The NCSL Blog


By Jeff Hurley

State and local government finances have made slow improvements the past several years.

Did you know that:

  • 39 states exceeded their FY 2015 revenue projections, and most states expect to meet or exceed their FY 2016 revenue projections.
  • Between 2009 and 2014, every state made changes to pension benefit levels, contribution rate structures, or both.
  • Over the last 10 years, states and localities have invested $3.5 trillion in infrastructure through long-term, tax-exempt municipal bonds, more than double the amount of infrastructure funding provided by the federal government.
  • Bankruptcy is not a legal option for state sovereign entities, as states have taxing authority and constitutional or statutory requirements to balance their budgets.

This information and more is included in the annual State and Local Fiscal Facts: 2016, released earlier this month by NCSL and other national state and local organizations, including the National Governors Association, the Council of State Governments, and the National Association of Counties, among others.

In recent years, federal legislation has been introduced to modify the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds, mandate burdensome reporting requirements and interfere with state revenue streams. This updated fact sheet aims to set the record straight when it comes to the misinformation and misperceptions of state and local finances.

Jeff Hurley is committee director for the Budgets and Revenue Committee in NCSL’s Washington, D.C., office.

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About the NCSL Blog

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.