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    • HEADLINES: Washington

      Earmarks on rise again in Olympia

      The Seattle Times | by Andrew Garber | September 10, 2013

      Legislators steered more than $170 million in the state's capital budget toward special projects that largely sidestep public debate and detailed documentation. The list ranges from a college radio station to a monument commemorating a stranded ship.


      Lessons Learned: States Focus on Rainy Day Funds, Smaller Workforces

      Stateline | by Elaine S. Povich | September 6, 2013

      The Great Recession gave states a crash course in providing services with fewer people-a lesson they are being forced to put into practice even as the crisis slowly recedes.

    • HEADLINES: Connecticut

      Lembo sees 'cautious optimism' in $400M state budget surplus

      The Connecticut Mirror | by Keith M. Phaneuf | September 4, 2013

      Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the legislature already dedicated $220.8 million of that surplus to support spending in the new state budget. That leaves $178 million to be deposited into the emergency reserve - commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund.

    • HEADLINES: Idaho, California, Oregon, Nevada

      Fire season stretches state budgets

      The Washington Post | by Reid Wilson | August 23, 2013

      An unusually active fire season fueled by parched forests across the western United States has those states shelling out tens of millions of dollars to protect tens of millions of acres of state and federal land, according to fire officials.

    • HEADLINES: California

      State pension changes imperil transit money

      The Ventura Couny Star | August 16, 2013

      Public pension changes supported by Gov. Jerry Brown could cost the state billions of dollars intended for transit projects, according to the federal government.


      States Target Hybrids As Gas Tax Revenues Ebb

      NPR | by Jeff Brady | August 16, 2013

      On top of the federal gas tax, each state levies its own tax, mostly to pay for roads. These range from 8 cents a gallon in Alaska to about 50 cents a gallon in New York. State lawmakers have been searching for ways to make up the lost revenue.

    • HEADLINES: Vermont

      State wants to take a closer look at the costs of employee mileage

      The Burlington Free Press | by Terri Hallenbeck | August 12, 2013

      The Shumlin administration last week sent state agency and department heads notice that travel budgets are being cut by $170,000 overall for the year, said Finance Commissioner Jim Reardon.

    • HEADLINES: West Virginia

      State seeks deeper budget cuts

      Charleston Daily Mail | by Dave Boucher | August 8, 2013

      For the second time in as many years, West Virginia's state agencies are preparing their budgets with a 7.5 percent reduction.

    • HEADLINES: Iowa

      Iowa auditor lauds state budget, but notes areas of concern

      Des Moines Register | by Jason Noble | August 7, 2013

      Iowa state Auditor Mary Mosiman lauded the state budget signed into law by Gov. Terry Branstad earlier this year as an “excellent” spending plan that “serves Iowans well.”

    • HEADLINES: Ohio

      The inside story on the Ohio budget debate

      State Budget Solutions | by Joe Luppino-Esposito | August 7, 2013

      We interviewed Greg Lawson of the Buckeye Institute for his take on the contentious Ohio budget debate.

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    • RESEARCH: Texas

      Report to the Governor and Legislative Budget Board on the Monitoring of Community Supervision Diversion Funds

      Texas Department of Criminal Justice | December 1, 2013

      Recent Legislatures in Texas have diverted some funding from state lockups to community-based supervision and diversions. Reallocating funding in this way continues to better protect the public safety and reduce crime, as a recent report details.


      Federal Aid to the States 2008-2011

      by Kristen De Pena | February 21, 2013

      It is well understood that the federal government must make spending cuts-these cuts will most likely drastically change the amount of federal dollars that are allocated to the states. Unfortunately for most states, dependence on federal funding has continually risen since 2008.


      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? 


      Public Servants or Privileged Class:

      Citizens Against Government Waste | by John Dunham and Associates | October 17, 2012

      State governments pay on average 6.2 percent more per hour in wages and benefits, including pension benefits, than the private sector for the 22 major occupational categories that exist in both sectors. This combination of excessive wages, pensions and other benefits at the state and local levels is wreaking havoc on public finances in nearly every state.


      Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governors: 2012

      The CATO Institute | by Chris Edwards | October 9, 2012

      This fiscal report card on the governors examines state budget actions since 2010 using statistical data to grade the governors on their taxing and spending records-governors who have cut taxes and spending the most receive the highest grades, while those who have increased taxes and spending the most receive the lowest grades.


      Spring 2012 Fiscal Survey of States

      States will face particularly intense budgetary challenges in education and health care in fiscal 2013, putting pressure on all budget areas - including corrections and infrastructure. As budgets face strain from slow revenue growth and expenditure pressures, states will likely confront tough budgetary choices in the next fiscal year.


      Do Roads Pay for Themselves?

      U.S. PIRG | May 9, 2012

      Highways do not - and, except for brief periods in our nation's history - never have paid for themselves through the taxes that highway advocates label "user fees." To have a meaningful national debate over transportation policy-particularly at a time of tight public budgets-it is impor- tant to get past the myths and address the real, difficult choices America must make for the 21st century.


