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State government finances: World War II to the current crisis

  • Thomas A. Garrett
  • Gary A. Wagner

This article will explore the extent, causes, and proposed solutions of the current fiscal crisis from a historical perspective of state finance. Although the current fiscal crisis is severe, it becomes more difficult to assess unless one has a more complete understanding of the historical changes that have occurred in state revenue streams. This article will address the role of major revenue sources in the context of the current slowdown and also investigate how reliance on various revenue sources has changed over the past 50 years. The role of non-traditional revenue sources, such as state lotteries and casino gambling, will also be discussed. The article further addresses various fiscal institutions, such as tax and expenditure limitation laws, rainy day funds, and balanced budget rules, and explores the role each play in state budgeting and finance.

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File URL: http://research.stlouisfed.org/wp/2003/2003-035.pdf
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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2003-035.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Publication status: Published in Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, March/April 2004, 86(2), pp. 9-26
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2003-035
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  1. Levinson, Arik, 1998. "Balanced Budgets and Business Cycles: Evidence from the States," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 4), pages 715-32, December.
  2. James M. Poterba, 1993. "State Responses to Fiscal Crisis: The Effects of Budgetary Institutionsand Politics," NBER Working Papers 4375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alm, James & McKee, Michael J. & Skidmore, Mark, 1993. "Fiscal Pressure, Tax Competition, and the Introduction of State Lotteries," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(4), pages 463-76, December.
  4. Wagner, Gary A., 2003. "Are state budget stabilization funds only the illusion of savings?: Evidence from stationary panel data," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 213-238.
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