JANUARY 3–6, 2019

The State of the State Budgets for 2019

Corina Eckl Mulder

Consultant and former Director
Leaders Services
National Conference of State Legislatures

The January Forum featured Corina Eckl Mulder's annual “State of the State” budgets, which examines each State’s balance sheet and invites Senators to comment on the details. Ms. Mulder’s intimate knowledge of State budgets make this presentation a perennial favorite, especially as budget news continues to improve. She reported that most states expect to reach or exceed their revenue projections, that State spending has been stable, and State year-end balances are growing.

Economic UPSIDE

In their revenue outlooks for 2019, 40 States expect to meet or exceed forecast and only 5 States anticipate failing to meet 2019 revenue forecasts. In 2018, only 7 States made mid-year budget reductions due to shortfalls, a further indication of strong financial performances. Sales and income tax collections have increased, year-end balances are strong, and most States have strengthened Rainy Day Funds, which have tripled since 2009 from $31B to $91B.

The US economy has been in expansion since June 2009, the national unemployment rate is 3.7%, a 50-year low, and the Consumer Sentiment Index is up. By these measures, the economy is strong, stable, and improving. If the current expansion continues through June 2019, this will be the longest expansion in history.

BUT…

Despite these positive signs, financial markets are volatile and sentiment has weakened, a festering trade war between the US and China faces a March 2 deadline on its 90-day truce, and a broader global slow down presages slowing of US growth and a slide toward recession. Quoting Duke University’s CFO Global Business Outlook Survey from December, 2018, Ms. Mulder noted: “Nearly half (48.6%) of US Chief Financial Officers believe that the US will be in recession by the end of 2019, and 82% believe that a recession will have begun by the end of 2020.”

In the days following the Forum meeting, the on-going government shutdown entered its fourth week, further contributing to concerns about a slowing economy. Government estimates project that the shutdown reduces quarterly economic growth by 0.13 percentage points each week, losing nearly half a percentage point of growth from the four-week shutdown.

Ms. Mulder provided quotes on the States’ financial outlooks and invited the Senators to comment.

Connecticut

Ms. Mulder noted that The Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth produced a bleak assessment of Connecticut’s fiscal health indicating that the state is rapidly approaching a tipping point and recommended that the state shrink spending by $1B and impose no new taxes.

Senate President Martin Looney commented that the report was somewhat one-sided and countered with the expectation that the State will see a $2 million excess this year. However, he acknowledged that, historically, chronic underfunding of the state worker and teacher pensions plans, which are wholly State-funded, was a concern. However, during the past 8 years, Governor Malloy required spending appropriations for the pension fund.

The major problem is that 2% of Connecticut’s taxpayers account for 30% of State revenues, and when markets and dividends are volatile, the State is affected. The 50 wealthiest taxpayers in the State accounted for a drop of $200 million in income tax revenue. This led the Legislature to impose a “Volatility Cap,” limiting the budget and allocating the excess to the reserve, which now holds $2 billion, Sen. Looney said. Key improvements in the State’s fiscal outlook are coming from a modernized tax system, which expanded the base but did not raise taxes. In addition, legalized marijuana and a Sales Tax on Internet sales also contributed to the improved outlook, Sen. Looney concluded.

Rhode Island

Senate President Dominick Ruggerio reported that his State anticipates a deficit this year of $200 million. “We have a structural deficit that ultimately we have to fix." Meanwhile, personal income taxes and car taxes have been reduced. Proposals to bring in more revenue include sports gaming, including an APP to bet on sports from out of State, but facilities are still being developed. One possibility is to legalize recreational marijuana, like neighboring States, Sen. Ruggerio said.

Illinois

The Illinois budget has a structural deficit of more than $500 million, Senate President John Cullerton told the group. The State’s flat income tax at 4.95% and its Sales Tax revenues are not enough to fund services. There is no tax on retirement income, which represents a $2 million for retirees, but further strains the resources of the State.  An additional burden arises from a Constitutional clause that prohibits the State from reducing pensions, which it covers for State employees, and employees of universities, schools, and community colleges. Currently, the State is on a path to 90% funding of pensions.

Ohio

Ms. Mulder cited news reports that, through October, 2018, with eight months left in the fiscal year, Ohio tax collections were running $100.7 million, or 1.4%, ahead of projections. Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Peterson agreed and described the State’s finances as “stable.” He further commented that the State’s new Governor Mike DeWine, has served 48 years at all levels of government, and is well prepared to lead the State in determining its budget priorities.

Indiana

Senate President Pro Tempore Rodrick Bray reported that Indiana anticipates $350 million in new revenue. “Determining how to allocate the 11-12% surplus is a challenge,” Sen. Bray said, “and everyone has ideas about how to spend it.” However, he raised concerns about how to adequately fund the Department of Child Services, which has seen a huge spike in the number of children taken from their homes, more than in other States, partly due to the opioid crisis. The challenge is how to budget for child services, Sen. Bray said. However, Indiana always has a balanced budget, which adds to fiscal stability, he concluded.

Louisiana

Senate President John Alario reported progress from 2 years ago when the state faced a $2 billion shortfall. A 1 cent sales tax compensated for the shortage and has now been reduced to one-half cent. However, the state was falling behind in teachers’ salaries. Rather than reduce taxes, the legislature allocated the surplus to education.  The currently projected $150 to $200 million surplus will be allocated to teachers’ salaries, ensuring that better education will lead to a better future. Previously the budget was set by a unanimous vote by the Budget Board and was based on evidence. This year, an election year, politics is driving the budget not policy, he concluded.

Iowa

Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver reported that “cautious optimism” characterizes the fiscal mood in Iowa. The State anticipates 4.9% revenue growth in 2019 and 2% growth in 2020. Budget cuts were made in the last 2 years, and this keeps the legislature cautious so similar cuts will be avoided in the future. The challenge is anticipating how trade wars with China will impact Iowa’s agricultural economy. Iowa is the nation’s largest producer of eggs, corn, and pork. Senate President Charles Schneider agreed and added that in November 2018, when farmers approached banks for their annual loans, their credit worthiness was substantially less, reflecting the stress on the agricultural economy. The current priorities for Iowa focus on mental health, workforce development, and online sales tax, which increased, while property taxes declined.

