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State Fiscal Challenges National Association of Business Economists Regional Roundtable Teleconference December 15, 2009 Donald J. Boyd Senior Fellow.

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Presentation on theme: "State Fiscal Challenges National Association of Business Economists Regional Roundtable Teleconference December 15, 2009 Donald J. Boyd Senior Fellow."— Presentation transcript:

1 State Fiscal Challenges National Association of Business Economists Regional Roundtable Teleconference December 15, 2009 Donald J. Boyd Senior Fellow

2 2 Rockefeller Institute of Government State & local governments role as implementers of domestic policy has grown. Larger than feds, and now about 55% of domestic spending

3 3 Rockefeller Institute of Government Recessions and state-local finances Most of the action – in terms of automatic impact of recession on finances – is on the revenue side of the budget. (Pensions are an important exception. Medicaid also an exception – next slide.) Different revenue structures, different impacts: –Feds have the most volatile revenue structure (But who cares? Annual balance not a goal) –States almost as volatile – and they must balance annual budgets. –Local governments (and states that rely on property taxes) generally less volatile. State aid often a great source of risk and volatility. Different recessions, different risks, different impacts on states – depends on interaction of economic turmoil with state revenue structures

4 4 Rockefeller Institute of Government Feds: Revenue oriented toward income taxes States: Income and sales (with significant exceptions!) Locals: Property tax and non-tax revenue - Great variation across states -

5 5 Rockefeller Institute of Government Medicaid and the business cycle Sustained rise in unemployment leads to fewer workers covered by employer-sponsored insurance, increase in Medicaid/SCHIP enrollment, and increase in costs of uncompensated care for uninsured adults Holahan & Garrett estimate unemployment rise from 4.6% (2007) to 10% would lead to 3.4m more children enrolled in Medicaid/SCHIP and 2.0m more adults; 2009 annual costs of $7.4b and $11.2b respectively, $18.6b total. State share of this is about $8b annually. In addition, they estimate 5.8m more uninsured adults, and increase in uncompensated care costs of $7.2b (federal/state/other split not clear). Total, all levels of govt, about $25.8b annual rate. Holahan, John and Bowen Garrett, Rising Unemployment, Medicaid and the Uninsured, The Urban Institute, For Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, January 2009.

6 6 Rockefeller Institute of Government Real retail sales - a sales tax driver – were hit hard Year-on-year growth coming soon. Level will be far below peak

7 7 Rockefeller Institute of Government Each of the last two quarters per Census (Jan-Mar and Apr-Jun) was worst for state government taxes in 5+ decades

8 8 Rockefeller Institute of Government Local taxes holding up better than state taxes, but have been weakening

9 9 Rockefeller Institute of Government Despite housing bust, for nation as a whole property tax continues to be far more stable than PIT and sales. (Some state-specific exceptions)

10 10 Rockefeller Institute of Government Recent tax collections Jan-Mar 2009 down 11.7% vs. year ago, sharpest decline in 50+ years of recorded data Apr-Jun even worse: Tax revenue down 17% July-Sep preliminary RIG data: Down in all 49 states for which we had data –Personal income tax (PIT): -11.3%, down in all 40 states with data –Corporate income tax (CIT): -17.5%, down in 38 of 44 states with data –General sales tax (GST): -8.8%, down in 43 of 44 states Oct: prelim data for 38 states, down 15.6%, down in 34 of 38; PIT -14%, CIT -6.3%, GST -10.5% Nov: federal taxes down 14% (partly legislation)

11 11 Rockefeller Institute of Government Preliminary Jul-Sep data: Total tax revenue down 11%. Down in all 49 reporting states.

12 12 Rockefeller Institute of Government Capital gains – what will happen to 2009 gains? Gains fell 46% in 2001 and again in 2002 (23%) Fell significantly (50+%?) in 2008 Stock market is up 17% since start of year, but YTD average value for 2009 is still about 29% below average for 2008 Estimated payments fell 31% in April (median); also fell in June. Large decline in Sept seems likely (Fed non-withheld down 28%) Many forecasters expect 2 nd decline in 2009 Additional uncertainty about gains in 2010 due to federal tax law changes

13 13 Rockefeller Institute of Government Why doesnt economic recovery feel like fiscal recovery? Sales taxes & withholding nearly contemporaneous with underlying economic activity so payment lags for these major sources are NOT the source of a fiscal lag Employment can lag GDP recovery; so can non-wage income (see next slide) Capital gains, after a crash, can recover sharply and still be far below their prior peak. And some (not all) tax payments on capital gains and other nonwage income can lag the income – e.g., in April-June 2011 taxpayers will settle up on gains earned in 2010 Pension contributions will be increasing as the economy is recovering, creating fiscal pressure Medicaid costs rising Fiscal lag, in part, is perception and policy choice - spending rarely declines along with tax revenue, and states patch the gaps. Even after tax revenue starts growing from its trough, it can take years to reach its prior peak. So when tax revenue resumes growth it does not feel like fiscal recovery.

14 14 Rockefeller Institute of Government Wages and consumption of goods – important to state revenue – have recovered more slowly than GDP in most recessions

15 15 Rockefeller Institute of Government Taxes can take 3-5 or more years to re-attain prior peak (absent tax increases)

16 16 Rockefeller Institute of Government Hard to catch up with a crisis: Three consecutive years of shortfalls in last 2 recessions. Now?

17 17 Rockefeller Institute of Government Timing of policy response to the 2001 crisis

18 18 Rockefeller Institute of Government Historically, states face budget gaps and raise taxes well after recovery is underway

19 19 Rockefeller Institute of Government The cliff: Baseline gaps of >$100b re-emerge under high-gap assumptions (absent recurring budget actions)

20 20 Rockefeller Institute of Government Concluding comments & questions CBPP estimates $92+b of budget gaps for 2011, at least 37 states Shortfalls are still emerging in 2010 and 2011 projections may worsen Additional considerations Loss of federal stimulus OPEB and pensions Medicaid – demographic & cost pressures Tax structures On the other hand, we are nearing the point at which revenue will start to grow y-o-y – albeit will be far below prior peak Table Source: McNichol, Elizabeth and Johnson, Nicholas, Recession Continues to Batter State Budgets, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, November 19, 2009

21 Rockefeller Institute The Public Policy Institute of the State University of New York 411 State Street Albany, NY Donald J. Boyd, Senior Fellow

22 22 Rockefeller Institute of Government Appendix

23 23 Rockefeller Institute of Government A majority of states have begun cutting state government employment (although reductions are far smaller than in private sector)

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