Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Awash in cash, so what's their plan? 

The NY Times is reporting this morning on the higher-than-expected tax collections state governments are receiving so far this year.
More than 40 states have found themselves with more money than they planned as they wound down their regular sessions. Governors in 23 of those states proposed tax cuts, and a majority of states with surpluses chose to shore up their roads, schools and rainy day funds. For example, lawmakers in Utah agreed to a $1 billion bond act to fix state roads and add lane miles, while in Idaho state spending on education outpaced that on Medicaid for the first time in 20 years.
Of course, here in Minnesota, a plan to use that money for roads foundered on an impasse created by the DFL's insistence on a gas tax increase, which Governor Pawlenty vetoed. So much of it ended up in the rainy-day funds instead. Ditto for property tax relief, leaving Minnesota residents looking across the border at North Dakota's $118 million package. Even as Minnesota's tax collections beat the February forecast by $67 million, no deal was provided.

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