Oklahoma

Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat said the State has a balanced budget requirement and requires a three-fourths vote to increase or add taxes. The State also has term limits. “Former legislators enacted a 0.25-point tax reduction at certain trigger points. Then they termed out, leaving the current legislature holding the bag,” Sen. Treat commented. However, he added, the financial picture is improving in Oklahoma, thanks to a recovering economy and tough choices made by the Legislature. Preliminary estimates project a $612 million surplus based on oil at 52.85 per barrel; however, projections on natural gas are less sanguine, ranging from increases of $160 million to decreases of $200 million, as prices fluctuate. K-12 education also poses an upcoming challenge. The State’s teachers walked out until a $6,000 per person increase in salary was negotiated. He concluded by noting that 12 State agencies consume 92% of the budget, so there is not a lot of flexibility.

New Mexico

Senate President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen said that her State heavily depends on revenues from oil and gas. She reported that a large find in the Permian Basin has created a bonanza for the State, and bills to spend that revenue are abundant. The US Geological Survey says the area may contain an estimated mean of 46.3 billion barrels of oil, 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.

Sen. Papen said setting the priorities for the new revenue requires a balancing act, between backfilling funding that was reduced when revenue was down, allocating finds for current needs, and planning for future spending. Funding education is a significant challenge for the State, which is 50th in the country and currently is under a court order to improve education by April, 2019. New Mexico’s Permanent Fund is among the largest in the US, and some legislators want to tap into this for education. However, solutions are hard to find for a poor State with extensive poverty and a large non-English-speaking school population, Sen. Papen advised.

Nevada

The Economic Forum projects a $500 million surplus for Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson reported. Taxes from gaming and recreational marijuana have exceeded expectations and are fueling the Rainy Day Fund, while some, including Sen. Atkinson, would like to see the surplus fund education. Additionally, the Raiders football team is relocating to Nevada bringing a team of millionaires to the state. Currently, Nevada is among the top three most rapidly growing States in the US.

On the downside, homelessness continues to be a recalcitrant problem in the State. Furthermore, there is a need to diversify the economy. Gaming is not recession proof, and the housing construction sector, which has seen housing price growth, has been hit hard by past recessions, with as many as 5,000 people moving out when recessions hit, Sen. Atkinson said, acknowledging that analysts predict a nationwide recession in 2020.

Hawaii

Senate President Ronald Kouchi told the Forum that the State budget provides all funding for schools, prisons, mental health, and the judiciary in Hawaii. Education was the biggest ticket item, until 2 budgets ago, when Human Services funding surpassed education. Hawaii has the oldest demographic of any State, with a life expectancy of 83, which requires that pensions last longer. Volatility in the stock market raises concerns that pension earnings may decrease from the 7% rate of return required to sustain the pension fund.

Fortunately, for the past 7 years, tourism spending and visits have increased, allowing the State to convert a $1.2 billion deficit in 2011 into the black by 2012, Sen. Kouchi reported. Conservative decisions from the Finance and Ways and Means Chairs have enabled the State to pay off unfunded liabilities and add to their Rainy Day Fund. The priorities for the future are a $17 minimum wage and legalized recreational marijuana, Sen. Kouchi said.

Oregon

Senate President Peter Courtney listed several challenges facing the legislature this year, including the perennial problems of funding the State Pension system and early childhood and K-12 education programs. While taxes on legalized marijuana use have been a boon to the State, there also are black market issues to contend with, he said.

Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick concurred and added that, while the situation is stable, there are some worrisome challenges. The entire tax system poses challenges for the State, she said, due to a Constitutional Amendment passed by initiative in the 1990s, which limits property taxes through restrictions on assessed valuation of property and property tax rates. As a result, Oregon is one of only two states that relies on a single source of revenue. Washington relies on its Sales Tax, and Oregon on its income tax. The Legislature is focused on creating a new income tax structure, as a property tax change would face Constitutional challenges, she concluded.

Arkansas

Senator Jonathan Dismang reported that the State’s economic outlook is looking very good and revenues will meet forecasts, as they have for several cycles. Based on the positive outlook, current proposals would gradually reduce the top individual income tax rate from 6.9% to 5.9% and reduce the number of individual income tax tables from three to one.  We have the revenue to meet our needs and give tax relief back to the public. The Senator commented that Arkansas’ recently developed Long-term Reserve (or Rainy Fund) now holds $129 Million.

Florida

Senate President William Galvano reported a positive outlook. The State’s economy is stable and has earned a AAA bond rating, unemployment is down, and taxes are being cut. Revenue is expected to increase by about $1 billion. Still some challenges will be faced. Costs related to Hurricane Michael exceed $1.1 billion and recovering emergency funds from the federal government is a slow process. Florida’s panhandle was hit hard by the hurricane damaging the timber industry, which takes years for growth to recover.  Citrus production is less than it was 10 years ago. Almost 800 people per day are incoming to the State, which brings additional challenges to provide services. These challenges will force us to be diligent in how we prioritize spending, he concluded.

Kansas

Senate President Susan Wagle reflected that the State is doing well today and is stable, after several years of ups and downs occasioned by the “March to Zero” tax plan, which sought to reduce taxes wherever a surplus occurred. Currently, schools represent 52% of the budget, and the Courts have mandated that the State increase funding for K-12. Newly elected Democratic Governor Laura Kelly wants to expand funding for education, but this may lead to a deficit, Sen. Wagle concluded.

Delaware

Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride reported that the State’s economy is doing well, with an anticipated additional $102 million in revenue this fiscal year. Six years ago the State faced an $800 million deficit, which was reduced by half within 2 years due to new taxes, Sen. McBride reported. The 21 member Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC), appointed by the Governor, develops the revenue and expenditure forecasts upon which Delaware's state budget is constructed. They are evaluating good ideas to ensure fiscal stability for the State, Sen. McBride concluded.

Massachusetts

Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Pacheco reported that the State has enjoyed a recent trend of strong overall revenue collections. Through November 2018, total tax revenue collections are $423M (4.1%) ahead of forecast. The economy looks very strong, but there are challenges ahead, Sen. Pacheco said. Big investments will be required in transportation to update the aging “T” subway system. There is bipartisan support for this. Some tax restructuring will be necessary, Sen. Pacheco said. The State has no gas tax and will need a “miles-driven tax” to collect sufficient revenue for transportation upgrades. Meanwhile, Boston is a very hot market and revenues are substantially up. Sports betting also is contributing to revenue increases. Recreational marijuana is legalized and is taxed at 17%. It is anticipated to bring in between $44 million and $82 million in marijuana tax revenue in the fiscal year of 2019, Sen. Pacheco said.

