Local Budgets

Tax surpluses for many states

John Dimsdale Feb 27, 2012

David Brancaccio: At their winter meeting in Washington D.C., this weekend, many of the nation’s governors were dealing with an unusual (but not unwelcome) problem: how to spend some extra money. Several states have surpluses.

Marketplace’s John Dimsdale reports from Washington.


John Dimsdale: States point to different reasons for healthier tax collections. North Dakota and Oklahoma are reaping an energy windfall. Michigan is in the midst of a manufacturing turnaround. And then there are states riding a boom in the stock market.

Scott Pattison is executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers.

Scott Pattison: There’s just so much taxation income coming in from basically the non-wage income, such as capital gains, investments, stock options, bonuses, things like that.

It’s still too early to quantify, but Pattison expects April state income tax collections will be better than the last three years. Not back to pre-recession levels, though.

Pattison: There’s still not enough money to go around. I liken it to the family that may have had a slight boost in income, but the stack of bills on the other side of the table are higher than the amount they received in the additional income.

States are still in a financial hole, he says. But at least the hole’s not getting any bigger.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.