Budget Blog

February 12, 2021 - News Flash

By Brian Sigritz posted 02-12-2021 01:54 PM

  

Alabama

Alabama’s governor released her fiscal year 2022 recommended budgets, proposing $7.66 billion for the Education Trust Fund, an increase of 6.11 percent over the current year, and $2.46 billion for the General Fund, a decrease of 1.26 percent. The budget proposals include a 2 percent pay raise for education and state employees, expansion of the pre-kindergarten program, increases for community colleges, and a $27 million increase for the Department of Corrections. In her State of the State address, the governor highlighted efforts to improve the prison system, support of three economic bills, and praised the resilience of the state during the pandemic. The state reallocated $72 million in CARES Act funds from counties and cities to the state’s unemployment trust fund.

 

Alaska
Alaska’s governor highlighted numerous proposals in his State of the State address, including a construction bond package, funding for public homeschooling, and efforts to strengthen the agricultural sector. The governor is proposing a change to the formula used to set this year’s dividend payment amounts, while continuing to call for additional checks to be paid out earlier in the year as a supplement to the smaller payments made last year. Determining the size of Alaska Permanent Fund dividends and how to address the state’s budget deficit will be the top concerns of this year’s legislative session. The administration plans to restart its public online government spending system.

 

Arizona
Arizona’s governor released a budget for fiscal 2022 focused on promoting economic recovery, with planned investments in K-12 education, public health, public safety, forestry management, infrastructure and tax relief. A judge ruled that the new income tax surcharge to increase education funding, passed by voters last November, can take effect. Committee lawmakers voted to restore some discretion to judges in sentencing determinations, though the bill would not eliminate all mandatory sentencing laws. State university research shows that the state’s economy is recovering, but very unevenly by job sector and by location within the state.

 

Arkansas

Arkansas’ general revenue collections in January increased by $68.3 million, or 10.4 percent, over the prior year and exceeded the April forecast by $128.8 million or 21.7 percent; net general revenue increased by 6.9 percent over the prior year and exceeded the forecast by 19.2 percent. In his State of the State address, the governor highlighted efforts to cut taxes, increase teacher pay and pass a hate crime bill. The proposal to increase the average teacher salary by $2,000 would cost $25 million through a newly created Teacher Salary Equalization categorical fund. The Senate approved a bill exempting federal and state unemployment benefits from state income taxes in 2020 and 2021. The state released a broadband mapping tool for consumers to identify service providers and for officials to locate expansion opportunities.

 

California
California's governor proposed a budget for fiscal 2022 calling for additional resources for public education, including funding to safely reopen schools and cover increased costs associated with the pandemic such as addressing learning loss. The budget calls for early action on certain one-time measures to bolster the state’s economic recovery, reopen schools safely, and directly support individuals and businesses most affected by the pandemic. While the state’s revenue estimates improved considerably compared to the severe revenue declines forecasted last spring, the state is anticipating annual deficits for the coming years. The governor signed a bill extending the state’s pandemic-related eviction moratorium through June 30.

 

Colorado
Colorado has collected more than $1.6 billion in tax revenue from marijuana sales since legalization in 2014, with sales exceeding $2 billion in 2020 for the first time. A coalition of business and government leaders will push for more transportation funding this session. The University of Colorado anticipates a budget shortfall due to the pandemic’s effects that will lead to permanent budget cuts next fiscal year. State lawmakers convened for an expedited first week of their regular session last month to consider bills related to pandemic relief and remote participation in legislative committee hearings, with plans to return in mid-February, due to COVID-19 safety precautions.


Connecticut
Connecticut’s governor’s proposed a budget for fiscal 2022-2023 would increase general fund spending by 2 percent in fiscal 2022 and 3.5 percent in fiscal 2023. The budget includes no broad-based tax increases nor changes to income or sales tax rates and would legalize internet gambling and recreational marijuana.  Projected budget gaps would be closed with additional funding from a federal stimulus, the improved economy, or partially using the rainy-day fund. The state is projecting an operating surplus of $137.6 million for fiscal 2021 representing 0.7 percent of the general fund. The governor announced an additional $40 million for acute care hospitals from Coronavirus Relief Funds which supplements over $980 million in direct federal funding received by the hospitals to date during the pandemic.

