Budgets

Budgets

Research

Sarah Arnett | Jan 14, 2014
New research from Sarah Arnett examines states’ abilities to meet their financial obligations in the face of state budget challenges that have far outlasted the Great Recession. Fiscal simulations by the Government Accountability Office suggest that despite recent gains in tax revenues and pension assets, the long-term outlook for states’ fiscal condition is negative (GAO 2013). These simulations predict that states will have yearly difficulties balancing revenues and expenditures due, in part, to rising health care costs and the cost of funding state and local pensions.
Marc Joffe | Jun 25, 2013
The author uses an open-source budget-simulation model to evaluate Illinois’s credit risk and to compare it to that of Indiana, a neighboring state generally believed to have better fiscal management. Based on a review of the history and theory of state credit performance, he assumes that a state will default if the aggregate of its interest and pension costs reaches 30 percent of total revenues. His analysis finds that neither state will reach the critical threshold in the next few years under any reasonable economic scenario, suggesting no material default risk.
Keith Hall, Robert Greene | Jun 12, 2013
While the Great Recession had a moderately less severe impact on Pennsylvania than on the nation as a whole, the state’s recovery since the height of the recession has been slower than the national average. Sluggish economic growth is slowing the pace of the state’s labor market recovery.
Bruce Yandle | Mar 01, 2013
There was only one lane open as I made my trip to Atlanta; the other three were blocked with those unhappy yellow and black make-believe barrels used by the highway folks. Traffic flow was constrained by efforts to repair potholes and broken pavement. We in the slow lane had little choice in the matter. Instead of 70, we were slowed to 20 miles per hour. We had to accept our fate, or find another route at the next exit.
, Tami Gurley-Calvez, Genevieve M. Kenney, Kosali Simon and Douglas Wissoker | Oct 02, 2012
We use an innovative redesign of West Virginia’s Medicaid that took place from 2007 to 2010 to estimate the causal impact of incentives within Medicaid to encourage better health and health care behaviors and reduce emergency room (ER) visits.
Bruce Yandle | Sep 11, 2012
The U.S. economy has not been healthy since 2001 when 9/11 pushed the country into a recession. As the accompanying data tell us, real GDP growth has risen to meet the long-term average of 3.11 percent just once since 2001, and that was in 2004. The combination of wars, financial collapse, natural disasters, and political games has taken a heavy toll on economic growth. No one is talking about 3 percent or better growth anytime in the foreseeable future. But it’s not just about Democrats and Republicans. It’s about something deep in the economy.

Testimony & Comments

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Expert Commentary

Nov 17, 2014

Economists call a fiscal illusion a systematic misperception of key fiscal parameters, often leading to distorted behavior by citizens and governments. In particular, the failure to perceive the full extent of tax burdens can lead taxpayers to misunderstand and underestimate the true cost of public goods and services and redistribution activities by the government.
Jul 19, 2013

Detroit became the largest city in U.S. history to declare bankruptcy when it filed for Chapter 9 protection on Thursday. Mercatus experts weigh in:…
Jul 11, 2013

North Carolina lawmakers cut unemployment benefits by one-third. This disqualifies the state from receiving $700 million in federal funds for the long-term unemployed, affecting 170,000 jobless North Carolinians.
Apr 08, 2013

If you’re finding it harder and harder to live in California, you’re not alone.
Apr 08, 2013

States like California and New York are living off the accumulated capital of past economic freedom. Now that the political tide has turned decisively against economic freedom in those states, they are shedding people and jobs and growing more slowly than the rest of the country. Places like the Dakotas, Carolinas, Oklahoma, and Texas, which have reversed their anti-market policies of the past, represent America’s dynamic economic future.
Apr 05, 2013

People follow jobs, and jobs follow freedom. That's one of the main results from the third and much improved edition of the Mercatus Center's "Freedom in the Fifty States: Index of Personal and Economic Freedom."

Charts

Using data from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the following two charts place the post-1960s explosion in federal grants to state and local governments in perspective.

Experts

Podcasts

Jason Sorens | July 03, 2013
Jason Sorens Discusses Freedom in the 50 States on American Radio Journal

Recent Events

Mercatus Center budget scholars will share their academic research and practical knowledge with local thought leaders in a half-day seminar hosted by the Bluegrass Institute in Lexington, Kentucky.

Media Clippings

Eileen Norcross | Feb 02, 2014
Eileen Norcross cited at The New York Times.
Sarah Arnett | Jan 17, 2014
The Mercatus Center cited at Philly.com.
Sarah Arnett | Jan 16, 2014
The Mercatus Center cited at Investor's Business Daily.
| Jan 16, 2014
Mercatus cited at Union Leader.
Eileen Norcross, Matthew Mitchell, | Jul 23, 2013
Detroit reports an unfunded pension liability of $634 million, but using more accurate accounting methods it's closer to $3.5 billion.
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