Utah

Senate President J. Stuart Adams said that Utah is enjoying strong growth both in population and in revenue. “Revenue can be a roller coaster,” Sen. Adams observed, “but we look at the trend line and spend below that. We’ll be prudent with those tax dollars.” Any surplus will fund transportation and building projects and will continue to strengthen the Rainy Day Fund.

North Carolina

Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger told the Forum that State revenues are up, but challenges remain, especially in infrastructure. “We have fallen behind on needed infrastructure. Our local governments have unmet needs as far as school construction,” Sen. Berger said. There is also a new political dynamic in the State, which now has a Democratic Governor and a Republican legislature. The Governor wants to expand Medicaid, a plan that the legislature resists, so there will be negotiations and debate, Sen. Berger said.

South Carolina

The outlook for South Carolina is very positive according to Sen. Tom Alexander. The State’s economists project that legislators will have an additional $458 million in (ongoing) tax dollars to work with plus $546 million for onetime spending in 2019-20. One lucky lottery winner is contributing $60 million to the State in income tax. This $1 billion surplus will enable the legislature to make significant investments for the State’s future, Sen. Alexander noted.

Kentucky

Senate President Pro Tempore Jimmy Higdon reported that the State’s faces a precarious financial position in regards to its pension systems, which have a $43 billion deficit. A plan to address the State’s unfunded pensions was rejected by the Courts. A newly organized Public Pensions Working Group has been charged with studying the "structure, costs, benefits and funding" of Kentucky's pension plans. The State has embarked on a 30-year commitment to fix the pension system, allocating 20% of the budget to the pension problem. In 2016, $2.3 billion went into the fund, $3.4 billion is committed for 2019, and $4.2 billion for 2020, Sen. Higdon said.

Summary

Summarizing the States’ overall fiscal situations, Ms. Mulder commented that State finances are stable with strong revenue collections on target or exceeding estimates in most States.

Speaker Biography

Corina Eckl Mulder

Corina Eckl Mulder is the Senate Liaison for the Senate Presidents’ Forum. She is well known to the Forum, having presented the Annual State of the States Review for many years. She developed expertise on state legislatures during her lengthy tenure on the staff of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Her NCSL responsibilities included planning training programs for top state legislative leaders, managing the conference’s core programs as director of State Services, and leading the Fiscal Affairs Program. She has written extensively on state budget issues and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times, USA Today, and The Christian Science Monitor, among others. She has appeared on CBS, CNBC, FOX, ABC, CNN, and spoken on the BBC and National Public Radio. She represented NCSL on assignments to Algeria, France, Germany, South Africa, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia. Corina holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado in Denver and a Bachelor of Arts degree from CU-Boulder.

...most states expect to reach or exceed their revenue projections, that State spending has been stable, and State year-end balances are growing.

Nearly half (48.6%) of US Chief Financial Officers believe that the US will be in recession by the end of 2019, and 82% believe that a recession will have begun by the end of 2020.

Sen. Martin Looney

Sen. Dominick Ruggerio

Sen. John Cullerton

Sen. Bob Peterson

Sen. Rodrick Bray

Sen. John Alario

Sen. Jack Whitver

Sen. Greg Treat

Sen. Mary Kay Papen

Sen. Kelvin Atkinson

Sen. Ronald Kouchi

Sen. Peter Courtney

Sen. Jonathan Dismang

Sen. William Galvano

Sen. Susan Wagle

Sen. David McBride

Sen. Marc Pacheco

Sen. J. Stuart Adams

Sen. Phil Berger

Sen. Tom Alexander

Sen. Jimmy Higdon

Sen. Corina Eckl Mulder

CONTACT

Senate Presidents’ Forum

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Tel: 914-693-1818

Copyright © 2019 Senate Presidents' Forum. All rights reserved.

JANUARY 3–6, 2019

The State of the State Budgets for 2019

Corina Eckl Mulder

Consultant and former Director
Leaders Services
National Conference of State Legislatures

The January Forum featured Corina Eckl Mulder's annual “State of the State” budgets, which examines each State’s balance sheet and invites Senators to comment on the details. Ms. Mulder’s intimate knowledge of State budgets make this presentation a perennial favorite, especially as budget news continues to improve. She reported that most states expect to reach or exceed their revenue projections, that State spending has been stable, and State year-end balances are growing.

...most states expect to reach or exceed their revenue projections, that State spending has been stable, and State year-end balances are growing.

Economic UPSIDE

In their revenue outlooks for 2019, 40 States expect to meet or exceed forecast and only 5 States anticipate failing to meet 2019 revenue forecasts. In 2018, only 7 States made mid-year budget reductions due to shortfalls, a further indication of strong financial performances. Sales and income tax collections have increased, year-end balances are strong, and most States have strengthened Rainy Day Funds, which have tripled since 2009 from $31B to $91B.

The US economy has been in expansion since June 2009, the national unemployment rate is 3.7%, a 50-year low, and the Consumer Sentiment Index is up. By these measures, the economy is strong, stable, and improving. If the current expansion continues through June 2019, this will be the longest expansion in history.

BUT…

Despite these positive signs, financial markets are volatile and sentiment has weakened, a festering trade war between the US and China faces a March 2 deadline on its 90-day truce, and a broader global slow down presages slowing of US growth and a slide toward recession. Quoting Duke University’s CFO Global Business Outlook Survey from December, 2018, Ms. Mulder noted: “Nearly half (48.6%) of US Chief Financial Officers believe that the US will be in recession by the end of 2019, and 82% believe that a recession will have begun by the end of 2020.”

Nearly half (48.6%) of US Chief Financial Officers believe that the US will be in recession by the end of 2019, and 82% believe that a recession will have begun by the end of 2020.

In the days following the Forum meeting, the on-going government shutdown entered its fourth week, further contributing to concerns about a slowing economy. Government estimates project that the shutdown reduces quarterly economic growth by 0.13 percentage points each week, losing nearly half a percentage point of growth from the four-week shutdown.

