The NCSL Blog


By Erica MacKellar

Fiscal year 2019 comes to a close for most states on June 30, and a majority of states already have their spending plan for fiscal year 2020 in place.

Budget illustrationThirty-five states have passed their next annual or biennial budget, and unlike in some past years, only a handful of states have extended their legislative session or called a special session to continue budget negotiations.

State revenue estimates for the coming year are stable, with few states anticipating revenue shortfalls. The strong position of state revenues has made budget negotiations easier for lawmakers in most states this year.

However, in 11 states the legislature has not yet approved a budget to submit to the governor, and, in a few states, there are some challenges to passing a budget on time.

Negotiations are still underway in Pennsylvania, which along with Illinois, had one of the longest budget impasses in history just a few years ago. Lawmakers in the Keystone State, however, are confident they can finish their work before the July 1 deadline.

Legislators in New Jersey have passed a $38.7 billion budget, but it is unclear if the state’s governor will approve the plan, which does not include some of his signature proposals or send the plan back to the legislature for further negotiation.

Alaska has also faced budgeting challenges in the past few years due to the volatility of oil prices. The Alaska legislature has completed its budget work for the year, but the plan is at risk of line-item cuts or an outright veto by the governor.   

It remains to be seen if any of the states still working on their budgets will miss their July 1 deadlines, but in general, it’s been a quiet year for state budget negotiations, with most state budgets passing without much rancor or fanfare.

Erica MacKeller is a senior policy specialist in NCSL's Fiscal Program.

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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.