May 14, 2021 - News Flash

By Brian Sigritz posted 05-14-2021 02:58 PM

  

Alabama

Alabama legislators approved a $7.7 billion Education Trust Fund budget for fiscal year 2022, an increase of 6 percent; the budget includes a 2 percent raise for teachers and other employees and a $95 million teacher stabilization fund to offset temporary enrollment declines. The state Senate approved a $2.4 billion General Fund budget for fiscal year 2022, an increase of 3.6 percent, which includes a 2 percent pay raise for state employees. The governor ordered a termination in the participation of federally funded pandemic unemployment compensation programs effective June 19. Lawmakers approved a proposed $85 million bond issue to improve the state’s 21 parks, placing it on the 2022 primary election ballot.

 

Alaska
Alaska’s governor introduced a proposal to spend the state’s ARPA funds, which calls for using the federal aid for economic recovery and innovation, infrastructure investment, tourism revitalization, additional public safety costs, and to offset eligible general fund expenditures. State House lawmakers passed its version of the state operating budget, which included a different proposal to spend ARPA funds; that plan is now being revisited due to guidance released by U.S. Treasury. Last month, the state House also approved two years of public education funding.

 

Arizona
Arizona’s governor signed a bill altering the state tax code to conform with federal changes. The state Supreme Court continues to weigh whether or not the state’s new tax on high-income earners to generate revenue for education, approved by voters last fall, is constitutional. With state revenues exceeding projections, some lawmakers are considering replacing the state’s income tax brackets with a single flat tax rate. The state superintendent announced her office will use $21.3 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to pay for new school counselors and social workers. The governor signed a bill to permit community colleges to award four-year degrees.

 

Arkansas

Arkansas legislators approved a fiscal year 2022 budget that allocates $5.84 billion in general revenue to state-supported programs, an increase over the current year $5.68 billion budget; the budget is based on an estimated net general revenue forecast of $6.06 billion before tax cut reductions of $203.1 million. State general revenue tax collections in April increased by $260 million, or 37.8 percent, over the prior year and exceeded the forecast by $153.3 million, or 19.3 percent. The governor signed legislation increasing median teacher pay by $2,000 over the next two years. The governor created a 15-member steering committee to recommend best uses of the state’s $1.57 billion in federal relief funds after laying out his priorities for the funding. The governor announced plans to call a special session in the fall to consider new income tax cut proposals.

 

California
California’s governor began announcing details of his administration’s $100 billion “California Comeback Plan,” which will include tax rebates for residents and $12 billion in new spending to combat homelessness. These announcements, rolled out ahead of the May 14th release of the governor’s revised budget, come as the state is now projecting a $76 billion budget surplus and is slated to receive $27 billion in state fiscal recovery funds under ARPA. Based on the current projected surplus, the state is required by its own spending limitation to return some money to taxpayers. Recently released data show public schools in the state have experienced a sharp enrollment decline.

 

Colorado
Colorado’s legislature approved a $34.1 billion state budget for fiscal 2022, which provides for a $4 billion spending increase. The governor and legislative leaders announced a transportation bill that would generate nearly $3.8 billion in revenue from new fees and allocate an additional $1.5 billion from general fund and federal stimulus funds for transportation. Lawmakers introduced additional bills as part of the state’s economic recovery plan, which would create new grant programs focused on community revitalization and wildfire mitigation. 


Connecticut

Connecticut’s governor released a plan for proposed uses for the COVID-19 recovery funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.  The legislature’s Appropriations Committee will create its own proposal by May 16, and then the two plans will be negotiated between the legislature and the governor. The state is projecting an operating surplus of $249.8 million that represents 1.2 percent of the general fund. The state plans to allocate $10.7 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds toward education programs designed to help make up for learning loss during the pandemic. The governor is offering a $280 million proposal to the nursing home industry to avoid an impending strike.

 

Delaware
Delaware is focusing on efforts to help school districts and charter schools make up for lost learning over the last 13 months and will support training and professional learning, efforts to leverage data to diagnose unfinished learning, and building structures to accelerate learning. The state is seeing more enrollment for Affordable Care Act healthcare coverage with the tax credits included in the ARPA making coverage under the government health plans more affordable along with the extended sign-up period. The legislature has been examining the governor’s $894 million capital budget proposal.

 

Florida

Florida legislators approved a $101.5 billion budget for fiscal year 2022, including $10 billion in federal relief funds, which increases spending for K-12 schools, teacher salaries, emergency response and combatting effects of rising sea levels. The budget also includes bonuses for teachers and first responders and increases the minimum wage in state government to $13 per hour. The governor signed a bill requiring out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes that is estimated to raise $1 billion in revenue annually. General revenue collections in March were $299.6 million above the December forecast, bolstered by gains in sales tax revenue. The governor signed legislation expanding the state’s K-12 school voucher program to an additional 61,000 students at a cost of $200 million.


