The Tax Policy Blog

January 03, 2009

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has proposed a 7 percent spending cut in the $11.2 billion budget to close a $402 million shortfall (the comparison does not count $746 million in checks mailed out last year from windfall profits tax proceeds). Alaska's general fund derives much of its revenue from oil revenue and taxes, and the budget assumes...

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January 02, 2009

In mid-December, Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner (D) announced $55 million in budget reductions to partly reduce a $109 million shortfall in the current $3.4 billion budget, including a $23 million accounting trick shifting Medicaid payments from the end of the month to the beginning. The...

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January 02, 2009

In November, Connecticut legislators held a special session and approved $71.8 million in cuts (plus a tax amnesty program expected to generate $40 million, but lawmakers rejected a move to seize $40 million in unclaimed deposits on bottles and cans). Since then, the shortfall in the current biennium's $18 billion budget...

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January 02, 2009

In November, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) unveiled a $19.2 billion budget proposal for 2009-10, of which the general fund portion is a 5% increase over 2008-09. The proposal includes a $386 million shortfall. Ritter estimates that the state faces a shortfall in the current year's budget of $77 million, but...

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January 02, 2009

California's budget hasn't been balanced in a decade, with each year involving some combination of accounting tricks and borrowing to paper over the shortfall (now estimated to be $15 billion this year and $25 billion next year, out of a $103 billion annual general fund budget). In 2004, voters approved $15 billion in long-term borrowing to pay for short-term expenses, but the accompanying spending controls were...

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January 02, 2009

Phil Kerpen, Director of Policy at Americans for Prosperity, penned an op-ed in today's Washington Times on a potential reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) being funded by a 156% increase...

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January 01, 2009

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter (R) in December ordered state agencies to cut 3% from their budgets, on top of a 1% reduction ordered in September, and plan for a 6% cut in 2010. The $82 million savings, in addition to $22 million of other cuts, balances ...

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January 01, 2009

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle (R) recently unveiled a $22.4 billion 2010-11 biennial budget that reduces discretionary funding by 14%, draw down $75 million from the state's rainy day fund (leaving it at $15 million in 2011), and borrow from bottle/can deposits and...

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January 01, 2009

State officials say that Georgia faces a $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion shortfall in its current $21 billion budget. Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) has ordered agencies to cut spending by 8% and plan for cuts in their 2010 budget requests. Perdue has unveiled plans for...

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December 31, 2008

New regulations from the California State Board of Equalization (BOE) are supposed to clarify how grocers should tally their tax-exempt sales. Instead they inadvertently make a good argument for abolishing the tax exemption entirely.

Grocery tax exemptions have been sweeping the country on the flimsy argument that state sales taxes applied to groceries are unfair to the poor. In fact, the poor's groceries, when purchased...

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December 31, 2008

In yesterday's Los Angeles Times, the editorial board rails against Grover Norquist and his famous "pledge" that elected officials often take, promising not to raise taxes.

Republican members of the Assembly and state Senate signed pledges to oppose any tax increase, and so far they have...

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December 31, 2008

During times of economic hardship, is it better to put money toward necessities and savings or to risk some in the hopes of winning more, e.g. playing the lottery?

Lottery agencies have recently been hoping customers would choose the latter, and it seemed at first that they would get their wish. In a 1994 study, Prof. John L. Mikesell of Indiana University found that...

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December 31, 2008

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) announced recently that the state's budget this year faces a $211 million shortfall, and the 2010 budget faces a shortfall of over $1 billion (out of $10 billion total). In addition to ordering...

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December 31, 2008

In December, Gov. Chet Culver (D) outlined $75 million in spending cuts to cover a $38 million drop in expected revenue and unexpected spending on disaster relief (a total $100 million shortfall in the $6.05 billion budget). The largest items are the cancellation of a $37 million office building for state...

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