Ms. Mulder provided quotes on the States’ financial outlooks and invited the Senators to comment.

Connecticut

Sen. Martin Looney

Ms. Mulder noted that The Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth produced a bleak assessment of Connecticut’s fiscal health indicating that the state is rapidly approaching a tipping point and recommended that the state shrink spending by $1B and impose no new taxes.

Senate President Martin Looney commented that the report was somewhat one-sided and countered with the expectation that the State will see a $2 million excess this year. However, he acknowledged that, historically, chronic underfunding of the state worker and teacher pensions plans, which are wholly State-funded, was a concern. However, during the past 8 years, Governor Malloy required spending appropriations for the pension fund.

The major problem is that 2% of Connecticut’s taxpayers account for 30% of State revenues, and when markets and dividends are volatile, the State is affected. The 50 wealthiest taxpayers in the State accounted for a drop of $200 million in income tax revenue. This led the Legislature to impose a “Volatility Cap,” limiting the budget and allocating the excess to the reserve, which now holds $2 billion, Sen. Looney said. Key improvements in the State’s fiscal outlook are coming from a modernized tax system, which expanded the base but did not raise taxes. In addition, legalized marijuana and a Sales Tax on Internet sales also contributed to the improved outlook, Sen. Looney concluded.

Rhode Island

Sen. Dominick Ruggerio

Senate President Dominick Ruggerio reported that his State anticipates a deficit this year of $200 million. “We have a structural deficit that ultimately we have to fix." Meanwhile, personal income taxes and car taxes have been reduced. Proposals to bring in more revenue include sports gaming, including an APP to bet on sports from out of State, but facilities are still being developed. One possibility is to legalize recreational marijuana, like neighboring States, Sen. Ruggerio said.

Illinois

Sen. John Cullerton

The Illinois budget has a structural deficit of more than $500 million, Senate President John Cullerton told the group. The State’s flat income tax at 4.95% and its Sales Tax revenues are not enough to fund services. There is no tax on retirement income, which represents a $2 million for retirees, but further strains the resources of the State.  An additional burden arises from a Constitutional clause that prohibits the State from reducing pensions, which it covers for State employees, and employees of universities, schools, and community colleges. Currently, the State is on a path to 90% funding of pensions.

Ohio

Sen. Bob Peterson

Ms. Mulder cited news reports that, through October, 2018, with eight months left in the fiscal year, Ohio tax collections were running $100.7 million, or 1.4%, ahead of projections. Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Peterson agreed and described the State’s finances as “stable.” He further commented that the State’s new Governor Mike DeWine, has served 48 years at all levels of government, and is well prepared to lead the State in determining its budget priorities.

Indiana

Sen. Rodrick Bray

Senate President Pro Tempore Rodrick Bray reported that Indiana anticipates $350 million in new revenue. “Determining how to allocate the 11-12% surplus is a challenge,” Sen. Bray said, “and everyone has ideas about how to spend it.” However, he raised concerns about how to adequately fund the Department of Child Services, which has seen a huge spike in the number of children taken from their homes, more than in other States, partly due to the opioid crisis. The challenge is how to budget for child services, Sen. Bray said. However, Indiana always has a balanced budget, which adds to fiscal stability, he concluded.

Louisiana

Sen. John Alario

Senate President John Alario reported progress from 2 years ago when the state faced a $2 billion shortfall. A 1 cent sales tax compensated for the shortage and has now been reduced to one-half cent. However, the state was falling behind in teachers’ salaries. Rather than reduce taxes, the legislature allocated the surplus to education.  The currently projected $150 to $200 million surplus will be allocated to teachers’ salaries, ensuring that better education will lead to a better future. Previously the budget was set by a unanimous vote by the Budget Board and was based on evidence. This year, an election year, politics is driving the budget not policy, he concluded.

Iowa

Sen. Jack Whitver

Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver reported that “cautious optimism” characterizes the fiscal mood in Iowa. The State anticipates 4.9% revenue growth in 2019 and 2% growth in 2020. Budget cuts were made in the last 2 years, and this keeps the legislature cautious so similar cuts will be avoided in the future. The challenge is anticipating how trade wars with China will impact Iowa’s agricultural economy. Iowa is the nation’s largest producer of eggs, corn, and pork. Senate President Charles Schneider agreed and added that in November 2018, when farmers approached banks for their annual loans, their credit worthiness was substantially less, reflecting the stress on the agricultural economy. The current priorities for Iowa focus on mental health, workforce development, and online sales tax, which increased, while property taxes declined.

Oklahoma

Sen. Greg Treat

Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat said the State has a balanced budget requirement and requires a three-fourths vote to increase or add taxes. The State also has term limits. “Former legislators enacted a 0.25-point tax reduction at certain trigger points. Then they termed out, leaving the current legislature holding the bag,” Sen. Treat commented. However, he added, the financial picture is improving in Oklahoma, thanks to a recovering economy and tough choices made by the Legislature. Preliminary estimates project a $612 million surplus based on oil at 52.85 per barrel; however, projections on natural gas are less sanguine, ranging from increases of $160 million to decreases of $200 million, as prices fluctuate. K-12 education also poses an upcoming challenge. The State’s teachers walked out until a $6,000 per person increase in salary was negotiated. He concluded by noting that 12 State agencies consume 92% of the budget, so there is not a lot of flexibility.

New Mexico

Sen. Mary Kay Papen

Senate President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen said that her State heavily depends on revenues from oil and gas. She reported that a large find in the Permian Basin has created a bonanza for the State, and bills to spend that revenue are abundant. The US Geological Survey says the area may contain an estimated mean of 46.3 billion barrels of oil, 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.

Sen. Papen said setting the priorities for the new revenue requires a balancing act, between backfilling funding that was reduced when revenue was down, allocating finds for current needs, and planning for future spending. Funding education is a significant challenge for the State, which is 50th in the country and currently is under a court order to improve education by April, 2019. New Mexico’s Permanent Fund is among the largest in the US, and some legislators want to tap into this for education. However, solutions are hard to find for a poor State with extensive poverty and a large non-English-speaking school population, Sen. Papen advised.

