Fiscal Survey of the States

With data gathered from all 50 state budget offices, this semi-annual report provides a narrative analysis of the fiscal condition of the states and data summaries of state general fund revenues, expenditures, and balances. The spring edition details governors’ proposed budgets; the fall edition details enacted budgets.




Staff Contact

Kathryn White

Overview - Spring 2018

State fiscal conditions show signs of improvement and greater stability compared to this time last year. According to governors’ proposed budgets – and enacted budgets for some biennial states – state general fund spending is projected to grow 3.2 percent in fiscal 2019 compared to fiscal 2018, in line with the average annual growth rate proposed by governors in the post-Great Recession era.

Other key findings from the report:

  • Governors proposed spending increases for fiscal 2019 totaling $26.5 billion across all program areas, compared to just $8.7 billion in new spending proposed in their fiscal 2018 budgets one year prior.
  • General fund revenues grew an estimated 4.9 percent in fiscal 2018, with collections coming in on or above original budget projections in 39 states.
  • Only 9 states have made mid-year budget cuts totaling $830 million in fiscal 2018.
  • General fund revenues are projected to grow 2.1 percent in fiscal 2019 based on forecasts used to develop governors’ budgets, with a median growth rate of 2.8 percent.
  • Governors’ mostly modest recommended tax and fee changes are estimated to result in $2.8 billion in additional state revenues.
  • States continue to strengthen their reserves, with the median balance as a share of general fund spending rising to 6.2 percent in fiscal 2019, from a recent low of 1.9 percent in fiscal 2011.
  • Medicaid spending is projected to slow in fiscal 2019, with a median growth rate of 1.9 percent from all funds, after growing an estimated 5.2 percent in fiscal 2018.