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 - Fall 2019

States’ enacted budgets for fiscal 2020 provide significant new resources for education, other core government services, additional reserve deposits and one-time investments. Based on enacted budgets, state general fund spending is expected to grow 4.8 percent in fiscal 2020 compared to fiscal 2019 levels, with 45 states planning spending increases.

Other key findings from the report:

  • States approved appropriation increases totaling $39.1 billion in fiscal 2020, including $14.8 billion in new money for K-12 education and $4.4 billion for higher education.
  • State general fund spending grew 5.8 percent in fiscal 2019, the fastest annual growth rate since fiscal 2007.
  • No states made mid-year budget cuts in fiscal 2019 due to a revenue shortfall.
  • 46 states reported that fiscal 2019 general fund revenue collections exceeded original budget projections, the most states to do so since fiscal 2006.
  • Enacted budgets are based on forecasted general fund revenue growth of 2.6 percent in fiscal 2020.
  • States approved a series of tax and fee actions, with a net revenue impact of $6.7 billion in fiscal 2020, with most of the new revenue directed to non-general fund sources, including state transportation funds and dedicated revenue streams for education and health care.
  • The median rainy day fund balance as a share of general fund spending reached 7.6 percent in fiscal 2019, a new all-time high, and is expected to continue to rise in fiscal 2020.