Read a rundown on the top public policy issues facing state lawmakers in 2015, state-private sector partnerships for infrastructure, e-cigarettes and taxes and dealing with cuts to mental health programs.
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As the four-year anniversary of the official end of the Great Recession approaches, no strong indication exists that states are entering a robust recovery phase. Rather, states continue to move along the same path of slow and steady growth that gradually has brought them out of the economic nadir. The general outlook from state officials is one of stability, with a dose of uncertainty, as states continue to plod their way through an extended economic recovery.
There are some exceptions. A small, but increasing, number of states report moderate to strong fiscal conditions resulting in budget surplus projections. Only a few states find themselves on the other end of the fiscal spectrum, with continuing budget difficulties.
Even with this upbeat assessment of state fiscal conditions, uncertainty still hovers over state finances, as the impact of federal sequestration remains unclear. Some state officials are concerned about how federal fiscal policy could affect state revenues as federal government spending is reduced in both defense and non-defense program areas.
This report is based on data collected in the spring of 2013 from legislative fiscal officers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It includes information on:
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