U.S. libraries have taken a major hit during the recent recession. Fighting to have their voices heard among those other important issues, including education and health care, libraries have been losing the funding battle.

The Council of State Governments Medicaid Policy Academy in Washington, D.C., June 18-20 provided attendees with important information about the many facets of the Medicaid program. Speakers at the sessions offered information beyond the sessions in video interviews.

Medicaid Role in State Budgets

Robin Rudowitz, associate director, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, says Medicaid has a complicated role in state budgets.

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A recent report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) revealed that education is still feeling the economic sting of the recession. State budgets reflect per pupil expenditures in 35 states are lower than in 2007-2008 when adjusted for inflation, and 14 states have effectively cut funding per student by over 10 percent in the last six years. 

Taxpayers X and Y live in the same state and have the same income but Taxpayer X earns all of her income in-state while Taxpayer Y earns all of her income out-of-state.  Taxpayer Y pays more in taxes because she pays income taxes out-of-state and pays a county income tax in her home state.  Unfair?  (Not necessarily.  After all, Taxpayer Y receives government services in the county where she resides.)  Unconstitutional?  The Supreme Court will decide.    

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Full effects of the United States’ Standard and Poor’s (S&P) credit downgrade in 2011 are yet to be fully known, especially for state governments. The map below looks at the S&P’s state credit ratings for each of the 50 states.

With the end of tax season, CNBC has compiled some interesting graphics related to federal and state taxes. Using data from the Tax Foundation, the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Treasury Department, the article details where federal and state revenues come from and how they are spent. The top three spending items for the federal government were Health and Human Services, Social Security and Defense. An interactive map of the United States allows users to see several state-level measures, including total taxes paid, average deductions and state tax rates. 

The non-partisan Tax Foundation has calculated the tax burdens of the citizens of each state while adjusting for the fact that many state taxes are exported to residents of other states.

Over the last couple of decades, states have been on a fiscal and economic roller coaster. In the 1990s, state revenues soared from the longest economic expansionary period in U.S. history, but crashed after two recessions in the 2000s. These volatile conditions and uncertainty make it difficult for state policymakers to effectively manage state resources. A new report out by the Pew Charitable Trusts, “Managing Uncertainty” takes a look at that revenue volatility and examines the factors that drive it, including state economic conditions over time and their interaction with state taxes. The report then goes on to recommend a number of ways that states can respond to these concerns.

A recently released survey, conducted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, examines the use of the federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG). Created under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the grant program received $2.7 billion in funding to be distributed to cities, counties, states and tribal governments to invest in energy efficient infrastructure upgrades.

For 2013, 7 states have their own inheritance taxes and 14 states plus DC have their own estate taxes. Check out this link for a breakdown of estate and inheritance taxes for your state.

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