 

Delaware

Delaware’s governor released his proposed fiscal 2022 budget of $4.7 billion in operating funds, an increase of 3.5 percent in general funds, and $894 million in a capital improvement plan. The budget does not include any increase in taxes or fees, fully funds the rainy-day fund, and would set aside another $68 million to bring the extra reserve account to $131 million. A $50 million investment is being proposed in a new clean water trust fund and a new goal has been set for 40 percent of energy to come from renewable sources by 2035. The governor signed a bill which waives 2020 state income tax on unemployment benefits.

 

Florida

Florida’s governor proposed a $96.6 billion budget for fiscal year 2022, an increase of $4.3 billion over the current year budget driven by increased federal funds; the budget maintains a tuition freeze, increases funding for mental health and opioid abuse programs, increases K-12 education spending and creates a “Resilient Florida” program to focus on climate change. Legislative committees reviewed budget projections ahead of the session showing a projected $3.3 billion two-year revenue shortfall, including an estimated $2.75 billion deficit in fiscal year 2022. Lawmakers will review the state’s response to the pandemic, including challenges with the unemployment system.


Georgia

Georgia’s governor proposed a $27.2 billion budget for fiscal year 2022, an increase of $935 million; provisions include a $1,000 bonus to education workers, increasing Medicaid spending by nearly $400 million, and generally keeping state agency funding flat. The midyear budget for fiscal year 2021, which increases spending by $654 million and restores 60 percent of previous cuts to education spending, moved through the House and Senate. January state tax collections rose 7.5 percent over the prior year and through the first seven months of fiscal 2021 state collections were up 6.3 percent. The budget director told legislators the state should continue to use Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars to stabilize the state’s unemployment trust fund.

 

Hawaii
Hawaii’s governor called for the state to develop a more robust digital economy in his State of the State address, highlighting how hard the state’s tourism-based economy has been hit by the pandemic. State revenue is down nearly 10 percent from last year, and despite an improved revenue outlook compared to the prior forecast, the state does not expect to return to its pre-pandemic levels until the end of 2024. The governor informed the education agency that it will see a smaller budget cut than expected, due to additional federal funds and improved revenue projections. Lawmakers this session will consider spending cuts, tax increases and other measures to close the state’s budget shortfall.

 

Idaho
Idaho’s governor unveiled the state’s fiscal 2022 budget, which increases funding on public and higher education, invests in transportation, funds COVID-19 response efforts, and provides tax relief to individuals and businesses – priorities that were highlighted in the governor’s State of the State address. The governor withdrew a recommendation in his budget proposal to reduce general fund spending on Medicaid after news from the federal government that the enhanced federal matching rate would continue through calendar year 2021. State tax revenues continue to come in ahead of projections. The state schools chief is requesting a 3.8 percent increase for K-12 education spending, lower than the 4.8 percent increase recommended by the governor.

 

Illinois
Illinois’ governor, in an outline of his upcoming fiscal 2022 budget proposal, said he will continue to include $700 million in spending cuts begun this year, keep spending flat, close corporate tax loopholes, and not propose tax increases. The state’s fiscal gap was revised to $2.5 billion after the economy performed better than expected. The legislature, during its lame-duck session, passed criminal justice reform measures while other pieces of legislation are expected to be reconsidered in future sessions. Illinois public schools were awarded $2.2 billion in COVID-19 relief funding.

Indiana
Indiana’s governor proposed a budget for the next two years which includes increased funding for K-12, restores higher education spending cuts, and provides one-time funding for capital projects and broadband expansion. The governor is also proposing spending $700 million to pay off bond debt and reduce teacher pension obligations. In his State of the State address, the governor said the state is resilient and growing and called for expanding workforce development programs, improving the state's housing supply, supporting efforts to turn abandoned rail lines into bike trails, and allocating $100 million to expand rural broadband internet access throughout the state. The legislature is considering a series of education bills and possible increases to cigarette taxes.