Nevada

Sen. Kelvin Atkinson

The Economic Forum projects a $500 million surplus for Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson reported. Taxes from gaming and recreational marijuana have exceeded expectations and are fueling the Rainy Day Fund, while some, including Sen. Atkinson, would like to see the surplus fund education. Additionally, the Raiders football team is relocating to Nevada bringing a team of millionaires to the state. Currently, Nevada is among the top three most rapidly growing States in the US.

On the downside, homelessness continues to be a recalcitrant problem in the State. Furthermore, there is a need to diversify the economy. Gaming is not recession proof, and the housing construction sector, which has seen housing price growth, has been hit hard by past recessions, with as many as 5,000 people moving out when recessions hit, Sen. Atkinson said, acknowledging that analysts predict a nationwide recession in 2020.

Hawaii

Sen. Ronald Kouchi

Senate President Ronald Kouchi told the Forum that the State budget provides all funding for schools, prisons, mental health, and the judiciary in Hawaii. Education was the biggest ticket item, until 2 budgets ago, when Human Services funding surpassed education. Hawaii has the oldest demographic of any State, with a life expectancy of 83, which requires that pensions last longer. Volatility in the stock market raises concerns that pension earnings may decrease from the 7% rate of return required to sustain the pension fund.

Fortunately, for the past 7 years, tourism spending and visits have increased, allowing the State to convert a $1.2 billion deficit in 2011 into the black by 2012, Sen. Kouchi reported. Conservative decisions from the Finance and Ways and Means Chairs have enabled the State to pay off unfunded liabilities and add to their Rainy Day Fund. The priorities for the future are a $17 minimum wage and legalized recreational marijuana, Sen. Kouchi said.

Oregon

Sen. Peter Courtney

Senate President Peter Courtney listed several challenges facing the legislature this year, including the perennial problems of funding the State Pension system and early childhood and K-12 education programs. While taxes on legalized marijuana use have been a boon to the State, there also are black market issues to contend with, he said.

Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick concurred and added that, while the situation is stable, there are some worrisome challenges. The entire tax system poses challenges for the State, she said, due to a Constitutional Amendment passed by initiative in the 1990s, which limits property taxes through restrictions on assessed valuation of property and property tax rates. As a result, Oregon is one of only two states that relies on a single source of revenue. Washington relies on its Sales Tax, and Oregon on its income tax. The Legislature is focused on creating a new income tax structure, as a property tax change would face Constitutional challenges, she concluded.

Arkansas

Sen. Jonathan Dismang

Senator Jonathan Dismang reported that the State’s economic outlook is looking very good and revenues will meet forecasts, as they have for several cycles. Based on the positive outlook, current proposals would gradually reduce the top individual income tax rate from 6.9% to 5.9% and reduce the number of individual income tax tables from three to one.  We have the revenue to meet our needs and give tax relief back to the public. The Senator commented that Arkansas’ recently developed Long-term Reserve (or Rainy Fund) now holds $129 Million.

Florida

Sen. William Galvano

Senate President William Galvano reported a positive outlook. The State’s economy is stable and has earned a AAA bond rating, unemployment is down, and taxes are being cut. Revenue is expected to increase by about $1 billion. Still some challenges will be faced. Costs related to Hurricane Michael exceed $1.1 billion and recovering emergency funds from the federal government is a slow process. Florida’s panhandle was hit hard by the hurricane damaging the timber industry, which takes years for growth to recover.  Citrus production is less than it was 10 years ago. Almost 800 people per day are incoming to the State, which brings additional challenges to provide services. These challenges will force us to be diligent in how we prioritize spending, he concluded.

Kansas

Sen. Susan Wagle

Senate President Susan Wagle reflected that the State is doing well today and is stable, after several years of ups and downs occasioned by the “March to Zero” tax plan, which sought to reduce taxes wherever a surplus occurred. Currently, schools represent 52% of the budget, and the Courts have mandated that the State increase funding for K-12. Newly elected Democratic Governor Laura Kelly wants to expand funding for education, but this may lead to a deficit, Sen. Wagle concluded.

Delaware

Sen. David McBride

Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride reported that the State’s economy is doing well, with an anticipated additional $102 million in revenue this fiscal year. Six years ago the State faced an $800 million deficit, which was reduced by half within 2 years due to new taxes, Sen. McBride reported. The 21 member Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC), appointed by the Governor, develops the revenue and expenditure forecasts upon which Delaware's state budget is constructed. They are evaluating good ideas to ensure fiscal stability for the State, Sen. McBride concluded.

Massachusetts

Sen. Marc Pacheco

Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Pacheco reported that the State has enjoyed a recent trend of strong overall revenue collections. Through November 2018, total tax revenue collections are $423M (4.1%) ahead of forecast. The economy looks very strong, but there are challenges ahead, Sen. Pacheco said. Big investments will be required in transportation to update the aging “T” subway system. There is bipartisan support for this. Some tax restructuring will be necessary, Sen. Pacheco said. The State has no gas tax and will need a “miles-driven tax” to collect sufficient revenue for transportation upgrades. Meanwhile, Boston is a very hot market and revenues are substantially up. Sports betting also is contributing to revenue increases. Recreational marijuana is legalized and is taxed at 17%. It is anticipated to bring in between $44 million and $82 million in marijuana tax revenue in the fiscal year of 2019, Sen. Pacheco said.

Utah

Sen. J. Stuart Adams

Senate President J. Stuart Adams said that Utah is enjoying strong growth both in population and in revenue. “Revenue can be a roller coaster,” Sen. Adams observed, “but we look at the trend line and spend below that. We’ll be prudent with those tax dollars.” Any surplus will fund transportation and building projects and will continue to strengthen the Rainy Day Fund.

North Carolina

Sen. Phil Berger

Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger told the Forum that State revenues are up, but challenges remain, especially in infrastructure. “We have fallen behind on needed infrastructure. Our local governments have unmet needs as far as school construction,” Sen. Berger said. There is also a new political dynamic in the State, which now has a Democratic Governor and a Republican legislature. The Governor wants to expand Medicaid, a plan that the legislature resists, so there will be negotiations and debate, Sen. Berger said.

