Inflation-adjusted gross domestic product grew 1.9 percent in the United States during 2013, which is somewhat lower than long-term expectations for economic growth. Employment rose a relatively healthy 1.6 percent, but nearly 1.2 million fewer people have a job than before the recession. Most analysts expect better GDP growth during 2014 and anticipate employment will finally rise above the pre-recession peak sometime during the second half of 2014. Economic growth will improve because the short-term drag caused by sequestration and the debt ceiling debate has played through the economy, improvements in household balance sheets are allowing solid consumer spending increases, business investment is rising with better business equipment purchases and housing construction is healthier in many regions.

Fiscal conditions for states continued to moderately improve in the 2013 fiscal year. Revenue collections exceeded projections for the vast majority of states and spending from both state funds and federal funds experienced stronger growth in comparison to the 2012 fiscal year. Additionally, the number of states making midyear budget cuts remained low and states have continued to replenish their rainy day funds and reserves. In the 2014 fiscal year, states are expected to have continued positive revenue and spending growth. Revenue and spending growth rates, however, are expected to be slower than last year. States are cautiously optimistic that fiscal conditions will continue to slowly improve in the 2015 fiscal year and beyond, although challenges remain.

State fiscal and economic indicators continue to slowly improve as the effects of the Great Recession continue to linger. For more than a year and a half, state tax collections have consistently grown and states have invested in rainy day funds. On a per capita basis, state general expenditures declined slightly in 2012 over 2011 levels and education and public welfare remained the largest components of state spending in 2012—65.5 percent.

The New York Court of Appeals in June 2014 overturned New York City's highly publicized soda ban that limited purchases of fountain drinks to 16-ounce cups in an attempt to reduce constituents' consumption of soda.  Most states have levied taxes on soda purchase intending to influence consumer choices, promote public health and generate revenue. 

States are losing billions of dollars each year from smugglers moving untaxed cigarettes across state lines—and the problem is growing. This roundtable discussion explored how states are cracking down on smugglers and what your state can do to combat the problem of black market tobacco sales.

The CSG West Fiscal Affairs Committee provided a forum for chairs and members of budget, appropriation and revenue or tax committees in Western legislatures to exchange ideas and experiences on issues affecting state budgets. The committee addressed fiscal issues associated with the impact of the recession, state fiscal trends, taxation, business incentives, revenue forecasting and performance-based budgeting.

States are losing billions of dollars each year from smugglers moving untaxed cigarettes across state lines—and the problem is growing. This roundtable discussion explored how states are cracking down on smugglers and what your state can do to combat the problem of black market tobacco sales.

Cigarette smuggling across state lines is a serious problem, costing states billions in lost revenue each year and creating challenges for law enforcement. 

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.

Pages