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Dec 14, 2011

State Medicaid spending soars

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Spending by U.S. states on Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor, soared last year and will likely continue growing despite measures to contain costs, according to a report released on Tuesday.

Total Medicaid spending, excluding administrative costs, likely reached $398.6 billion in fiscal 2011, which ended in June for most states. That was up 10.1 percent from the year before, when spending rose 6 percent, the National Association of State Budget Officers reported.

Dec 13, 2011

Medicaid spending soars in US states-budget officers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Spending by U.S. states on Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor, soared last year and will likely continue growing despite measures to contain costs, according to a report released on Tuesday.

Total Medicaid spending, excluding administrative costs, likely reached $398.6 billion in fiscal 2011, which ended in June for most states. That was up 10.1 percent from the year before, when spending rose 6 percent, the National Association of State Budget Officers reported.

Dec 8, 2011

States’ revenues at pre-recession levels: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Total tax revenues of U.S. states returned to pre-recession levels in the 2011 third quarter, a public policy institute reported on Thursday, but revenue growth slowed during the period, a worrisome trend for states concerned that economic clouds are gathering as they begin drafting their budgets for next year..

Total tax collections in 48 states rose by 7.3 percent in the July-to-September quarter, the Rockefeller Institute of Government reported.

Dec 6, 2011

US state, local governments to post projections-board

Dec 6 (Reuters) – U.S. state and local governments would
have to post projections of their cash flows and obligations,
in order to provide more detailed pictures of their economic
conditions, under a proposal to be unveiled on Tuesday by the
board that sets their accounting standards.

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board would require
them to put projections of cash inflows and outflows for at
least five years, along with explanations for the expected
fluctuations, in financial statements.

Dec 5, 2011

Attempts to balance U.S. budget pose state risk – raters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Threats to the credit rating of the United States may have spooked political leaders in U.S. states, but congressional attempts to balance the federal budget pose more long-term dangers, the three top rating agencies said on Monday.

“It’s hard to know what’s going to happen at the federal level. It seems unlikely to be good,” Laura Porter, managing director of Fitch Ratings, said at a National Association of State Treasurers meeting.

Dec 5, 2011

Attempts to balance budget pose state risk: raters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Threats to the credit rating of the United States may have spooked political leaders in U.S. states, but congressional attempts to balance the federal budget pose more long-term dangers, the three top rating agencies said on Monday.

“It’s hard to know what’s going to happen at the federal level. It seems unlikely to be good,” Laura Porter, managing director of Fitch Ratings, said at a National Association of State Treasurers meeting.

Dec 1, 2011

As recession took hold, families sought cash help

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of families collecting cash welfare benefits rose during the longest and deepest economic downturn in the United States since the Great Depression, the U.S. Census said on Thursday.

Caseloads in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program had fallen in the 1990s and leveled off in the early part of the 2000s.

Dec 1, 2011

Fewer gaps in state budgets so far: legislatures

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The budgets of states are springing fewer holes this fiscal year, according to a report released by a state lawmakers group on Thursday.

Only four states have reported budget gaps so far in fiscal 2012, compared to the 15 that had deficits in the same period in fiscal 2011, the National Conference of State Legislatures said.

Nov 30, 2011

Congress steps into states’ scuffle over sales tax

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After the frenzy of “Cyber Monday,” members of Congress on Wednesday entered into a different scuffle over web shopping: states’ desire to collect sales taxes from Internet retailers.

“Main street retailers — local mom and pop stores in many instances, and even some of the big box retailers — suffer when they have to collect the sales tax but on-line retailers don’t,” said Michigan’s Rep. John Conyers at a hearing. “Fewer purchases at local retailers means less local jobs.”

Nov 29, 2011

Crawling toward recovery: U.S. state budgets improve

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Increasing demands for healthcare and other services, along with weakening in the national economy, could knock U.S. state budgets off their current path of slow, incremental improvement.

“We have growth, but it is slow. It is tepid growth. And, most importantly, we are not yet back … to pre-recession levels,” said Scott Pattison, executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers.