Trends in State Government Finances

This essay describes some recent patterns of state financial activity – how the state governments obtain their revenues, the types of activities on which they expend their resources, their reliance on economic resources such as borrowing and the state of their financial assets. The analysis relies primarily on data from U.S. Census Bureau surveys of state and local government finances, the most complete set of comparative information available. It is primarily a retrospective look, using the information for fiscal year 2000 and comparing that with trends from prior years. The final section looks at a few present-day issues and prospects for state finances.

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About the Author
Henry S. Wulf is assistant division chief for recurring programs, Governments Division, U. S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce. His area of expertise is state and local government finances. He has contributed to various publications and in 2002, he was appointed to a term on the Government Accounting Standards Advisory Council, an advisory body to the Government Accounting Standards Board.

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