South Carolina

Sen. Tom Alexander

The outlook for South Carolina is very positive according to Sen. Tom Alexander. The State’s economists project that legislators will have an additional $458 million in (ongoing) tax dollars to work with plus $546 million for onetime spending in 2019-20. One lucky lottery winner is contributing $60 million to the State in income tax. This $1 billion surplus will enable the legislature to make significant investments for the State’s future, Sen. Alexander noted.

Kentucky

Sen. Jimmy Higdon

Senate President Pro Tempore Jimmy Higdon reported that the State’s faces a precarious financial position in regards to its pension systems, which have a $43 billion deficit. A plan to address the State’s unfunded pensions was rejected by the Courts. A newly organized Public Pensions Working Group has been charged with studying the "structure, costs, benefits and funding" of Kentucky's pension plans. The State has embarked on a 30-year commitment to fix the pension system, allocating 20% of the budget to the pension problem. In 2016, $2.3 billion went into the fund, $3.4 billion is committed for 2019, and $4.2 billion for 2020, Sen. Higdon said.

Summary

Summarizing the States’ overall fiscal situations, Ms. Mulder commented that State finances are stable with strong revenue collections on target or exceeding estimates in most States.

Speaker Biography

Corina Eckl Mulder

Corina Eckl Mulder is the Senate Liaison for the Senate Presidents’ Forum. She is well known to the Forum, having presented the Annual State of the States Review for many years. She developed expertise on state legislatures during her lengthy tenure on the staff of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Her NCSL responsibilities included planning training programs for top state legislative leaders, managing the conference’s core programs as director of State Services, and leading the Fiscal Affairs Program. She has written extensively on state budget issues and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times, USA Today, and The Christian Science Monitor, among others. She has appeared on CBS, CNBC, FOX, ABC, CNN, and spoken on the BBC and National Public Radio. She represented NCSL on assignments to Algeria, France, Germany, South Africa, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia. Corina holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado in Denver and a Bachelor of Arts degree from CU-Boulder.

CONTACT

Senate Presidents’ Forum

579 Broadway

Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706

 

Tel: 914-693-1818

Copyright © 2019 Senate Presidents' Forum. All rights reserved.

JANUARY 3–6, 2019

The State of the State Budgets for 2019

Corina Eckl Mulder

Consultant and former Director
Leaders Services
National Conference of State Legislatures

The January Forum featured Corina Eckl Mulder's annual “State of the State” budgets, which examines each State’s balance sheet and invites Senators to comment on the details. Ms. Mulder’s intimate knowledge of State budgets make this presentation a perennial favorite, especially as budget news continues to improve. She reported that most states expect to reach or exceed their revenue projections, that State spending has been stable, and State year-end balances are growing.

...most states expect to reach or exceed their revenue projections, that State spending has been stable, and State year-end balances are growing.

Economic UPSIDE

In their revenue outlooks for 2019, 40 States expect to meet or exceed forecast and only 5 States anticipate failing to meet 2019 revenue forecasts. In 2018, only 7 States made mid-year budget reductions due to shortfalls, a further indication of strong financial performances. Sales and income tax collections have increased, year-end balances are strong, and most States have strengthened Rainy Day Funds, which have tripled since 2009 from $31B to $91B.

The US economy has been in expansion since June 2009, the national unemployment rate is 3.7%, a 50-year low, and the Consumer Sentiment Index is up. By these measures, the economy is strong, stable, and improving. If the current expansion continues through June 2019, this will be the longest expansion in history.

BUT…

Despite these positive signs, financial markets are volatile and sentiment has weakened, a festering trade war between the US and China faces a March 2 deadline on its 90-day truce, and a broader global slow down presages slowing of US growth and a slide toward recession. Quoting Duke University’s CFO Global Business Outlook Survey from December, 2018, Ms. Mulder noted: “Nearly half (48.6%) of US Chief Financial Officers believe that the US will be in recession by the end of 2019, and 82% believe that a recession will have begun by the end of 2020.”

Nearly half (48.6%) of US Chief Financial Officers believe that the US will be in recession by the end of 2019, and 82% believe that a recession will have begun by the end of 2020.

In the days following the Forum meeting, the on-going government shutdown entered its fourth week, further contributing to concerns about a slowing economy. Government estimates project that the shutdown reduces quarterly economic growth by 0.13 percentage points each week, losing nearly half a percentage point of growth from the four-week shutdown.

Ms. Mulder provided quotes on the States’ financial outlooks and invited the Senators to comment.

Connecticut

Sen. Martin Looney

Ms. Mulder noted that The Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth produced a bleak assessment of Connecticut’s fiscal health indicating that the state is rapidly approaching a tipping point and recommended that the state shrink spending by $1B and impose no new taxes.

Senate President Martin Looney commented that the report was somewhat one-sided and countered with the expectation that the State will see a $2 million excess this year. However, he acknowledged that, historically, chronic underfunding of the state worker and teacher pensions plans, which are wholly State-funded, was a concern. However, during the past 8 years, Governor Malloy required spending appropriations for the pension fund.

The major problem is that 2% of Connecticut’s taxpayers account for 30% of State revenues, and when markets and dividends are volatile, the State is affected. The 50 wealthiest taxpayers in the State accounted for a drop of $200 million in income tax revenue. This led the Legislature to impose a “Volatility Cap,” limiting the budget and allocating the excess to the reserve, which now holds $2 billion, Sen. Looney said. Key improvements in the State’s fiscal outlook are coming from a modernized tax system, which expanded the base but did not raise taxes. In addition, legalized marijuana and a Sales Tax on Internet sales also contributed to the improved outlook, Sen. Looney concluded.

Rhode Island

Sen. Dominick Ruggerio

Senate President Dominick Ruggerio reported that his State anticipates a deficit this year of $200 million. “We have a structural deficit that ultimately we have to fix." Meanwhile, personal income taxes and car taxes have been reduced. Proposals to bring in more revenue include sports gaming, including an APP to bet on sports from out of State, but facilities are still being developed. One possibility is to legalize recreational marijuana, like neighboring States, Sen. Ruggerio said.

