NEW YORK Dec 24 U.S. state budgets appear to be
stabilizing, budget gaps are rare and policymakers have more
flexibility to deal with over-spending and unexpected one-off
costs, the National Conference of State Legislatures said in a
report distributed on Tuesday.
State budgets have been recovering modestly in the 4-1/2
years since the financial crisis but slow economic growth means
there is little room for major new policy initiatives, according
to the bipartisan group that serves state governments
"More than two-thirds of legislative fiscal directors
described their state fiscal situation as stable," said the
report, which was dated Monday. "Common terms were 'stable with
slow growth' and 'moderately positive'".
The report, based on state budget data collected during the
fall of 2013, found that revenue collections have "met or
exceeded expectations in most states" and that "nearly all
states are optimistic that they will meet their revenue targets
for the rest of the fiscal year."
The four states where revenues are unlikely to meet targets
were Alaska, Indiana, Tennessee and West Virginia. Eight states
said they would likely exceed revenue targets. Those were
Arkansas, Georgia, Maine, Mississippi, North Dakota, South
Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.