Iowa
Iowa’s governor proposed an $8.1 billion budget for fiscal 2022 that increases spending by 3.7 percent and funds priorities in broadband expansion, K-12, higher education, and mental health programs for adults and children. In her State of the State address, the governor discussed plans to improve social justice, defend law enforcement, expand broadband, and return students to school full-time. The state Senate passed a 2.2 percent K-12 funding increase and the legislature is considering bills regarding child care, cellphones while driving, and abortion restrictions, among other measures.

Kansas
Kansas’ governor released her fiscal 2022 budget proposal which includes expanding Medicaid, refinancing the state’s pension system, a pay raise for state employees, expanding substance abuse treatment in prisons, additional funding for higher education, and maintaining K-12 funding. The governor also proposed expanding sales taxes to digital goods and online streaming services. In her State of the State address, the governor called for bipartisanship, discussed steps to address COVID-19, and called for expanding Medicaid; the governor has called for legalizing medical marijuana to pay for Medicaid expansion. The legislature has been considering tax cut proposals, which the governor has opposed. The legislature has also considered a series of other bills including ones focused on drug treatment and expanding a private school scholarship program.

Kentucky
Kentucky lawmakers extended the legislative session by 22 additional meeting days and must pass a one-year budget during this year’s 30-day session. The governor introduced his “Better Kentucky Budget” in January which provides $48 million in federal CARES Act funds to those waiting to receive unemployment benefits and those who made too little to quality for the federal Lost Wages Assistance program. It includes pay raises for teachers, classified school staff, state workers, and local and state law enforcement and firefighters. The proposal adds social workers for child protective services; investments in school construction, infrastructure, and broadband; the creation of a “Better Kentucky Promise” program aimed at helping Kentuckians complete associates degrees or secure certificates; and the transfer of $100 million to the state’s Rainy Day Fund. The governor also urged lawmakers to quickly pass a separate virus relief bill containing aid for small businesses and nonprofit organizations, as well as repayment of a federal loan for unemployment insurance.


Louisiana
Louisiana’s revenue estimating conference projects the state’s tax collections will grow in the coming fiscal year, although not enough to offset the $800 million in federal aid used to balance the budget for the current fiscal year. This is $228 million below the previous forecast, and represents $223 million less than the state collected last year. Louisiana’s current fiscal year collections have been higher than expected, and as a result, the state has a $293 million surplus to help offset the shortfall. The $270 million surplus from the previous year must, under the Constitution, be directed to the state rainy day fund, to pay down state retirement debt, and to be spent on other constitutionally-allowed one-time expenses. Legislators are examining the possibility of a gas tax increase. The governor spoke against the President’s plan to pause oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico.


Maine
Maine’s governor released her $8.4 billion budget proposal for fiscal 2022-2023 that would increase spending by less than one percent and would add $61 million to the budget stabilization fund and $25.5 million to a Medicaid stabilization fund. The state’s Medicaid expansion enrollment increased from 45,049 in March 2020 to 70,689 in January 2021 with rising unemployment driving the increase. The governor proposes that for businesses receiving $1 million or less from the Paycheck Protection Program, funds would not be treated as taxable income and any allowable associated expenses would also be deductible.


Maryland
Maryland’s governor released a $49.35 billion budget for fiscal year 2022 that increases spending for education, does not include widespread layoffs or furloughs, and leaves a rainy day fund balance of $991 million. Legislators amended and advanced the governor’s RELIEF Act, an approximately $1.1 billion bill that provides direct assistance to families and individuals and aid to businesses. The House overrode the governor’s veto of a comprehensive education package that when fully phased in would cost an additional $4 billion in fiscal 2030; the chamber also voted to override the veto of a digital products sales tax to help pay for the initiative. The governor announced $30 million in coronavirus relief to approximately 90 entertainment venues in the state to help offset lost revenue during the pandemic.