Illinois

Sen. John Cullerton

The Illinois budget has a structural deficit of more than $500 million, Senate President John Cullerton told the group. The State’s flat income tax at 4.95% and its Sales Tax revenues are not enough to fund services. There is no tax on retirement income, which represents a $2 million for retirees, but further strains the resources of the State.  An additional burden arises from a Constitutional clause that prohibits the State from reducing pensions, which it covers for State employees, and employees of universities, schools, and community colleges. Currently, the State is on a path to 90% funding of pensions.

Ohio

Sen. Bob Peterson

Ms. Mulder cited news reports that, through October, 2018, with eight months left in the fiscal year, Ohio tax collections were running $100.7 million, or 1.4%, ahead of projections. Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Peterson agreed and described the State’s finances as “stable.” He further commented that the State’s new Governor Mike DeWine, has served 48 years at all levels of government, and is well prepared to lead the State in determining its budget priorities.

Indiana

Sen. Rodrick Bray

Senate President Pro Tempore Rodrick Bray reported that Indiana anticipates $350 million in new revenue. “Determining how to allocate the 11-12% surplus is a challenge,” Sen. Bray said, “and everyone has ideas about how to spend it.” However, he raised concerns about how to adequately fund the Department of Child Services, which has seen a huge spike in the number of children taken from their homes, more than in other States, partly due to the opioid crisis. The challenge is how to budget for child services, Sen. Bray said. However, Indiana always has a balanced budget, which adds to fiscal stability, he concluded.

Louisiana

Sen. John Alario

Senate President John Alario reported progress from 2 years ago when the state faced a $2 billion shortfall. A 1 cent sales tax compensated for the shortage and has now been reduced to one-half cent. However, the state was falling behind in teachers’ salaries. Rather than reduce taxes, the legislature allocated the surplus to education. The currently projected $150 to $200 million surplus will be allocated to teachers’ salaries, ensuring that better education will lead to a better future. Previously the budget was set by a unanimous vote by the Budget Board and was based on evidence. This year, an election year, politics is driving the budget not policy, he concluded.

Iowa

Sen. Jack Whitver

Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver reported that “cautious optimism” characterizes the fiscal mood in Iowa. The State anticipates 4.9% revenue growth in 2019 and 2% growth in 2020. Budget cuts were made in the last 2 years, and this keeps the legislature cautious so similar cuts will be avoided in the future. The challenge is anticipating how trade wars with China will impact Iowa’s agricultural economy. Iowa is the nation’s largest producer of eggs, corn, and pork. Senate President Charles Schneider agreed and added that in November 2018, when farmers approached banks for their annual loans, their credit worthiness was substantially less, reflecting the stress on the agricultural economy. The current priorities for Iowa focus on mental health, workforce development, and online sales tax, which increased, while property taxes declined.

Oklahoma

Sen. Greg Treat

Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat said the State has a balanced budget requirement and requires a three-fourths vote to increase or add taxes. The State also has term limits. “Former legislators enacted a 0.25-point tax reduction at certain trigger points. Then they termed out, leaving the current legislature holding the bag,” Sen. Treat commented. However, he added, the financial picture is improving in Oklahoma, thanks to a recovering economy and tough choices made by the Legislature. Preliminary estimates project a $612 million surplus based on oil at 52.85 per barrel; however, projections on natural gas are less sanguine, ranging from increases of $160 million to decreases of $200 million, as prices fluctuate. K-12 education also poses an upcoming challenge. The State’s teachers walked out until a $6,000 per person increase in salary was negotiated. He concluded by noting that 12 State agencies consume 92% of the budget, so there is not a lot of flexibility.

New Mexico

Sen. Mary Kay Papen

Senate President Pro Tempore Mary Kay Papen said that her State heavily depends on revenues from oil and gas. She reported that a large find in the Permian Basin has created a bonanza for the State, and bills to spend that revenue are abundant. The US Geological Survey says the area may contain an estimated mean of 46.3 billion barrels of oil, 281 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.

Sen. Papen said setting the priorities for the new revenue requires a balancing act, between backfilling funding that was reduced when revenue was down, allocating finds for current needs, and planning for future spending. Funding education is a significant challenge for the State, which is 50th in the country and currently is under a court order to improve education by April, 2019. New Mexico’s Permanent Fund is among the largest in the US, and some legislators want to tap into this for education. However, solutions are hard to find for a poor State with extensive poverty and a large non-English-speaking school population, Sen. Papen advised.

Nevada

Sen. Kelvin Atkinson

The Economic Forum projects a $500 million surplus for Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson reported. Taxes from gaming and recreational marijuana have exceeded expectations and are fueling the Rainy Day Fund, while some, including Sen. Atkinson, would like to see the surplus fund education. Additionally, the Raiders football team is relocating to Nevada bringing a team of millionaires to the state. Currently, Nevada is among the top three most rapidly growing States in the US.

On the downside, homelessness continues to be a recalcitrant problem in the State. Furthermore, there is a need to diversify the economy. Gaming is not recession proof, and the housing construction sector, which has seen housing price growth, has been hit hard by past recessions, with as many as 5,000 people moving out when recessions hit, Sen. Atkinson said, acknowledging that analysts predict a nationwide recession in 2020.

Hawaii

Sen. Ronald Kouchi

Senate President Ronald Kouchi told the Forum that the State budget provides all funding for schools, prisons, mental health, and the judiciary in Hawaii. Education was the biggest ticket item, until 2 budgets ago, when Human Services funding surpassed education. Hawaii has the oldest demographic of any State, with a life expectancy of 83, which requires that pensions last longer. Volatility in the stock market raises concerns that pension earnings may decrease from the 7% rate of return required to sustain the pension fund.

Fortunately, for the past 7 years, tourism spending and visits have increased, allowing the State to convert a $1.2 billion deficit in 2011 into the black by 2012, Sen. Kouchi reported. Conservative decisions from the Finance and Ways and Means Chairs have enabled the State to pay off unfunded liabilities and add to their Rainy Day Fund. The priorities for the future are a $17 minimum wage and legalized recreational marijuana, Sen. Kouchi said.

Oregon

Sen. Peter Courtney

Senate President Peter Courtney listed several challenges facing the legislature this year, including the perennial problems of funding the State Pension system and early childhood and K-12 education programs. While taxes on legalized marijuana use have been a boon to the State, there also are black market issues to contend with, he said.

Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick concurred and added that, while the situation is stable, there are some worrisome challenges. The entire tax system poses challenges for the State, she said, due to a Constitutional Amendment passed by initiative in the 1990s, which limits property taxes through restrictions on assessed valuation of property and property tax rates. As a result, Oregon is one of only two states that relies on a single source of revenue. Washington relies on its Sales Tax, and Oregon on its income tax. The Legislature is focused on creating a new income tax structure, as a property tax change would face Constitutional challenges, she concluded.

Arkansas

Sen. Jonathan Dismang

Senator Jonathan Dismang reported that the State’s economic outlook is looking very good and revenues will meet forecasts, as they have for several cycles. Based on the positive outlook, current proposals would gradually reduce the top individual income tax rate from 6.9% to 5.9% and reduce the number of individual income tax tables from three to one.  We have the revenue to meet our needs and give tax relief back to the public. The Senator commented that Arkansas’ recently developed Long-term Reserve (or Rainy Fund) now holds $129 Million.

Florida

Sen. William Galvano

Senate President William Galvano reported a positive outlook. The State’s economy is stable and has earned a AAA bond rating, unemployment is down, and taxes are being cut. Revenue is expected to increase by about $1 billion. Still some challenges will be faced. Costs related to Hurricane Michael exceed $1.1 billion and recovering emergency funds from the federal government is a slow process. Florida’s panhandle was hit hard by the hurricane damaging the timber industry, which takes years for growth to recover.  Citrus production is less than it was 10 years ago. Almost 800 people per day are incoming to the State, which brings additional challenges to provide services. These challenges will force us to be diligent in how we prioritize spending, he concluded.

Kansas

Sen. Susan Wagle

Senate President Susan Wagle reflected that the State is doing well today and is stable, after several years of ups and downs occasioned by the “March to Zero” tax plan, which sought to reduce taxes wherever a surplus occurred. Currently, schools represent 52% of the budget, and the Courts have mandated that the State increase funding for K-12. Newly elected Democratic Governor Laura Kelly wants to expand funding for education, but this may lead to a deficit, Sen. Wagle concluded.

Delaware

Sen. David McBride

Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride reported that the State’s economy is doing well, with an anticipated additional $102 million in revenue this fiscal year. Six years ago the State faced an $800 million deficit, which was reduced by half within 2 years due to new taxes, Sen. McBride reported. The 21 member Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC), appointed by the Governor, develops the revenue and expenditure forecasts upon which Delaware's state budget is constructed. They are evaluating good ideas to ensure fiscal stability for the State, Sen. McBride concluded.

Massachusetts

Sen. Marc Pacheco

Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Pacheco reported that the State has enjoyed a recent trend of strong overall revenue collections. Through November 2018, total tax revenue collections are $423M (4.1%) ahead of forecast. The economy looks very strong, but there are challenges ahead, Sen. Pacheco said. Big investments will be required in transportation to update the aging “T” subway system. There is bipartisan support for this. Some tax restructuring will be necessary, Sen. Pacheco said. The State has no gas tax and will need a “miles-driven tax” to collect sufficient revenue for transportation upgrades. Meanwhile, Boston is a very hot market and revenues are substantially up. Sports betting also is contributing to revenue increases. Recreational marijuana is legalized and is taxed at 17%. It is anticipated to bring in between $44 million and $82 million in marijuana tax revenue in the fiscal year of 2019, Sen. Pacheco said.

Utah

Sen. J. Stuart Adams

Senate President J. Stuart Adams said that Utah is enjoying strong growth both in population and in revenue. “Revenue can be a roller coaster,” Sen. Adams observed, “but we look at the trend line and spend below that. We’ll be prudent with those tax dollars.” Any surplus will fund transportation and building projects and will continue to strengthen the Rainy Day Fund.

North Carolina

Sen. Phil Berger

Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger told the Forum that State revenues are up, but challenges remain, especially in infrastructure. “We have fallen behind on needed infrastructure. Our local governments have unmet needs as far as school construction,” Sen. Berger said. There is also a new political dynamic in the State, which now has a Democratic Governor and a Republican legislature. The Governor wants to expand Medicaid, a plan that the legislature resists, so there will be negotiations and debate, Sen. Berger said.

South Carolina

Sen. Tom Alexander

The outlook for South Carolina is very positive according to Sen. Tom Alexander. The State’s economists project that legislators will have an additional $458 million in (ongoing) tax dollars to work with plus $546 million for onetime spending in 2019-20. One lucky lottery winner is contributing $60 million to the State in income tax. This $1 billion surplus will enable the legislature to make significant investments for the State’s future, Sen. Alexander noted.

Kentucky

Sen. Jimmy Higdon

Senate President Pro Tempore Jimmy Higdon reported that the State’s faces a precarious financial position in regards to its pension systems, which have a $43 billion deficit. A plan to address the State’s unfunded pensions was rejected by the Courts. A newly organized Public Pensions Working Group has been charged with studying the "structure, costs, benefits and funding" of Kentucky's pension plans. The State has embarked on a 30-year commitment to fix the pension system, allocating 20% of the budget to the pension problem. In 2016, $2.3 billion went into the fund, $3.4 billion is committed for 2019, and $4.2 billion for 2020, Sen. Higdon said.

Summary

Summarizing the States’ overall fiscal situations, Ms. Mulder commented that State finances are stable with strong revenue collections on target or exceeding estimates in most States.

Speaker Biography

Corina Eckl Mulder

Corina Eckl Mulder is the Senate Liaison for the Senate Presidents’ Forum. She is well known to the Forum, having presented the Annual State of the States Review for many years. She developed expertise on state legislatures during her lengthy tenure on the staff of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Her NCSL responsibilities included planning training programs for top state legislative leaders, managing the conference’s core programs as director of State Services, and leading the Fiscal Affairs Program. She has written extensively on state budget issues and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times, USA Today, and The Christian Science Monitor, among others. She has appeared on CBS, CNBC, FOX, ABC, CNN, and spoken on the BBC and National Public Radio. She represented NCSL on assignments to Algeria, France, Germany, South Africa, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia. Corina holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado in Denver and a Bachelor of Arts degree from CU-Boulder.

CONTACT

Senate Presidents’ Forum

579 Broadway

Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706

 

Tel: 914-693-1818

Copyright © 2019 Senate Presidents' Forum. All rights reserved.