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Keywords:State finance 

Report
Reading the fine print: how details matter in tax and expenditure limitations
At least 30 states, including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, operate under ?tax and expenditure limitations? (TELs): formula-based budgeting requirements that apply specific limits to expenditures, appropriations, or revenue collections by state or local government. More than a dozen states considered TELs in 2006. Legislation proposing a new TEL to further limit General Fund appropriations in Rhode Island was introduced; Maine citizens will vote on a more restrictive TEL this November. ; Several factors, including a desire for lower taxes and a belief that additional measures are needed to keep government spending in check, drive this interest in TELs. This paper discusses such arguments.
AUTHORS: Brome, Heather; Saas, Darcy Rollins
DATE: 2006

Working Paper
Measuring fiscal disparities across the U. S. states: a representative revenue system/representative expenditure system approach, fiscal year 2002
States and their local governments vary both in their needs to provide basic public services and in their abilities to raise revenues to pay for those services. A joint study by the Tax Policy Center and the New England Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston uses the Representative Revenue System (RRS) and the Representative Expenditure System (RES) frameworks to quantify these disparities across states by comparing each state?s revenue capacity, revenue effort, and necessary expenditures to the average capacity, effort, and need in states across the country for fiscal year 2002. ; The fiscal capacity of a state is the state?s revenue capacity relative to its expenditure need. A state with low fiscal capacity has a relatively small revenue base, a relatively high need for expenditures, or?as is often the case?a combination of both. ; The New England and Mid-Atlantic states tend to have high revenue capacity and low expenditure needs compared to the national average. Thus, states in these two regions tend to have high fiscal capacity, or a relatively high capability to cover their expenditure needs using own resources. South Central states, on the other hand, have low fiscal capacity?that is, a low level of revenue-raising capacity given what it would cost to provide a standard set of public services to their citizens. ; Little relation exists between the amount of federal aid received by states and their fiscal capacity; federal money is not primarily distributed to offset differences in the ability to raise revenues or provide services. Given the current level of federal funds allocated to state and local governments, 91 percent of the gap between revenue capacity and expenditure need across the states could be covered if federal funds were reallocated.
AUTHORS: Hoo, Sonya; Rueben, Kim; Nagowski, Matthew; Yilmaz, Yesim; Tannenwald, Robert
DATE: 2006

Journal Article
Fuzzy federal funds stymie governors' planning
AUTHORS: Jeanette Hargroves
DATE: 1996

Journal Article
How will New Hampshire solve its school funding problem? part 2 of 3
Ever since the New Hampshire Supreme Court decided in Claremont II that the local property tax used to fund K-12 public education was unconstitutional, policymakers have struggled to find a permanent solution to the school finance problem. In 1999, the legislature enacted an interim funding plan centered around a temporary statewide property tax. The price tag of providing New Hampshire students with an "adequate" education was set at $825 million in spending, but the funding plan raised revenues of only about $725 million. Thus, lawmakers were aware that they would have to revisit the funding issue. In June 2001, after a rancorous two-year public debate, and nearly four years after the Claremont II decision, policymakers enacted a second plan that makes the statewide property tax permanent and adds sufficient supplemental revenues to fund an "adequate" education.
AUTHORS: Swaine, Daniel G.
DATE: 2001

Journal Article
How will New Hampshire solve its school funding problem?: part 3 of 3
Ever since the New Hampshire Supreme Court decided in Claremont II that the local property tax used to fund K-12 public education was unconstitutional, policymakers have struggled to find a permanent solution to the school finance problem. In June 2001, after a rancorous two-year public debate, and nearly four years after the Claremont II decision, policymakers enacted a second plan that made the statewide property tax permanent and added sufficient supplemental revenues to finance the legislature's definition of the amount required to fund an "adequate" education. However, the school funding debate is far from over. First, the statewide property tax is extremely unpopular with many residents. Second, as pointed out in the previous issue of Fiscal Facts (Fall 2001), the statewide property tax remains vulnerable to legal challenges, despite a state Supreme Court ruling upholding its constitutionality. Third, a recent lawsuit filed by the original Claremont group challenges the legislature's definition of the amount needed to fund an "adequate" education.
AUTHORS: Swaine, Daniel G.
DATE: 2002

Journal Article
Will the current boom encourage states to spend too much?
AUTHORS: Swaine, Daniel G.
DATE: 1998

Journal Article
Lessons from variations in state Medicaid expenditures
Because Medicaid is absorbing a large and growing share of government spending in every state, policymakers are under intense pressure to control the cost of this budget-breaking program. In search of clues concerning Medicaid cost containment, this article examines state data on per-recipient Medicaid spending by type of service. This effort suggests focusing on nursing homes, because per-recipient payments to these institutions are highly variable across states. Indeed, the article concludes that a key explanation for cross-state differences in per-recipient Medicaid expenses is the reimbursement rate for the nursing homes. ; The article then explores why nursing home reimbursement rates differ widely across states, when personal health care costs show more limited variation. It suggests that the industrys costs may come to reflect the states reimbursement rates in an interactive cycle. The article recommends that regulators reexamine their nursing home reimbursement policies from the ground up. Finally, the article tries to draw lessons for the rest of the U.S. health care system. In particular, it suggests that the Medicaid dollar has lost its ability to serve as a standard of value; the U.S. health care dollar is in danger of following suit.
AUTHORS: Little, Jane Sneddon
DATE: 1992

Journal Article
State business tax climate: how should it be measured and how important is it?
States are more concerned than ever before about their business tax climate. Over the past two decades, profound technological and political changes have enhanced employers' geographic mobility and extended their geographic range, thereby intensifying economic competition both within the United States and throughout the world. This study ranks the business tax climate of 22 states, including the six within New England. It finds only modest differences in business tax climate among most states. Within the region, New Hampshire and Massachusetts have the most attractive business tax climates.> The study also estimates the importance of business tax climate in determining where manufacturers invest in plant and equipment. Business tax climate exerts only a small, highly uncertain effect on such investment. States may be more likely to stimulate their economy by enhancing public services valued by business.
AUTHORS: Tannenwald, Robert
DATE: 1996

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