Massachusetts
Massachusetts’ governor released his proposed fiscal 2022 budget recommending $45.6 billion in gross spending, a decrease of 0.7 percent over fiscal 2021 projected spending, excluding a transfer to the Medical Assistance Trust Fund and authorizes a withdrawal of up to $1.6 billion from the stabilization fund. The state’s consensus revenue forecast for fiscal 2022 of $30.1 billion, represents 3.5 percent growth in tax revenue over adjusted fiscal 2021 projected revenue of $29.1 billion. The adjusted fiscal 2021 revenue collections estimate incorporates a $700 million upgrade of projected state tax revenues based upon current year-to-date revenues and economic data. Preliminary revenue collections through January totaled approximately $17.7 billion, which is $764 million or 4.5 percent more than collections in the prior year.


Michigan
Michigan’s governor released her fiscal 2022 budget proposal calling for $67 billion in total spending and includes additional funds for K-12, tuition assistance, infrastructure spending, and aid for the unemployed, while increasing the size of the rainy day fund and not increasing taxes. The governor said her budget request should be considered in conjunction with an earlier proposed $5.6 billion COVID-19 recovery plan targeted at schools and businesses. The legislature has been considering their own coronavirus relief bills. In her State of the State address, the governor spoke about the resiliency of the state, while also calling for continued efforts to address COVID-19 and finding common ground. The state recently legalized sports betting which could generate $8 billion a year.

Minnesota
Minnesota’s governor released his two-year budget proposal that includes small business aid, assistance for working families impacted by COVID-19, programs to help students get caught up after a year of mostly distance learning, and other initiatives to help the state recover from the pandemic. The governor also proposed a series of new revenue measures including increasing some taxes on upper income individuals, capital gains, corporate tax rates, foreign income, estate taxes, and smoking and vaping, while providing working families tax credits and tax credits for angel investors; some in the legislature have stated their opposition. Lawmakers are considering legalizing sports betting and marijuana legalization.  

Mississippi
Mississippi’s governor renewed his call for eliminating the state’s personal income tax in his State of the State address, while also saying he would sign legislation to increase teacher pay and vowing to vaccinate people against the coronavirus as quickly as possible. The Senate cleared the bill increasing salaries for certified teachers, with amounts dependent on years of experience, while another bill would create a loan repayment program to help recruit teachers, especially in areas with critical needs. With a court challenge pending, the state is moving forward to meet an August 15 deadline for a medical marijuana program approved by ballot initiative.


Missouri
Missouri’s governor released a $34.1 billion budget proposal for fiscal 2022 that includes no tax increases, merit pay raises for state employees, steady funding for K-12, restoring higher education to pre-pandemic levels, a series of initiatives regarding workforce development, funding for various infrastructure proposals, and funding of voter approved Medicaid expansion. In his State of the State address, the governor discussed steps the state has taken to address COVID-19, and also spoke about the need to increase workforce development, strengthen public safety, improve health care, make state government more accountable, and reform early childhood education programs.  The legislature has been considering bills to increase the gas tax, legalize sports gambling, and make changes to K-12 funding.

Montana
Montana’s new governor delivered his first State of the State address, which highlighted key priorities of his first budget released last month, including tax proposals to increase the state’s competitiveness, as well as provide relief to small businesses and low-income residents; efforts to combat substance abuse; and plans to increase teacher pay. Lawmakers are considering expanding a program that uses coal tax trust funds to provide loans for affordable housing. The legislature voted to reduce state agencies’ initial appropriation authority to spend federal money provided in the December relief bill.


Nebraska
Nebraska’s governor outlined his two-year budget proposal in his State of the State address and called for limiting state spending growth to 1.5 percent, property tax relief, expanding broadband, and building a new state prison to help address overcrowding. The governor and legislature have been debating the appropriate measure to trigger property tax relief. The legislature is also considering how to implement legalized gambling following voter approval of casinos. Additionally, lawmakers are considering private school scholarships funded by state tax credits.

Nevada
Nevada’s governor proposed a biennial budget for fiscal 2022-2023, which would reduce general fund spending by $187 million compared to the current biennial plan, which was already revised downward in special session last year. The budget includes proposed cuts to K-12 and higher education and increased funding to cover rising Medicaid costs. In his State of the State address, the governor outlined a series of economic development and recovery initiatives to create new jobs and diversify the state’s tourism-dependent economy.


