Series on the State Budget Crisis: Part Three, States Raise Taxes

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Series on the State Budget Crisis: Part Three, States Raise Taxes

By - May 15, 2009

States are struggling to balance their budgets during the current economic recession. As we discussed in yesterday’s post, many have opted to cut spending as a result. But given the sheer size of state budget shortfalls, cuts alone will not be enough to solve the problem without long term harm to essential public services.

According to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, instead of a cuts-only approach, states are increasingly employing a combination of budget solutions that involves drawing down reserve funds, maximizing the use of federal dollars, and raising taxes.

As the map below shows, so far in 2009 sixteen states have raised new revenue through tax measures. Another 17 are giving serious consideration to doing so. These initiatives are in addition to revenue actions taken in states in late 2007 and 2008 as the recession’s effects began to be felt.

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In addition, the report finds that states that raised taxes during the 2001 recession were just as fast to rebound from the recession as states that did not, even though they were typically climbing out of a deeper hole.