Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

News Feed Item

Harvard's Institute of Politics, UPenn's Fels Institute of Government and AEF Produce U.S. State Annual Reports

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New research produced by Harvard's Institute of Politics (IOP), the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government and the American Education Foundation (AEF) finds state and local governments are carrying over $7 trillion in debt.  The new 'State of the States' report also offers nonpartisan analysis on the FY 2011 finances and budgets of four U.S. states: Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania – and shows an end to federal fiscal stimulus is causing states to close widening budget gaps by cutting funding in education, infrastructure and other key programmatic areas.  All information and full reports are available at: www.thestatesproject.org.

The report aims to stimulate conversation about the fiscal challenges of state governments at a time when U.S. states are struggling with budget deficits, falling tax revenues and strapped social programs.  Based on The Annual Report of the USA, a publication of the Harvard Political Review – a top undergraduate journal on politics and public policy – the state reports offer reliable, clear, straightforward examinations of state budgets, public policy and the overall fiscal health of each state.  Analysis addresses overall economic trends, including unemployment rates, the finances of pension programs and educational budgets – and offers a context for understanding how public policy affects all citizens.  

"Our students were excited to work on the 'State of the States' project, an important effort to shed light on the true financial condition of our states today," said Trey Grayson, Director of Harvard's Institute of Politics.  "In these tough economic times and uncertain future, promoting more openness and information between citizens and their government is a critical goal."

"Total state and local debt is now almost half of what the national debt is – but nobody talks about that," said 'State of the States' senior editor Alex Palmer '12.

"Health care is swallowing up huge chunks of state budgets, leaving less and less for states to spend on programs that help economies grow like education and infrastructure," said Meredith Bagby, Spring 2004 Harvard Institute of Politics Resident Fellow and Executive Director, AEF. 

The report's key findings include:

  • State and local governments are carrying over $7 trillion in debt.  Over half of that debt is not reported in the official financial statements produced by state and local governments.
  • Federal fiscal stimulus to states has ended. As a result, states have faced budget gaps totaling $55 billion in FY 2013. States are closing those gaps by cutting spending (largely for K-12 education, higher education, and infrastructure) rather than raising revenues.
  • Twenty percent of Americans are on Medicaid. Medicaid has been the largest category of state spending for the last three years and its growth is outpacing inflation, largely due to the effects of the Great Recession.
  • Medicaid is "crowding out" spending on other state priorities: as a percentage of state expenditures, total K-12 education spending has dropped 2% since FY 2008, while spending on Medicaid has increased 2%. Total spending on infrastructure is down 20% since FY 2009.
  • As measured by independent economists, state pension plans carry roughly $2.5 trillion in liabilities; health care benefits carry over $600 billion. None of these liabilities are reported in state financial statements.
  • States often manipulate their accounting rules to show a balanced budget, when in actuality a deficit exists. States can delay payments into future years (like tax refunds, or pension contributions), raise debt to cover the deficits (moving that debt off books using component units like transit authorities), and borrow from state funds meant for other uses (such as funds meant for infrastructure or environmental protection).
  • The "fiscal cliff" is coming on January 1, 2013, meaning that the federal government will have to find trillions in cuts over the next 10 years.  While grants to states make up only 16% of the federal budget, they make up 40% of the discretionary portion of the budget. State block grants will be a prime target for national budget cuts and states may pass federal reductions down cities -- the most vulnerable level of government, which rely on state block grants for 34% of their revenues.

The States Project has also published rankings of states based on fiscal stability, levels of debt, economic opportunity for citizens, educational attainment, and health and wellness. States which had the best overall fundamentals include: Virginia (#1), Minnesota (#2), New Hampshire (#3), Utah (#4), and Massachusetts (#5). The states that scored the lowest in the rankings were: Mississippi (#50), Nevada (#49), Louisiana (#48), West Virginia (#47), and Alabama (#46).

Harvard undergraduate and graduate students helped the project's small, elite team of economists, accountants, writers, and graphic designers to analyze data.  Following publication, project partners will continue to promote the reports as an educational resource for a variety of constituencies including government officials and policymakers, the media, middle schools, high schools and universities. 

The States Project is a joint venture of Harvard University's Institute of Politics, the University of Pennsylvania's Fels School of Government and the American Education Foundation, a nonpartisan 501(c)3.

For more information, or to read the full reports, visit: www.thestatesproject.org.

