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May 2, 2013

Economic Recovery Stubbornly Slow for States in FY 2013

States report stable fiscal conditions, but uncertainty lingers

DENVER—States continue to move along a familiar path of slow and steady growth as the four-year anniversary of the official end of the Great Recession approaches, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) newly released report, “State Budget Update: Spring 2013.”

While no strong indication exists that states are entering a robust recovery phase, the general outlook among legislative fiscal 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.

“While revenue collections met or exceeded expectations in most states, performance was uneven across the major tax categories,” said Arturo Perez, director of NCSL’s fiscal program. “For example, states reported an increase in collections of personal income and real estate transfer taxes, but revenues from sales taxes were not as strong.”

The "State Budget Update" 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:

  • State revenue performance
  • Areas of spending over budget
  • Impacts of sequestration on state budgets
  • A summary of state fiscal situations

“Overall, the report shows an upbeat assessment of state fiscal conditions, but a cloud of uncertainty still hangs over state finances,” said William Pound, executive director of NCSL. “State officials are concerned about how state revenues will be affected by federal government spending reductions in both defense and non-defense programs.”

This NCSL budget report continues NCSL's long tradition of providing accurate, comprehensive and nonpartisan data on state finances. Credentialed members of the media may receive a free full copy of NCSL's "State Budget Update: Spring 2012.” The link to the report provided in this release does not contain links to the detailed 50-state tables. Please contact the press room to obtain a complete copy of NCSL's budget report. This report is also available for purchase in NCSL's bookstore.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.