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Before Pandemic, Spending Exceeded Long-Term Revenue in Hawaii
By Selected News Articles @ 7:59 PM :: 919 Views :: Economy, Hawaii State Government, COVID-19

Before Pandemic, Spending Exceeded Long-Term Revenue in 8 States

Insights From Fiscal 50’s Key Measures of State Fiscal Health

From Pew Trust, December 22, 2021 (excerpt)

...States’ performance is analyzed from two perspectives: First, the 15-year lump sum of revenue relative to expenses, to uncover states’ ability to bring in sufficient funds to cover costs over the long term; and second, the year-by-year record for each state, to identify how often it experienced shortfalls.

Comparing states’ revenue—comprising much more than tax dollars—and expenses, in aggregate and year-by-year totals from fiscal 2005 to 2019, shows:

  • New Jersey had the largest deficit, with aggregate revenue able to cover only 91.5% of aggregate expenses, followed by Illinois (94.1%). They were the only two states with aggregate shortfalls exceeding 5% of total expenses, and the only ones with annual deficits in each of the 15 years.
  • Additional states with symptoms of structural deficits were, Massachusetts (96.2%), Hawaii (97.2%), Kentucky (98.4%), Maryland (99.1%),New York (99.5%), and Delaware (99.8%). All but Delaware experienced deficits in at least 10 of the 15 years.
  • Alaska accumulated the largest 15-year surplus (135%). Although Alaska’s balance is high, revenue has been lower and the state has pulled back on spending compared with earlier in the decade. 
  • Other states with the largest accumulated surpluses since fiscal 2005 were North Dakota (123.4%), Wyoming (124.9%), Utah (111.1%), and Montana (109.5%). Resource-rich states tend to acquire large surpluses in boom years that can help cushion shortfalls when oil or mining revenue decline.
  • Aside from Montana, which was the only state to end each year with a surplus, 11 recorded just one deficit over the 15 years examined: Idaho, Iowa, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia....  

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