Harvard University's Institute of Politics (IOP), located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, was established in 1966 as a memorial to President Kennedy.  The IOP's mission is to unite and engage students, particularly undergraduates, with academics, politicians, activists, and policymakers on a non-partisan basis to inspire them to consider careers in politics and public service.  The Institute strives to promote greater understanding and cooperation between the academic world and the world of politics and public affairs.  More information is available online at www.iop.harvard.edu/.

The American Education Foundation (AEF) is an educational nonprofit dedicated to inspiring students of all ages to become active citizens in the public forum. The foundation is dedicated to producing fair and accurate political information in a non-partisan manner and to helping students acquire the communications skills necessary to navigate the world of public policy. The AEF publishes the Annual Report of the USA. More information is available online at www.americafound.org.

About the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania
The Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania is committed to advancing the quality of public leadership.  It accomplishes its mission by offering focused, practical educational programs that prepare students for public sector work; providing research and consulting services that improve the performance of organizations that serve the public; and bridging the worlds of practice and possibility through conferences, lectures, and discussions about public issues and public problem-solving.  For more information, please visit www.fels.upenn.edu.

SOURCE Harvard's Institute of Politics

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Public Cloud IaaS started its life in the developer and startup communities and has grown rapidly to a $20B+ industry, but it still pales in comparison to how much is spent worldwide on IT: $3.6 trillion. In fact, there are 8.6 million data centers worldwide, the reality is many small and medium sized business have server closets and colocation footprints filled with servers and storage gear. While on-premise environment virtualization may have peaked at 75%, the Public Cloud has lagged in adop...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
The time is ripe for high speed resilient software defined storage solutions with unlimited scalability. ISS has been working with the leading open source projects and developed a commercial high performance solution that is able to grow forever without performance limitations. In his session at Cloud Expo, Alex Gorbachev, President of Intelligent Systems Services Inc., shared foundation principles of Ceph architecture, as well as the design to deliver this storage to traditional SAN storage co...
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin,...
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with ...
The Cloud industry has moved from being more than just being able to provide infrastructure and management services on the Cloud. Enter a new era of Cloud computing where monetization’s services through the Cloud are an essential piece of strategy to feed your organizations bottom-line, your revenue and Profitability. In their session at 16th Cloud Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positioning & Brand Manager at Solgenia, discussed how to easily o...
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
In their session at 17th Cloud Expo, Hal Schwartz, CEO of Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS), and Chuck Paolillo, CTO of Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS), provide a study of cloud adoption trends and the power and flexibility of IBM Power and Pureflex cloud solutions. In his role as CEO of Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS), Hal Schwartz provides leadership and direction for the company.
Rapid innovation, changing business landscapes, and new IT demands force businesses to make changes quickly. The DevOps approach is a way to increase business agility through collaboration, communication, and integration across different teams in the IT organization. In his session at DevOps Summit, Chris Van Tuin, Chief Technologist for the Western US at Red Hat, will discuss: The acceleration of application delivery for the business with DevOps
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, S...
The speed of software changes in growing and large scale rapid-paced DevOps environments presents a challenge for continuous testing. Many organizations struggle to get this right. Practices that work for small scale continuous testing may not be sufficient as the requirements grow. In his session at DevOps Summit, Marc Hornbeek, Sr. Solutions Architect of DevOps continuous test solutions at Spirent Communications, explained the best practices of continuous testing at high scale, which is rele...
Container technology is sending shock waves through the world of cloud computing. Heralded as the 'next big thing,' containers provide software owners a consistent way to package their software and dependencies while infrastructure operators benefit from a standard way to deploy and run them. Containers present new challenges for tracking usage due to their dynamic nature. They can also be deployed to bare metal, virtual machines and various cloud platforms. How do software owners track the usag...
Puppet Labs has announced the next major update to its flagship product: Puppet Enterprise 2015.2. This release includes new features providing DevOps teams with clarity, simplicity and additional management capabilities, including an all-new user interface, an interactive graph for visualizing infrastructure code, a new unified agent and broader infrastructure support.
"Alert Logic is a managed security service provider that basically deploys technologies, but we support those technologies with the people and process behind it," stated Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
"ProfitBricks was founded in 2010 and we are the painless cloud - and we are also the Infrastructure as a Service 2.0 company," noted Achim Weiss, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of ProfitBricks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.