State budgets across the country are showing some of their most stable numbers since the last years of the Great Recession in 2010 and 2011.
That, according to a report issued by the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures, means that states in fiscal year 2018 will have more money to spend in such areas as education and corrections, both of which could include facility construction projects.
According to the report, State Budget Actions: FY 2018, most states in recent years have experienced a “slow and steady rebound in state revenue.” For 2018, says the report, “States anticipate that trend to continue with average projected general fund growth of 3.9 percent.”
In Arizona, the growth rate from fiscal year 2017 was 3.2 percent. Colorado saw a 7.5 percent increase, while New Mexico’s revenues decreased by 2.8 percent, due to a decline in oil revenues.
But the report also categorizes New Mexico as one of a small handful of states that in 2018 will see increased oil and gas severance tax revenue.
The report forecasts a 3.4 percent increase this year in education spending in Arizona, an 8.9 percent jump in Colorado, and 0.5 percent increase in New Mexico.
Spending on corrections in Arizona is slated to go up by 2.0 percent this fiscal year. The increase in Colorado is forecast at 2.6 percent, with New Mexico seeing a 1.2 percent increase.
The NCSL forecast specifically notes that while Arizona’s budget is balanced, it has “comparatively little margin for error if revenues come in significantly below forecasts or if supplemental appropriations are required.”
In Colorado, the report says “the general fund is expected to have enough resources to fully fund the enacted budget,” while revenue in New Mexico “appears to be tracking up as the oil and gas industry recovers from its recent downturn with positive, albeit slow, economic growth.”
The National Conference of State Legislatures is a non-governmental group dedicated to serving members and staffs of state legislatures across the country.
By Garry Boulard
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