Budget Gimmicks



    State Budget Gimmicks of 2015

    State Budget Solutions | by Sarah Curry | January 11, 2016

    Unfortunately for taxpayers  as well as those who rely on government funds  these fiscal sleights of hand only forestall critical reform.     


    Bentley: Deeper state budget cuts ahead for 2013

    The Montgomery Advertiser | by Sebastian Kitchen | October 22, 2011

    Bentley, who was elected almost a year ago, said the state had been living on federal stimulus money and "false" budgets for three years before he took office in January.


    Legislature still using gimmicks to balance Texas budget

    The Fort Worth Star-Telegram | by Aman Batheja | October 10, 2011

    The financial maneuvers complicate assessments of the state's economic picture. While Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign has repeatedly touted him as having six balanced budgets under his belt, others don't agree, especially when looking at the current two-year budget.


    Budget trickery worsens in shortfall year

    The Austin Amerian-Statesman | by Jason Embry | September 29, 2011

    Comptroller Susan Combs illustrates the trickery that legislators and Gov. Rick Perry used to balance the budget, assessing fees under the guise that they will be used for a specific purpose - to help low-income residents pay electric bills, for instance - but then leave much of that money unspent to balance the state budget.


    Auditor: Budget reduced use of gimmick

    The Des Moines Register | by Jennifer Jacobs | September 19, 2011

    Although the state is progress in avoiding one-time funding sources for expenses that recur each year, it is still spending $282 million more than what legislators claim.


    $237 Million State Surplus Attributed To 'Temporary Fixes'

    The Hartford Courant | by Jon Lender | September 2, 2011

    Connecticut relied on stimulus money, 'one-time measures' to avoid huge deficit.


    Arizona lawmakers raided consumer protection funds to help balance budget | by Joe Ducey | August 19, 2011

    Over three years, lawmakers swept most of the ROC's recovery fund money and put it into the general fund. They took $8.4 million and left just $28,000, a negative monthly cash flow, and for consumers an I.O.U. for some time in the future.


    Rick Perry's budget sleight-of-hand

    The Washington Post | by Suzy Khimm | August 16, 2011

    The Texas governor has used accounting sleights-of-hand that deferred payments and papered over enormous expenditures that will soon come due.


    School aid delay comes with some extra costs

    The Minneapolis Star Tribune | by Norman Draper | July 27, 2011

    Minnesota's $700 million shift means millions more in borrowing for districts already on the edge.


    States eye fee increases as alternative to taxes | July 24, 2011

    As states and municipalities continue to grapple with the recession's fallout, few turned to big, noticeable tax hikes this year. Instead, they're slashing spending and turning to more modest, narrowly crafted increases in fees and fines - nickel-and-diming their way to a balanced budget.


    Painful deal delays day of reckoning

    The Minneapolis Star Tribune | by Baird Helgeson | July 17, 2011

    Accord saddles state with more debt and fails to resolve profound split over taxes and spending.


    California Democrats pass budget with taxes, cuts and tricks

    The Los Angeles Times | by Shane Goldmacher and Anthony York | June 16, 2011

    A skirmish between lawmakers breaks out on the California Assembly floor as Democrats and Republicans debate a budget package of taxes, cuts and squishy accounting.


    Oklahoma leaders reach agreement on state budget

    Forbes | by Sean Murphy | May 11, 2011

    Gov. Mary Fallin and leaders in the GOP-controlled Legislature held a joint press conference to announce the deal that will lead to cuts of about 4 percent for common education and 5 percent for the state's colleges and universities. Those cuts will hinge on a separate agreement on $21 million in supplemental funding from excess collections on the gross production tax on oil.


    Rutherford talks borrowing

    Illinois Statehouse News | April 20, 2011

    Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford said on Tuesday he would sign-off on a short-term borrowing plan to pay off the state's old bills, but Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka disagreed with the idea.


    State House GOP unveils alternative budget plan

    The Seattle Times | by Robin Hindery | April 7, 2011

    Republican lawmakers in the House are offering an alternative state budget proposal for the next two years that contains $4.7 billion in cuts, including the elimination of Washington's health program for the poor and most of a program aiding disabled adults.


    Spending would increase 1% under Walker budget

    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | by Jason Stein | March 29, 2011

    Although the governor claimed his budget reduced spending, separate analyses show a different result after factoring in existing spending that would be transferred to new quasi-public authorities such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


    Perry lets Lege tap into rainy day fund

    The Houston Chronicle | by Peggy Fikac | March 16, 2011

    Gov. Rick Perry agreed to spend up to $3.2 billion from the rainy day fund to help address a deficit this fiscal year, ending a politically charged back-and-forth with Republican House leaders.


    Perry warns Legislature: Don't tap Rainy Day Fund

    The Houston Chronicle | March 10, 2011

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the Legislature should keep its hands off the state's Rainy Day Fund, but he declined to say whether he'd veto any move to use the money.


    GOP budget chiefs favor using rainy-day money, despite Perry protest

    The Dallas Morning News | by Robert T. Garrett | March 1, 2011

    The Legislature's chief budget writers said Monday that rainy-day money ought to be used to cover the state's current operating deficit, but Gov. Rick Perry quickly opposed the idea.


    State budget head warns of sharp cuts in new spending plan

    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | by Tracie Mauriello | February 28, 2011

    In the first public appearance by a Corbett administration cabinet member, Charles Zogby today blamed budget woes on gimmicks and manipulations executed by former Gov. Ed Rendell.

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    Minnesota Plays "Kick the Can," Again

    The Minnesota Free Market Institute | by John LaPlante | July 15, 2011

    The phrase “kick the can” has become so used in Minnesota budget discussion as to become a cliche. But it’s true.


    Cuts, Taxes, and Creativity

    by Bob Williams | March 31, 2011

    It's that time of year again; one by one, states are passing their budgets for the next fiscal year. Shortfalls still loom for some while others have used a variety of tools to balance their books. Some states have taxed, others have cut, and still others have just gotten creative with their accounting.

  • BLOG

    Moving Forward and Looking Back

    by Bob Williams | January 24, 2011

    Though nearly every state is in serious fiscal pain that will almost certainly adversely affect citizens, budget shortfalls are forcing states to rethink and redesign government for the better.


    Seriously folks, these folks aren't

    by Steven Greenhut | June 1, 2010

    There is virtually no chance a California state budget will pass by the constitutional deadline and absolutely no chance that any substantial reforms will pass - the type of things that do more than kick the can down the road.  Where are the serious men and women? Where are the leaders? Sadly, you won't find many of them in the increasingly unserious state of California.