Jennifer Burnett

Author Articles

Are public pension plans trading off long-term stability for a less hair-raising sticker price for state governments today? A new report from the Rockefeller Institute of Government answers that question and takes a closer look at the difficult choices those running public pension funds have had to make over the last three decades, and what those choices mean for the future fiscal stability of states. 

In the coming months, legislators in almost every state will be grappling with writing a new budget. According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), 47 states will enact a new budget for fiscal year 2018, while the three remaining states (Kentucky, Virginia and Wyoming) have previously enacted budgets that cover both fiscal years 2017 and 2018. Among those 47 states, most – 30 – will pass an annual budget, while 17 will authorize a two-year (biennial) budget that will cover both fiscal year 2018 and 2019. Note that for 46 states, fiscal year 2018 will begin on July 1, 2017. Alabama (Oct. 1), Michigan (Oct. 1), New York (Apr. 1) and Texas (Sept. 1) are the exceptions.  Most state legislatures adopt their new budgets in the spring.  

According to the National Association of State Budget Officers’ Fall 2016 Fiscal Survey of the States, most states are seeing weaker revenue conditions from 2016 carrying into fiscal 2017. At the time of data collection, 24 states reported general fund revenues for fiscal 2017 were coming in below forecast, while 16 states were on target and four states were above forecast. 

Check out our ongoing coverage of state budgets in 2017 HERE.

“The economy is sluggish and we don’t know what to expect from the federal government. We’ve got some tough times ahead,” Brian Sigritz, Director of State Fiscal Studies for the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) told Fiscal and Economic Development Committee members last week during CSG’s National Conference in Williamsburg, VA. “There’s really just not enough money to go around.” 

The federal reimbursement rate in 2016 is 54 cents per mile, down 3.5 cents per mile from the 2015 rate but up 9.5 cents over the rate 10 years before–44.5 cents per mile on Jan. 1, 2006. Thirty-four states have a reimbursement rate that is the same as the federal rate. For those 16 states whose rates differ from the federal rate, reimbursement rates range from 31 cents to 52 cents per mile. No state reimburses at a rate higher than the federal rate.

According to an annual survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), 7.0 percent of U.S. households were “unbanked” in 2015, which means that no one in the household had a checking or savings account. That’s around 9 million households consisting of 15.6 million adults and 7.6 million children. The percentage of the population that is unbanked varies considerably across states, ranging from a low of less than 2 percent in New Hampshire and Vermont to more than 10 percent in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Louisiana has the highest rate at 14 percent.

Yesterday voters in five states (Arizona, Colorado, Maine, South Dakota and Washington) weighed in on the minimum wage through ballot initiatives. All of the initiatives were approved except one: voters in South Dakota rejected a measure that would roll back the minimum wage for workers under 18 from $8.50 to $7.50. That means that minimum wage earners in four states will see a raise in coming years.  

There are now more Americans age 65 and older than ever before. About 1 in 7 people (15 percent) in the U.S. is now considered to be an “older American” or someone over the age of 65. Compare that to just 4.1 percent of the population in 1900 or 10 percent in 1970—and that figure will continue to increase in the decades to come. 

On November 8, voters in five states will have the opportunity to weigh in on the minimum wage in their state through ballot initiatives. All of the initiatives seek to raise the minimum wage, except one - in South Dakota, the Decreased Youth Minimum Wage Referendum is a veto referendum that could overturn Senate Bill 177, which decreased the minimum wage for workers under age 18 from $8.50 to $7.50 and provide that the youth minimum wage is not pegged to inflation.

Join the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) for a webinar on Thursday, November 10 at 3pm ET as they discuss their newest study on cybersecurity in the states. Participants will hear research results and implications for state governments as well as have an opportunity to ask questions. This is a complimentary webinar and no registration is needed.  

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