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The distribution of federal funds affects a wide array of organizations, individuals and activities throughout the United States economy. Data abound on the size of the overall federal government budget and on spending by federal departments and agencies. However, only one primary source shows not only the agency and program detail, but also the geographic distribution of these funds: the U.S. Bureau of the Census’ Consolidated Federal Funds Report. This article provides details and insights into the make-up and significance of these huge flows of federal funds on state and local areas.

State budget shortfalls are expected to balloon to $82 billion by 2004. What avenues are available for governors to bring about fiscal solvency in the states? This article assesses their plans to navigate this continuing fiscal storm. The author then reviews the state government revenue situation and draws conclusions based on the content of governors’ 2003 state of the state addresses.

Chapter 9 of the 2003 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Chapter 2 of the 2003 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

The state fiscal boom of the late 1990s was driven by exceptional forces unlikely to be repeated in the years ahead. The bursting of this fiscal bubble has made the current budget crisis far worse than the relatively mild current economic weakness might suggest. Even after the economy recovers, state finances are likely to be tight for the next several years.

2002 was a major election year for legislatures, with over 85 percent of all seats up for election, resulting in more than 26 percent turnover among legislators in election states. The Republican Party netted more than 175 legislative seats across the country and wound up with more seats than the Democrats for the first time in 50 years. Republicans now hold control of 21 state legislatures, compared to 16 for the Democrats. Twelve legislatures are split between the two parties and Nebraska is nonpartisan.

Chapter 7 of the 2003 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Until recently, literature about the effects of term limits was by necessity speculative in nature. However, a recent multistate study undertaken by three legislative organizations and a team of political scientists has begun to outline the changes taking place in term-limited state legislatures.
 

Most states have initiated various cutback-management strategies in the past two years to deal with budget shortfalls and projected deficits. However, restructuring state agencies has emerged as the most popular approach to the current financial crisis. State agencies are likely to continue to privatize some of their programs and services as a cost-saving tool, although the rate of savings has been moderate. A growing number of states are using performance measures in their budgeting, although they are not widely used as an efficiency tool in state agencies.

An assessment of political parties in the legislature shows an imbalance in their performance of the overlapping functions of representation on the one hand and governance on the other. In every respect but mobilizing and educating voters, legislative parties are doing an excellent job representing their constituencies. But the performance of the governance function, and especially the tasks of consensus building and institutional maintenance, is more problematic.

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