New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s tax receipts for January totaled $181.4 million, about $30 million above projections and $43.3 million more than the prior year with the state collecting $41.9 million in business taxes in January, $13.5 million more than estimates, and $18.5 million more than the prior year. The state could receive up to $200 million for rental assistance from the federal stimulus bill enacted in December. In his upcoming budget proposal, the governor plans to propose tax reductions including reducing the rooms and meals tax and the business enterprise tax.


New Jersey
New Jersey’s total collections through December of $14.67 billion are up $783.0 million, or 5.6 percent, above the same six months last year. The state will match the federal government’s handling of the Paycheck Protection Program loans, exempting the portion of a loan that is forgiven from state gross income and corporation business taxes and allowing businesses to deduct expenses paid for with a forgiven loan’s proceeds. The state is expected to receive an additional $300 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement for National Guard costs and purchase of personal protective equipment and other supplies in addressing the pandemic.

 

New Mexico
New Mexico’s governor released a $7.3 billion general fund spending proposal for fiscal 2022, which includes $475 million for additional relief to individuals and businesses affected by the pandemic. The budget proposal keeps agency budgets largely flat, while recommending investments in broadband, public schools, behavioral health and other priorities, as highlighted in her State of the state address. The legislative finance committee proposed a similar but slightly larger spending plan. The state Senate this week approved a pandemic relief package, sending it to the House for consideration. A federal moratorium on new oil and natural gas leases and permits is expected to have significant impacts on the state’s revenues over time.

 

New York
New York’s governor’s proposed fiscal 2022 budget would total $192.9 billion in all funds and $103.4 billion in state operating funds, and would provide $31.7 billion in school aid. The governor presented two budget options, depending on the level of funding the federal government provides. The budget includes $6 billion in new federal aid apportioned evenly over two years, with $3 billion in both fiscal 2022 and fiscal 2023. The state pension fund has rebounded to almost $22 billion above its value before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, according to the state comptroller.


North Carolina
North Carolina lawmakers passed a COVID-19 relief bill that funds $95 million for vaccine distribution and $1.6 billion for schools to safely reopen, extends the deadline for parents to apply for $335 checks to offset remote learning costs, and provides funds for broadband expansion and rental assistance. Enrollment in traditional public schools was down sharply as of last school year while charter school enrollment was up by 8,424 students and policymakers expect to see an increase for home-schooling and private schools. A state-appointed commission recommended the state transportation department should increase its budget by 40 percent to maintain and operate its transportation system.


North Dakota
North Dakota’s legislature adopted a revenue forecast that assumes oil tax revenue will be approximately 15 percent less than the current two-year budget. The governor is recommending doubling funding for addiction counseling. Lawmakers are considering raising the state’s gas tax. The legislature is also considering a series of K-12 reform bills impacting teacher negotiations and private school funding, with some teachers opposing the measures. Other issues being considered by the legislature include addressing bonding, paid family leave, and state employee pay raises.

Ohio
Ohio’s governor released a $74.5 billion two-year budget proposal, an increase from $69 billion in the current budget, that restores K-12 spending to pre-pandemic levels, increases wraparound support services for students, includes his H2Ohio water protection plan, maintains the rainy day fund at current levels, and contains no tax increases; the budget does contain increases in vehicle registration fees and auto title fees which would go to the state Highway Patrol. The governor also proposed a $1 billion COVID-19 recovery plan partly funded by federal dollars that includes aid for small businesses, bars and restaurants, and other businesses, broadband access, promoting Ohio, and workforce development. Earlier the governor announced a reversal of some prior  education cuts and asked school districts to come up with plans to address COVID-19 learning loss by April 1. The legislature is considering differing revenue forecasts from the state budget office and the Legislative Service Commission, with the budget office projecting less revenue.

