State Policy Reports

State Policy Reports is rich with information about the 50 states. Published twice a month (except in August and December when it is published once), each issue covers a variety of topics including trends in state spending, the quarterly index of state economic momentum, federal aid to states and state tax burdens.

September 2014, Volume 32, Issue 18

Index of State Economic Momentum

The Index of State Economic Momentum, developed by Reports founding editor Hal Hovey, ranks states based on their most recent performance in three key measures of economic vitality: personal income growth, employment growth and population growth. Reports updates the index each quarter. In the third quarter of 2014, the District of Columbia was closest to the national average economic performance.


September 2014, Volume 32, Issue 17

Where it Pays to be a Working Woman

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) released its first update since 2006 that evaluates the status of women in the workplace. The results are based on state rankings on four component measures, each weighted equally.

Revenue Estimating: Does Process Trump Accuracy?

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities added to the recent mix of papers examining state revenues and revenue practices with a report outlining five good revenue-estimating practices.


August 2014, Volume 32, Issue 1516

Taming the Impact of the Business Cycle

The Pew Charitable Trusts has released two reports that call on states to examine key budget practices and tweak them where necessary.

Delinquent Debt by State

A recent analysis by the Urban Institute examines the prevalence of debt that is past due and in collections by state.

An Ounce of Prevention in North Carolina

North Carolina’sLocal Government Commission reviews every local government bond offering in the state prior to issuance, and takes control over every approved bond sale. As a result, its municipal bonds are among the highest rated of any state.

July 2014, Volume 32, Issue 14

Caution on State Pension Plans

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P) released its 2014 pension survey, which reflects 2012 pension results. The report cites reasons for both optimism and concern.

Minimum Wage: Correlation is Not Causality

States where the minimum wage increased in January have had faster job growth than states where the rate remains unchanged.

Food Fight

Provisions of the school lunch program have come under fire.

July 2014, Volume 32, Issue 13

Areas with Concentrated Poverty

Distinct from measuring the number of people living in poverty, the Census Bureau also reports the number and share of people living in “poverty areas.” Such areas are defined as census tracts with a poverty rate of 20% or more. A recent report, based on 2008-2012 statistics from the American Community Survey (ACS), presents state estimates of both the share of the population living in poverty areas and the share of people in poverty who live in poverty areas.

The Balance Wheel in State Budgets

It has often been observed that higher education serves as a balance wheel in state budgets. Put differently, it is the program that helps keep state budgets in balance.

June 2014, Volume 32, Issue 12

Index of State Economic Momentum

This update gives reason for optimism about the direction and pace of the economic recovery. Particularly encouraging are relatively strong personal income gains in highly populated states and a continuing reduction in both the number of states losing jobs and the magnitude of their losses. While federal policies undoubtedly played a role in the improved personal income numbers (through the ACA Medicaid expansion and Social Security cost-of-living increase), an increase in job creation signals that the personal income numbers should continue to climb in the coming months.

June 2014, Volume 32, Issue 11

A Silver Lining in Weak Tax Collections

On Capital Budgeting

May 2014, Volume 32, Issue 10

Real Personal Income Estimates Shake Things Up

May 2014, Volume 32, Issue 9

The 2014 Camelot Index

April 2014, Volume 32, Issue 8

What Census Can’t Tell You (Anymore)

April 2014, Volume 32, Issue 7

Many Minimum Wages

Old But Good News

March 2014, Volume 32, Issue 6

Index of State Economic Momentum

March 2014, Volume 32, Issue 5

High(way) Finance

February 2014, Volume 32, Issue 4

State Government General Expenditures in 2012

February 2014, Volume 32, Issue 3

State Government General Revenues in 2012

January 2014, Volume 32, Issue 1

State and Local Finances in FY 2011

December 2013, Volume 31, Issue 23-24

Index of State Economic Momentum

Is Universal Preschool a Good Deal for States?

November 2013, Volume 31, Issue 22

Continuum of State Fiscal Stress

October 2013, Volume 31, Issue 20

Poverty Redefined

Variations in Property Tax Burdens

October 2013, Volume 31, Issue 19

The End of Welfare as We Knew It

September 2013, Volume 31, Issue 18

Index of State Economic Momentum

September 2013, Volume 31, Issue 17

State K-12 Funding Slow to Rebound

A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

States and Hunger

August 2013, Volume 31, Issue 1516

A Q&A on Municipal Bankruptcy

July 2013, Volume 31, Issue 14

Fiscal Stress Revisited

Moody’s on Pensions