in many states is still volatile. States also continue to grapple with devising strategies to enhance the funding position of their public pension plans. Attendees heard fiscal experts describe policy options available to state policymakers to help smooth out the unevenness in state revenue inflows and evaluate efforts to bolster public pension plans.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Government supports state sovereignty over online gaming regulation and opposes further federal regulation.

Stateline Midwest ~ November 2012

Indiana lottery officials announced in October that they were handing over day-to-day operations of sales and marketing to a private contractor.

CSG South

A vital tool for policymakers across the region, Comparative Data Reports (CDRs) offer a snapshot of conditions on a number of issues. Published annually, the CDRs track a multitude of revenue sources, appropriations levels, and performance measures in Southern states, and provide a useful tool to state government officials and staff. CDRs are available for adult correctional systems, comparative revenues and revenue forecasts, education, Medicaid, and transportation.

Stateline Midwest ~ September 2012

PDF of timeline of gambling expansion in Midwest »

The votes were hard to come by, and time was running out on Minnesota legislators trying to find a way to finance a new stadium for the National Football League’s Vikings. In the end, lawmakers turned to what has become a familiar source in state capitols across the Midwest — gaming.

Fiscal conditions began to improve for states in the 2011 fiscal year. State revenue collections grew by 6.4 percent and state general fund spending increased by 4 percent following two consecutive years of declines. Additionally, the number of states making midyear budget cuts dropped from 39 states in fiscal 2010 to 19 states in fiscal 2011. In the 2012 fiscal year, states are expected to continue their recent improvement with both state revenues and state spending projected to grow. Fiscal conditions, however, remain below pre-recession levels in many states even with the recent increases. States will have to continue to make difficult decisions in the 2013 fiscal year and beyond as they contend with increased spending demands, slowly recovering revenue collections, uncertainty regarding future federal funding and long-term liabilities including pensions and retiree health care costs.

Preliminary data compiled by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government shows revenue growth for states slowed down in the second half of 2011 after two full years of gains.  According to the data, collections from major tax sources increased by 2.7 percent in nominal terms in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to the same quarter of 2010. That is a noticeable slowdown from the 11.1 and 6.1 percent year-over-year growth reported in the second and third quarters of 2011 respectively.

According to a recent Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government report, revenues from the combination of lotteries, pari-mutuel betting, casinos and racinos grew 2 percent in 2010 over 2009. This could be in part because ten states adopted laws to capture expanded state revenues by expanding gambling or enhancing tax receipts on gambling activities since the start of the 2008 economic recession. Total gambling revenues to state revenue coffers (excluding receipts from casinos operated by Native American tribes, which were not part of the report) were $24 billion in 2010.

The Rockefeller report, “In the Black,” provides evidence that gambling revenues are neither a large overall source of revenue for states nor a growing source of revenue over time. On average across all 50 states, gambling revenue represented just 2.4 percent of own-source general revenue in fiscal 2009.

Michigan lawmakers have adopted a new tax structure that proponents believe will encourage business growth but opponents say will unduly burden the elderly and low-income residents of the state.

A recent report from the Rockefeller Institute indicates state revenues have been growing from prior year levels in each of the last five quarters.  However, Stateline cautions that the revenue growth should be interpreted carefully.