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BUDGET GIMMICKS

Budget Gimmicks

Find the SBS update of the latest budget gimmicks here, or click here to review the worst budget gimmicks of 2013. SBS researches and reports on budget gimmicks to inform legislators and citizens and help them combat budget dishonesty within their states. Budget dishonesty can only survive in states that lack transparency and awareness, and that's where SBS comes in.

Though almost all states have so-called "balanced budget" amendments requiring general fund expenditures to stay within state revenue limits, state budgets are often very far from balanced. See why those balanced budget amendments are not enough here. Legislators and governors have developed a deep bag of tricks to "solve" budget gaps: delaying paychecks for a week so that they fall in the next fiscal year; underfunding state budget commitments; borrowing and transferring from designated funds; inflating future revenue projections and estimations. This consistent habit of kicking the can down the road has put states in their current fiscal catastrophe.

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    • HEADLINES: Alabama, California, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina , Pennsylvania, Tennessee

      Williams Report - August 25, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | August 25, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSbob!

    • HEADLINES: Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts , Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire , North Carolina , New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin

      Williams Report - July 20, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | July 20, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts , New Hampshire , Ohio, Pennsylvania

      Williams Report - July 14, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | July 14, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts , Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington

      Williams Report - July 8, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | July 8, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine , Massachusetts , Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire , New Jersey, New York, North Carolina , Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin

      Williams Report - June 23, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | June 23, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • POLICY BRIEF: Pennsylvania

      Zogby: Teachers’ union using ‘budget gimmicks’ in calling for rehiring of laid-off teachers

      The Pennsylvania Independent | by Maura Pennington | November 1, 2013

      State Budget Secretary Charles Zogby said, "It's unfair to the students, to the schools, and to the SRC to be hiring people based on one-time savings. These are the kind of budget gimmicks that got the district into trouble in the first place."

    • RESEARCH

      Forecasting the Recovery from the Great Recession: Is This Time Different?

      The National Bureau of Economic Research | by Kathryn Dominguez & Matthew Shapiro | February 4, 2013

      Was the slow recovery of the U.S. economy from the trough of the Great Recession anticipated? 

    • RESEARCH

      On Financing Retirement with an Aging Population

      The National Bureau of Economic Research | by Ellen McGrattan & Edward Prescott | February 4, 2013

      Alternative views on the problem the United States is facing: financing retirement consumption as its population ages.

    • RESEARCH

      State Budget Crisis Task Force Report

      State Budget Crisis Task Force | by Richard Ravitch and Paul Volcker | July 17, 2012

      State finances are not transparent and often include hidden liabilities as well as rapidly growing responsibilities which are difficult to control.  While state revenues are gradually recovering from the drastic decline of the Great Recession, they are not growing sufficiently to keep pace with the spending required by Medicaid costs, pensions, and other responsibilities and obligations.  This has resulted in persistent and growing structural deficits in many states which threaten their fiscal sustainability.

    • RESEARCH

      Budget Gimmicks Used by States

      by Bob Williams | January 19, 2012

      Because many states do continue to rely on the gimmicks, SBS tracks what financial games the states are playing.  The gimmicks are many and varied.  This is an overview of many of the gimmicks that states have recently used.

    • SOLUTIONS

      How Reality-Based Budgeting Can Permanently Resolve State Budget Gaps

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | November 7, 2012

      State Budget Solutions recommends that state legislators take action in 2013 to resolve the serious state financial crises by changing their focus from inputs to outcomes by redesigning budgets from the ground up based on priorities and performance.

    • SOLUTIONS: Nevada

      Responsible budgeting

      The Nevada Policy Research Institute | by Geoffrey Lawrence | November 3, 2011

      States should use the budget solutions of avoiding budget gimmicks and use any additional revenue to first eliminate all the dubious financial devices from budgets and to avoid state debt.

    • SOLUTIONS: Colorado

      The Citizen's Budget

      The Independence Institute | March 8, 2011

      The Citizens' Budget includes legislative, constitutional, and policy recommendations to close the looming state budget gap - without raising taxes - and move Colorado towards sustainable government for good.

    • SOLUTIONS: Florida

      Transparency in Government Spending: Next Steps for Florida

      The James Madison Institute | by Sandra Fabry | March 8, 2011

      While several improvements have been made to bring Florida's tradition of "Government in the Sunshine" into the 21st Century, it seems appropriate that the year that marked the anniversary of the beginning of Florida's tradition of "government in the sunshine" also became the year in which
      Florida took an important leap towards living up to its nickname of the "Sunshine State," particularly in the area of government finance.

    • SOLUTIONS: Illinois

      Budget Solutions 2012

      To reestablish Illinois as an economic powerhouse, the Institute has proposed "Budget Solutions 2012," an alternative that does not rely on the state's recent tax hikes as a revenue source, does not include borrowing and has positive cash flow for fiscal year 2012 - all while funding core services the poor and disadvantaged rely upon.

    • HEADLINES: Alabama, California, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina , Pennsylvania, Tennessee

      Williams Report - August 25, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | August 25, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSbob!

    • HEADLINES: Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts , Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire , North Carolina , New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin

      Williams Report - July 20, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | July 20, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts , New Hampshire , Ohio, Pennsylvania

      Williams Report - July 14, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | July 14, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts , Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington

      Williams Report - July 8, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | July 8, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine , Massachusetts , Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire , New Jersey, New York, North Carolina , Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin

      Williams Report - June 23, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | June 23, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts , Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire , New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania

      Williams Report - May 20, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | May 20, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts , Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, Rhode Island

      Williams Report - May 04, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | May 4, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts , Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas

      Williams Report - April 29, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | April 29, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts , New York, New Jersey, Texas, Washington, Michigan, Missouri

      Williams Report - April 23, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | April 23, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Kansas, New Mexico , Illinois, New York

      Williams Report - April 15, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | April 15, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.