Bleak Forecast for State Budgets

Government Finance Review, October 2007 | Go to article overview

Bleak Forecast for State Budgets


A precipitous drop in state general fund balances from record high levels the previous year is the most significant change in state fiscal condition following this year's legislative sessions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures' annual review of state budgets and tax changes.

The Preliminary Report on State Budget and Tax Actions for 2007 found that fiscal year 2006 was most likely the best year of the decade for state finances. Aggregate year-end balances in 2007 dropped by 7 percent to $54.1 billion from the previous year's $58.1 billion and are projected to drop an additional 24.3 percent to $41 billion in FY 2008. Of the 47 states providing data for the report, 36 expect to see a decline in their balances from FY 2007 to FY 2008, while only nine expect to see an increase.

In addition, even as states earmark more money to rainy day funds, overall fund balances are dropping precipitously. The increase in rainy day fund balances from $23.9 billion in FY 2006 to $26.3 billion in 2008 is being accompanied during the same period by a fall in general fund balances from $37. …

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