New Reports on States' Finances Spell Deep Trouble

The recession has cut so deep that state governments will suffer for at least 10 years — or what the National Governors Association bluntly calls “the Lost Decade.” That was among the conclusions in a trio of reports this week that should raise eyebrows over just how bad states' finances have become.

"The bottom line is that states will not fully recover from this recession until late in the next decade,” Raymond C. Sheppach, executive director of the governors' association, said in a statement accompanying a report the group issued Thursday (Nov. 12) with the National Association of State Budget Officers.

The two groups' report (PDF) — a preliminary study that precedes a full report to be released next month — found that, for the first time on record, states' overall spending has declined in back-to-back years, shrinking 4.8 percent last fiscal year and at least 4 percent in the current fiscal year. The unprecedented spending drop is a reflection of sharp declines in state tax collections — including a 7.5-percent plunge last fiscal year — “from every revenue source.”

Read the full report Weekly Wrap: Reports Spell Deep Trouble on Stateline.org.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies

Explore

Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.