Budget Planning

How State Finances Fared During the Covid-19 Crisis

A new survey of budget officials shows that economic activity and tax revenue improved or fully recovered for most states by the end of 2020.

This Week in Federal Funding

In the July 13 edition we talk with Erie County, New York executive Mark Poloncarz about plans there for $124 million in recovery spending. And we have a roundup of ARPA action in Alabama, Virginia, Milwaukee and St. Louis.

Pandemic Growth Led This State to Slash Taxes, Issue Rebates

Tax policy experts and state officials believe Idaho’s rapid economic growth will offset the tax cuts, making them feasible under federal funding rules.  

How Governments Can Leverage Federal Funds to Partner With Local Nonprofits

The American Rescue Plan allows states and localities to funnel federal relief dollars to nonprofit organizations, which the National Council of Nonprofits says could be key to local economic recovery.

How to Fix Skyrocketing Overtime

Overtime is often a necessary cost, but to deploy it effectively, officials need reliable data to track where and how it is being used and who is using it. 

State and Local Officials Push Back Against Calls to Redirect Federal Aid

Republican lawmakers and others have suggested that money from coronavirus relief measures could be shifted to pay for infrastructure.

Ohio Lawmakers Approve Bill to Allow Teleworkers to Seek Commuter Tax Refunds

The issue of how to tax remote workers has been debated in several states, including New Hampshire, which filed a federal lawsuit against Massachusetts over the practice.

How Cities Are Using Citizen Feedback to Guide Federal Relief Spending

There’s a wide range of possibilities for how the $350 billion in funding can be used. “We really wanted to understand how the community was thinking in terms of investment versus recovery,” says one city official.

Most States Held Off Draining Savings in Response to Pandemic

Only 15 tapped rainy day funds in fiscal 2020 and reserves remained near record levels. Now, better-than-expected tax revenues and federal aid could limit the need for further withdrawals.

Analysis: How Governments Can Effectively Spend American Rescue Plan Funds

If they spend wisely, states and localities can put their budgets and economies in a better position—now and in the future, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts.

To Budget for Equity, Cities First Must Define Equity

COMMENTARY | Without a clear and shared definition of equity, city leaders cannot understand the underlying conditions that create existing disparities in their community, let alone make informed budget decisions that foster equity.

One State’s Plan to Ease the ‘Invisible’ Diaper Gap for Families

A third of families nationwide experience diaper need, regardless of age, race or income, data shows. Washington state will allocate funding for diaper banks in its latest budget to help close that gap.

Texas’ Pandemic Budget Shortfall Disappears, as Latest Forecast Shows a Surplus

The latest revenue estimate doesn’t take into account all of the federal relief that has been sent to Texas over the past year by Congress through pandemic relief packages. State lawmakers have wrestled with how and who has the authority to spend that money.

As Influx of Aid Nears, Some Spending Principles For States and Localities to Consider

Billions in federal coronavirus relief payments to states and localities are expected in May. Important choices lie ahead about how to best put the money to use.

Why States Didn’t Go Broke from the Pandemic

COMMENTARY | The predictions were for a massive downturn in state finances because of COVID-19 but the predictions were wrong.

It’s Time to Reject Fines and Fees as a Solution to Budget Problems

COMMENTARY | State and local governments must dramatically reduce their reliance on this hidden regressive system of taxation that worsens racial and economic inequities.

Major US Cities Face Challenging Budget Shortfalls, Report Shows

The Pew Charitable Trusts studied 13 major cities and found they face fiscal 2021 budget shortfalls of up to 17%, and they are using creative methods to try to balance their budgets.

Local Corrections Costs Rose by $25 Billion in Last 40 Years

But the coronavirus has ushered in creative lower-cost alternative jail programs that could last long after the pandemic, local leaders say.

Could Online Sports Betting and Gambling Help Close State Budget Shortfalls?

COMMENTARY | Taxes on online betting and gambling can help government leaders boost their budgets and create sustainable economic growth.