Even though tax revenue is slowly increasing and pretty much every special interest group is chomping at the bit for a piece of the pie, state and local governments have their belts tightened tightest they’ve been in 30 years.
According to analysts, state and local governments have cut back their spending to the lowest level in 30 years. States have been struggling to control their spending in the past few years, but these days, (and at least in this situation), Democrats and Republicans across the country are on the same page. They’ve got control of their budgets and are rejecting monetary requests from police, businesses, teachers, doctors and others as their government aid dries up.
Now the numbers: “State and local spending is down 0.8% this year — a 2.7% drop when adjusted for inflation — to an annual rate of $2.4 trillion, a USA TODAY analysis of Bureau of Economic Analysis data found. New budgets, which take effect July 1 most places, show elected officials continuing to restrict both spending and tax hikes.”
“We’re seeing some incredibly significant examples of groups not getting what they want,” said the head of the National Association of State Budget Officers, according to Newser. “Maybe there’s an acceptance that cuts have to occur.”
A few examples: Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy in Connecticut eliminated a required force size of 1,248 troopers. The force is down to about 1,060 troopers. In Ohio, Republican Governor John Kasich took out $30 million from nursing home payments. In Hawaii, Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie made a highly controversial move, cutting teacher pay and benefits and adding a performance evaluation system, much to the chagrin of the union who have challenged him.
So while the fed might still be spinning out of control, the states have actually learned to work with a balanced budget. Sacrifices have been made, and plenty of people are upset over the cuts, and “Real hard decisions are being pushed off to the future,” said one analyst.