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By Todd Haggerty

Driven by improving revenues and expenditures that were generally on target, states entered fiscal year (FY) 2014 in better fiscal shape than they have been in years according to NCSL's just-released "State Budget Actions FY 2013 and FY 2014." Despite this good news, lawmakers remain cautious about the budget outlook for the year ahead as officials are uncertain about the sustainability of the stronger revenue growth rates experienced last year.

Revenue forecasts for the current year reflect this concern and indicate states are likely to continue along a path of slow and steady revenue growth that has distinguished the current economic recovery from previous recoveries. Additionally, spending needs are expected to outpace revenue growth. As a result, state lawmakers continue to face numerous challenges.

The report  presents general fund budget information for the 50 states the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It summarizes state finances for fiscal year 2013 and provides the outlook for fiscal year 2014. Based on a 2013 survey of legislative fiscal offices, the report provides a snapshot of state fiscal conditions and serves as an indicator of state fiscal trends.

Fiscal highlights in FY 2013 and FY 2014 are:

  • State general fund revenues grew by 5.3 percent in FY 2013. FY 2014 revenue growth is projected at 1.3 percent.
  • General fund expenditures increased by 4.4 percent in FY 2013. FY 2014 appropriations are budgeted to grow 3.9 percent.
  • FY 2013 year-end balances rose 22.8 percent above the prior year level, but are expected to decline 11.7 percent by the close of FY 2014.
  • Higher education and Medicaid received the largest percentage increase in FY 2014 appropriations.

Download the report here.

Todd Haggerty is a policy specialist, NCSL Fiscal Affairs Program.

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This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.

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