Tim Anderson

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All signs are pointing to a revenue rebound for most states in the Midwest in fiscal year 2011. However, thanks in large part to a loss in federal funding, state lawmakers will face perhaps their biggest fiscal challenge yet in crafting FY 2012 budgets.

E-newsletter Issue #53 | August 19, 2010

In an election year that will determine who draws the nation’s political maps and also will serve as the first indicator of President Barack Obama’s re-election chances, no region of the country matters more than the Midwest, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Broder said during an Aug. 10 speech at the Midwestern Legislative Conference Annual Meeting.

The primary victory in Illinois of a little-known political newcomer has raised questions about how candidates for lieutenant governor are chosen — and about the office itself.

Study highlights striking differences in condition of state retirement systems.

Virtual schools offer the promise of equalizing access to quality curriculum and  improving student oucomes.

Iowa is offering an early-retirement package to state employees as part of its budget-balancing plan for fiscal year 2011.

Indiana tax relief measure will be on ballot; Wisconsin and Iowa have proposals of their own

The return of income-tax season has states making what has now become a standard pitch to taxpayers: File your returns electronically.

For decades, the consumption of services has been making up a higher and higher percentage of  state economic activity. Yet many states' sales tax bases fail to capture the service-based economy.

This edition of Firstline Midwest is Part 2 of a two-part series on state responses in the Midwest to the budget crisis. Part 1 focuses on the revenue side, particularly proposals in 2009 to close budget gaps through tax increases or gambling expansions. Part 2 examines short- and long-term strategies to control spending.

Prior to the last two fiscal years, state budgets were being passed and balanced with fairly robust increases in state spending: on average, about 6 percent annually between 1979 and 2008....

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