      Risk/Needs Assessment 101: Science Reveals New Tools to Manage Offenders

      The Pew Center on the States | March 14, 2012

      After decades of experience managing offenders and analyzing data, practitioners and researchers have identified key factors that can help predict the likelihood of an individual returning to crime, violence or drug use. When developed and used correctly, these risk/needs assessment tools can help criminal justice officials appropriately classify offenders and target interventions to reduce recidivism, improve public safety and cut costs.


      Reallocating Justice Resources

      Vera Institute of Justice and the Pew Center on the States | by Lauren-Brooke Eisen, Juliene James | March 1, 2012

      Most states are facing budget crises as they plan FY 2013 and beyond. With fewer dollars available, state criminal justice agencies are challenged to increase public safety while coping with smaller budgets. This report distills lessons from 14 states that passed research-driven sentencing and corrections reform in 2011 and is based on interviews with stakeholders and experts, and the experience of technical assistance staff at the Vera Institute of Justice. It is intended to serve as a guide to policy makers and others interested in pursuing evidence-based justice reform in their jurisdiction.


      The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers

      Vera Institute of Justice and the Pew Center on the States | by Christian Henrichson & Ruth Delaney | January 2, 2012

      Researchers found that the total taxpayer cost of prisons in the 40 states that participated in this study was 13.9 percent higher than the cost reflected in those states' combined corrections budgets. The total price to taxpayers was $39 billion, $5.4 billion more than the $33.6 billion reflected in corrections budgets alone.

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      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: North Carolina

      A Blueprint for Budget Reform

      Civitas Institute | by Brian Balfour | September 12, 2012

      The ongoing state budget "crisis" strongly underscores the urgent need for North Carolina to adapt significant state budget reforms, including putting North Carolina taxpayers back in charge of approving new debt, and forcing legislators and state agencies at reasonable intervals to justify all spending, not just spending increases.


      The Case for Reform: Prisons

      Right on Crime | August 1, 2012

      Prisons are supremely important, but they are also a supremely expensive government program, and thus prison systems must be held to the highest standards of accountability.


      The Case for Reform: Adult Probation

      Right on Crime | August 1, 2012

      Risk/Needs Assessment 101: Science Reveals New Tools to Manage Offenders

      The Pew Center on the States | March 14, 2012

      State policy makers across the country are putting research into action by passing legislation that requires their courts and corrections agencies to use evidence-based practices. over the past few years, a number of states have passed comprehensive corrections reform packages that require the use of risk/needs assessment and are projected to save taxpayers millions of dollars.

    • SOLUTIONS: New Hampshire

      On Highways, The One Good Idea in Washington

      The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy | by Charles M. Arlinghaus | December 7, 2011

      Highway spending in New Hampshire is not funded by general taxation. Our highway spending is supported entirely by user fees like the gas tax and turnpike tolls. So, if we're developing a real plan, let's start by figuring out how much money those fees will raise over the next ten years.

    • SOLUTIONS: Georgia

      Eight Affordable Ideas for Georgia

      The Georgia Public Policy Foundation | by Eight Affordable Ideas for Georgia | December 2, 2011

      Georgia should continue to push the reforms that have made this one of the best managed states in the nation, but innovation is the best opportunity for true reform. Tax, regulatory and tort reform will create the right conditions for innovation in the private sector while the state pursues innovation in the areas of criminal justice, education and heath care.

    • SOLUTIONS: Missouri

      Private Funding an Important Option for Missouri Highways

      The Show-Me Institute | by David Stokes | November 29, 2011

      it is time for Missouri to consider alternative modes of financing highways and bridges as we attempt to deal with MoDOT's projected shortfall in the billions over the next 20 years.


      Unemployment Insurance Taxes: Options for Program Design and Insolvent Trust Funds

      The Taxpayer Foundation | by Joseph Henchman | November 21, 2011

      Unemployment Insurance reforms should be considered, including eliminating the "firewall" between administrative costs and benefits, reducing cross-subsidies to high-layoff employers, and relying more on face-to-face training and advising. More significant reforms that could be considered include adopting elements of state workers' compensation programs and experimenting with individual accounts.

    • SOLUTIONS: New Mexico

      Ten Reasons to Shut the Rail Runner Down Now

      The Rio Grande Foundation | by Paul J. Gessing | October 31, 2011

      Passenger rail will always have its advocates and, while technology and population densities may someday make passenger rail financially-viable, it is not currently feasible in New Mexico. Unfortunately, solutions like higher fares and additional emphasis on tourism are not likely to fill the gaping holes in the train’s finances. Luckily, the Rail Runner is by no means essential to our transportation network and it can be shut down. The sooner our leaders realize this, the better off New Mexico’s finances will be.

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