• By Rachel Gibson
    October 24, 2014

    The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report last week on school funding, entitled "Most States Still Funding Schools Less Than Before the Recession." According to the report, a majority of states are continuing to fund their schools at levels lower than they did seven years ago, before the recession hit.  Read more

  • By Austin Dannhaus
    January 9, 2013

    The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) has created an online repository of information on state policies and practices with the goal of providing actional information to state leaders leading school reform and improvement efforts. Read more

  • By John Bailey
    September 19, 2011
  • By John Bailey
    August 5, 2011
  • By Eugene Hickok
    January 24, 2011

    The start of a new year, along with the November election's results, may prompt those interested in the future of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act -- or No Child Left Behind -- to wonder whether or not reauthorization is a real possibility in 2011. Read more

  • By John Bailey
    December 28, 2010

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  • By John Bailey
    December 2, 2010

    Yesterday, the National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) released the biannual Fiscal Survey of States (pdf).  Top education headlines:

    • The end of Recovery Act funding in 2012, along with the growing pension liability and the rise of Medicaid enrollment could further exacerbate the already tight fiscal conditions.  Finally, the potential impact of health care reform in 2014 is a real unknown at this time.

    • General Fund revenues declined 2.5 percent in fiscal 2010 compared to fiscal 2009. However, states are projecting a 4.4 percent increase in General Fund revenue collections in fiscal 2011 compared to fiscal 2010. Even with this General Fund revenue increase, revenues for fiscal 2011 are $43.7 billion, 6.5 percent below fiscal 2008 levels.

    • For fiscal 2010, thirty-nine states made $18.3 billion in mid-year budget cuts. Thus far for fiscal 2011, 14 states have made $4 billion in cuts. 

    • 35 states made mid-year program cuts to K12 education for a total of $5.4 billion and 32 made cuts to higher education totaling $2.5 billion.

      Read more

  • By Ben Wallerstein
    November 12, 2010

    The Minnesota governor’s race between Democrat Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer will be decided by a recount. Dayton leads Emmer by about 9,000 votes or less than one-half of one percent of all the ballots cast. The winner will replace Republican Tim Pawlenty, who is rumored to be considering a presidential run in two years. The Minnesota election is the last of the 37 governor’s races held November 2 to be resolved.

    New York Democratic Gov. David Paterson delayed a previously scheduled special session but still is expected to call a lame-duck meeting of lawmakers to address the budget. Some lawmakers are balking because three Senate races remain undecided and partisan control of the chamber is expected to switch to the GOP. Governor Paterson wants the Legislature to endorse his plan to close a $315 million mid-year budget deficit caused by larger-than-expected Medicaid rolls and the failure to collect taxes on cigarettes sold on Indian reservations. But Republicans do not want to examine spending again until they control the chamber. Paterson says he is willing to cut $400 million, and use the extra cash to fund some programs legislators are clamoring to support. The partisan makeup of the Senate will be decided at the earliest when absentee ballots are counted. The final tally could be months away as court challenges are expected in the three contested races. When the recounts are completed analysts expect the Senate will be deadlocked or controlled by the GOP.

    During his campaign, Michigan Governor-elect Rick Snyder, a Republican, promised he would pass a lower, simpler business tax and balance the state’s yawning $1.5 billion budget deficit. He promised to cut $1.5 billion in taxes by changing its much-maligned business tax and trimming another $1 billion from the state’s tax on companies’ equipment and materials. It is a serious challenge for the new governor and the legislature that is now solidly in the GOP corner. In his first budget, due in March, Snyder is expected to call for replacing the business tax on gross receipts and income with a straight six percent tax on corporate profits. That could deepen Michigan’s budget deficit to $3 billion, according to projections by two state budget forecasters.

    Finally, in some states revenues from taxes and fees have begun to climb as the recession slows. For exampleGeorgia’s tax revenue rose 8.2 percent in October, the fourth consecutive month the state generated revenue growth. Through October, the state’s tax revenue was up 7.6 percent to $5.02 billion.

    The following states are currently in session: Massachusetts (informal session)New Jersey, and Ohio. The District of Columbia Council is also in session. The U.S. Senate is in pro-forma session.

    The U.S. House is in recess. The U.S. House and Senate will return on November 15. The Michigan House is in recess until November 17; the Senate is in recess until November 30.

    The Illinois Senate convened a special session on November 4 to discuss pension bonds legislation; the session adjourned the same day but lawmakers may bring the issue back up during the fall veto session that begins November 16. The Illinois House will also return for its veto session on November 16. Lawmakers will be able to take up any bill from the current session.

    Florida lawmakers will convene a special session on November 16 to consider overriding vetoes made by outgoing Republican Gov. Charlie Crist; the legislature will also hold an organizational session on the same day. Indiana will hold an organizational session on November 16. South Carolina will hold an organizational session on November 17.California Governor Schwarzenegger announced he would call a special session of the legislature on December 6 to revisit budget issues.

    Pennsylvania is projected to adjourn on November 30; House leaders reversed their decision not to hold a lame-duck session before the start of the new biennium and will now hold a voting session on November 15. ThePennsylvania Senate is in recess until the call of the President Pro Tempore. Illinois is projected to adjourn on November 30.

      Read more

  • By John Bailey
    September 24, 2010

    The recession may have slowed but states continue to have deep fiscal problems as revenues are climbing slowly but remain below projections, continued federal bailout money is doubtful and budget demands for FY 2012 and beyond are rising. Most states cannot end their fiscal year in debt so for the last two years state lawmakers have balanced budgets with a combination of program cuts and an influx of federal stimulus money. Few states raised taxes. Few states can continue to make cuts without slashing education or human services, programs that have been off limits until now.

    The National Conference of State Legislatures (NSCL) estimated early this summer that the states’ collective revenue shortfall in FY 2012 will be $72 billion. New and increased taxes will have to be considered when FY 2012 budgets are being crafted early next year. But for now it is an election year and there are 37 gubernatorial races underway; only a few brave or foolish candidates have been willing to suggest that taxes are the path to fiscal salvation.

    Former U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-Rhode Island is an exception. He is now an independent running for governor and wants to expand the state sales tax to balance the state budget. Chaffee has two opponents and there is no incumbent in the race. Chaffee has been well ahead in the polls all summer but the most recent sample conducted by the local NBC-TV affiliate has him trailing Democrat Frank Caprio by 12 percent. Caprio, the state treasurer, has been banging Chaffee on his tax proposal in recent weeks and the latest poll suggests the strategy is working.

    Minnesota Democrat Mark Dayton, a candidate to replace Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, is another; he wants to tax the rich. He is an heir to the Dayton-Hudson department store fortune. He wants to raise income taxes on individuals making $130,000 or more and couples making $150,000 or more, to help plug the nearly $6 billion deficit the state is facing over the next two years. The latest poll in Minnesota has Dayton in a virtual dead heat with Republican Tom Emmer in a three- way race.

    Most candidates for governor have proposed tax cuts. reported this week that gubernatorial candidates in CaliforniaFloridaGeorgiaMaine and Michigan want to eliminate certain business taxes altogether while others in ColoradoMaine and Ohio have vowed to lower the personal income tax. In Massachusetts and Maryland, a big issue is whether to roll back recent sales tax increases.

    Finally, here's the latest on the where the races stand:




      Read more

  • By John Bailey
    August 2, 2010

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