Oklahoma
Oklahoma’s governor proposed an $8.3 billion budget for fiscal year 2022, an increase of $500 million over the current year’s approved budget; the budget funds the required Medicaid expansion, increases funds for the Commerce Department and Quick Action Closing Fund, and transfers $300 million to the Revenue Stabilization Fund. In his State of the State address, the governor also pushed for in-person learning across the state, celebrated successes in COVID-19 testing availability and vaccine roll-out, and highlighted the need to respond to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma. The state Health Care Authority Board approved spending up to $2.1 billion on contracts with managed care organizations to cover the expanded Medicaid program.

 

Oregon
Oregon could face a $1.6 billion budget gap for the upcoming biennium due to rising spending pressures, wildfires, and reduced tax collections, while legislative committees are working on proposals to cut state agency funding between 5 and 7 percent. In her State of the State address, Oregon’s governor highlighted key priorities including promoting racial equity, safely reopening schools, her wildfire response plan, and proposals to expand broadband and increase health care funding, many of which are expected to be top issues this legislative session.

 

Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s governor’s proposed fiscal 2022 budget of $96.7 billion in total funds and $37.8 billion in general funds includes an increase of $1.35 billion in basic education aid and would increase the personal income tax rate and expand exemptions for lower-wage earners. Fiscal year-to-date general fund collections total $21.2 billion, which is $307.4 million, or 1.5 percent, above estimate. The state’s Medicaid enrollment increased 10.6 percent to 3.1 million from February to November 2020. The governor signed a $912 million COVID-19 relief bill to send aid to restaurants, renters and schools. The governor announced the opportunity for one-time, $600 grants for childcare workers. Casinos and other gambling operators reported a drop in 2020 revenue of more than one-fifth from the previous year.


Rhode Island
Rhode Island legislative leaders are advocating to make a program permanent that offers two years of free tuition for community college that is set to expire with the class entering in September. The state could be facing a $513.7 million budget deficit in fiscal 2022 if expenditures continue to grow as projected and one-time federal funding is no longer available to plug state general revenue expenditures, according to an analysis by the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC). The governor, in her State of the State, discussed accomplishments over the past six years and said the state is on the right path in tackling COVID-19.


South Carolina
South Carolina’s governor released an $8.9 billion general fund budget for fiscal year 2022 that funds $123 million in grants to small businesses, $48 million to expand full day 4K programs statewide, $35 million in classroom aid, and places $500 million in the rainy day fund. In his State of the State address the governor called for placing the health department under direct control of the governor’s office, thanked legislators for freezing state government spending last year, and highlighted his budget proposal. The House approved a plan to restore step raises for almost all teachers, following Senate action in September. Lawmakers advanced a bill that spends $208 million from state surplus dollars to speed up COVID-19 vaccination efforts.


South Dakota
South Dakota’s governor, in her State of the State address, highlighted the state’s economic performance, discussed workforce development and job development initiatives, and called for banning abortions based on a Down Syndrome diagnosis. The governor also recently called for using $125 million in one-time funds to reduce state debt and improve infrastructure. The legislature is expected to consider COVID-19 relief and teacher pay in the current session. A judge recently struck down a voter-approved measure legalizing adult-use marijuana, but lawmakers are continuing to move forward with a series of cannabis-related bills.

Tennessee
Tennessee’s governor released a $41.8 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2022; the budget increases spending for K-12 education by $341.6 million; business and rural development spending by $472.6 million; TennCare and new social services by $181.5 million; and funds a 4 percent raise for state employees while adding $50 million to the rainy day fund. In his State of the State address the governor highlighted the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and unveiled his budget proposal. The governor signed a $110 million package of bills passed in a special session focused on education that addresses the state’s low literacy rates, standardized testing and teacher pay.

 

Texas

Texas’ governor released a budget for fiscal years 2022-2023 that does not raise taxes, with priorities including ensuring access to COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics; increasing the availability of teleservices and expanding access to broadband; and addressing learning loss due to the pandemic. The state comptroller announced lawmakers will have an estimated $112.5 billion available to allocate for general-purpose spending in the next biennial budget, down slightly from the $112.96 billion current budget. Transportation revenues saw a decline of $1.9 billion during the current budget period as lawmakers get ready to craft a new biennial budget. In his State of the State address the governor identified priorities including broadband expansion statewide, ensuring police departments are funded, and election integrity. 

