State Budget Gaps - 6/19/15
Even after six years of economic expansion, many states continue to confront large budget gaps. According to writer Julie Bosman, in certain states, lawmakers have gone into overtime with unresolved budgets, special sessions and threats of widespread government layoffs. Through the first week of June, only twenty five states had passed budgets according to the National Association of State Budget Officers, which monitors legislative activity.
Obviously, politics is at the heart of the matter. In Kansas, centrist Republicans have joined Democrats in attributing that state’s 400 million dollar budget gap to large tax cuts passed in twenty twelve and twenty thirteen at the urging of Republican governor Sam Brownback. In Louisiana, the Republican-controlled state legislature has been in a standoff with Republican governor Bobby Jindal as that state wrestles with a one point six billion dollar shortfall.
The situation is particularly difficult in Alaska, which depends on oil revenue for roughly ninety percent of its budget. That state is facing a shortfall that could reach 4 billion dollars in a budget of only about 5 billion dollars, with years of deficits projected for future years. Compared to many states, Maryland’s budget situation is relatively strong.