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Office Hours

Fiscal Survey of States provides grim details about the impact of the recession

The biannual report, The Fiscal Survey of States, is chockful of fairly grim numbers on how the economy has pasted states from coast to coast.

The survey is released by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers.

The overview states: "Fiscal year 2010 presented the most difficult challenge for states' financial management since the Great Depression."

According to the report, in fiscal 2010, general fund expenditures declined 6.8 percent. However, governors’ recommended budgets for fiscal 2011 forecast a 3.6 percent increase in general fund expenditures.

In part that increase reflects higher state contributions to Medicaid, the jointly managed health care program that states share with the federal government. The report is more than 80 pages and can be found here.

One snippet from the report is a survey of expected yearly growth in Medicaid funding, a situation that the weak economy has aggravated as more workers lose jobs. In Washington state, the survey found that total Medicaid funding from state coffers will drop about 7 percent in 2010, but that decline comes because the stimulus package from Washington, D.C., makes up most of the difference.

The fed portion of Medicaid increases about 11 percent in 2010. Then in 2011, that trend is expected to reverse; Washington state will see an increase in Medicaid spending of about 27 percent, said the survey, while the federal contribution will drop 3 percent.

Tom Sowa
Tom Sowa covers technology, retail and economic development and writes the Office Hours blog.