 

Utah
Utah’s new governor released his first budget, which calls for increasing K-12 education spending, investments in rural infrastructure and broadband, and funding for workforce training and pandemic response efforts, while leaving $80 million reserved for tax credits to help low- and middle-income senior citizens as well as families with dependents. The governor outlined his priorities, including addressing educational inequities and increasing infrastructure investments, in his first State of the State address. The legislature passed base budget bills early in the session, including an education bill that restores a per pupil funding increase that was cut last year, provides funds to cover inflation and enrollment growth, and pays for one-time teacher bonuses.

 

Vermont
Vermont’s governor’s proposed fiscal 2022 budget of $6.83 billion includes a $210 million package of one-time spending initiatives intended to strengthen the state’s COVID-19 recovery. The budget, which does not include new taxes or fees, would allocate a total of $4.6 billion in state spending, including $1.99 billion in the general fund and $1.89 billion on PreK-Grade 12 education. Tax revenues are expected to come in $254 million higher this year than projected in August though the general fund is still expected to take in $23 million less in the current fiscal year than analysts had estimated a year ago. 


Virginia

Virginia lawmakers are in disagreement on how to address the treatment of deducting business expenses from forgiven Paycheck Protection Program loans; the administration estimates a full deduction could cost the state up to $900 million over multiple years. The General Assembly will meet in a special session to focus on budget items and pandemic response. In his State of the Commonwealth address the governor outlined plans to legalize marijuana, increase teacher salaries, and address racial disparities. Community college enrollment dropped 4.6 percent from last year, with some campuses seeing double-digit decreases.


Washington
Washington’s governor delivered his third inaugural address, highlighting the state’s pandemic response efforts so far and next steps to promote the state’s robust and equitable economic recovery, including job training, addressing student learning loss, and affordable housing, with a continued focus on combatting climate change. Washington’s legislature approved a bipartisan bill to provide $2.2 billion for COVID-19 relief and response efforts, largely funded with federal money from the December relief bill. State lawmakers have introduced a bill to increase the state gas tax by 18 cents over two years; earlier last month, the state transportation agency said it is facing a $1.3 billion revenue shortfall.

 

West Virginia
West Virginia’s January General Fund revenue collections were 1.6 percent above prior-year receipts. Year-to-date collections are $173.8 million above estimates partly due to the delay of the 2020 tax filing deadline; without it, state revenue would be $77 million below the prior year. In his State of the State address, the governor proposed a phased-in repeal of the state income tax with an initial 50 percent cut. The $1 billion reduction in revenue would be partially offset by a 1.5 percent increase in the state sales tax, elimination of sales tax exemptions for professional services, tax hikes on cigarettes and soft drinks, and other tax increases. The governor’s proposed budget totals $4.569 billion, a reduction of $4.8 million from current levels, and does not account for the proposed tax changes. More than 62,000 West Virginians signed up for the state’s COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration system; the governor announced that West Virginia is the first state to use the technology.


Wisconsin
Wisconsin governor’s upcoming two-year budget proposal is expected to include additional aid for the agriculture industry and farmers, $150 million for mental health services, reduced prescription drug prices, expanding Medicaid, family leave initiatives, and legalizing marijuana, among other measures. The legislature is considering cutting taxes for businesses that received PPP loans. Additionally, the legislature is debating how to handle COVID-19 relief measures. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau increased its revenue forecast from November partly due to the recently passed federal COVID-19 relief measure and the rollout of vaccines.

Wyoming

Wyoming’s joint appropriations committee advanced a budget that would reduce general fund spending to 25 percent less than its level a decade earlier, adjusting for inflation. The school finance legislative committee advanced a proposal to cut $100 million in K-12 education funding along with a provision to boost state sales taxes. The governor announced a series of initiatives to strengthen the state’s energy, tourism and agricultural sectors, and also unveiled a plan for higher education focused on economic diversity. Some state officials have raised concerns about how the federal moratorium on new oil and gas leases will affect the state budget. The governor endorsed a bill that would simplify the state’s multiple spending and savings accounts.