Even states that have overcome the effects of the recession may face financial pressures that could shape their budgets now and for years to come. A major issue for a number of states is how to cope with an accumulation of unfunded public pension and retiree health care liabilities, which total more than $1.5 trillion nationwide. In addition, debate among U.S. lawmakers over financing for Medicaid, which is jointly funded by federal and state governments, has sparked fresh uncertainty over how much of the costs states will pay. The health care program accounts for the largest share of total federal aid to states. Another challenge for states is tax revenue volatility, which can confound policymakers’ best efforts to balance budgets.
Delaware is not the only state that has struggled to use its rainy day fund effectively. Between fiscal years 2003 and 2007, most states experienced strong tax revenue growth, which rose more than 7 percent on average annually across the 50 states. While this would suggest an opportunity for states to make deposits to their rainy day funds, 22 states did the opposite and made withdrawals at least once. Conversely, from 2008 to 2010, many states experienced their worst recession-driven revenue downturn in decades—a perfect time for withdrawals— and yet eight did not use any of their rainy day funds. In some states, like New York, repayment provisions probably discouraged their use. In others, clear conditions for withdrawal were absent, as was the case in Delaware.
Rich States, Poor States examines the latest movements in state economic growth. The data ranks the 2017 economic outlook of states using fifteen equally weighted policy variables, including various tax rates, regulatory burdens and labor policies. The ninth edition examines trends over the last few decades that have helped or hurt states’ economies.
By funding public schools, health systems, and social services, state and local governments provide the resources and services that support children’s healthy development. But children in some states tend to do better than others on measures of key educational and health outcomes. We examine how much states spend on children, including education, health, income security, and social services spending. We find substantial differences in how much states spend on children and discuss the implications of these differences. We also highlight the possibility that population trends will lead to an even wider spending gap in the future.
Housing costs are deterring top-talent from entering the Los Angeles job market, and leading to higher costs in recruiting and retaining employees, according to a new survey released today by Raphael Bostic, a USC Price School of Public Policy Professor and the newly appointed head of the Atlanta Federal Reserve. Bostic led a team of USC researchers in surveying major L.A. employers accounting for nearly 200,000 jobs in key sectors including utilities, healthcare, education, government, engineering and finance. The resulting report, The Affordable Housing Crisis in Los Angeles: An Employer Perspective, released in partnership with the Los Angeles Business Council, focuses on how the high cost of housing in the region has affected employers and puts forth key recommendations.