Georgia

Georgia’s governor signed a $27.2 billion budget for fiscal year 2022 that funds targeted pay raises for high turnover positions, backfills 60 percent of previous education spending cuts, and provides $40 million for a rural innovation fund and $10 million to expand rural broadband. The governor also signed a bill granting state employees, including teachers, three weeks of paid parental leave. The Board of Regents voted to freeze tuition and fees at current levels for the University System of Georgia’s 26 public colleges and universities for the upcoming school year. The governor signed legislation requiring short-term home rental companies to pay hotel taxes, which is estimated to raise $17 million for the state in fiscal year 2022.

 

Hawaii
Hawaii’s legislature adjourned session after passing a $31.2 billion biennial budget, which was aided by $1.35 billion in federal aid; lawmakers used nearly half of ARPA funds to pay back $700 million in loan funds borrowed from the federal government for unemployment insurance. Before adjourning, the legislature also restructured the state Tourism Authority’s funding. Lawmakers also used nearly $30 million in coronavirus relief money to provide for teacher bonuses, though the governor may veto the funds or withhold the money. 

 

Idaho
Idaho’s governor signed a transportation bill allowing the state to bond up to $1.6 billion for transportation infrastructure projects and directing $80 million towards roads and other projects. The governor announced that the state would stop participating in three federally funded pandemic unemployment assistance programs next month. Lawmakers have so far allocated $50 million in ARPA funds for potential pandemic-related needs, but the rest of the funding will go through the budget process in the 2022 session; the state is expected to use some of the funds to bolster water, sewer and broadband infrastructure. The legislature passed three bills to curb the governor’s emergency powers this session, which is on track to be the longest in state history. 

 

Illinois
Illinois’ governor announced his support for an additional $350 million for evidence-based education funding in fiscal 2022 due to an improved revenue outlook. The legislature has begun bipartisan budget discussions with roughly three weeks left in the legislative session. The state is expected to surpass $1 billion in marijuana sales this year, with revenue from the sales surpassing liquor.  The governor signed a measure to address racism in health care. The governor’s office also released an energy overhaul bill. The state’s unpaid bill backlog has been reduced from $16.7 billion to $3.5 billion.

 

Indiana
Indiana’s legislature passed, and the governor signed, a $37.4 billion two-year budget with bipartisan support that includes $2 billion in new education funding intended to help school districts provide teacher pay raises, spends $5.1 billion in one-time federal and state funds, and includes $2.9 billion in reserves in the second year of the budget. Indiana schools are also expected to receive nearly $2 billion in additional federal aid. Earlier, a revenue forecast was released adding $862 million for fiscal 2022 and $1.1 billion if fiscal 2023. The governor vetoed a plan to reduce the power of local health officials, which the legislature voted to override.

 

Iowa
Iowa’s legislature continues to work towards adjournment and is attempting to pass a tax overhaul bill. Earlier the governor released a compromise plan to accelerate income tax cuts, shift mental health funding, and make changes to local funding. Some mental health and local government groups have voiced concerns about the proposed compromise plan. The governor announced that the state will be ending federal pandemic unemployment benefits starting June 12. Iowa is projected to receive $1.48 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan. The governor signed a broadband grant law including $100 million in funding.

 

Kansas
Kansas’ governor signed the fiscal 2022 budget that includes new funding for newborn screenings, mental health prevention and crisis services, and programs for people with intellectual disabilities and in long-term nursing care; the governor issued 18 line-item vetoes while signing the budget. The legislature restored a number of the vetoes including ones dealing with tax cuts and election reform. The governor and the legislature did reach agreement on allowing both sides to have a say in how federal COVID-19 relief aid is distributed. Other bills approved by the legislature includes providing $500 million in aid to small businesses, a vaccine passport ban, and judicial branch pay raises. Additionally, a compromise measure was passed to provide full funding for K-12 schools while modestly expanding school choice eligibility. Earlier, the state increased its revenue forecast for fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2022 by a combined $361 million.

 

Kentucky
Kentucky reported record sales and motor vehicle usage tax receipts in April; sales tax receipts were a 40 percent increase from April 2020 totals with fiscal year receipts up 9 percent. The state is projected to have a $586 million general fund surplus and more than $1 billion in its rainy day fund. Fitch Ratings also announced it upgraded the state’s financial outlook to stable. The state’s Unemployment Insurance work search requirements, which were waived as part of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be reinstated effective May 9. Kentucky state and local governments are estimated to receive $3.77 billion in ARPA funds.

Louisiana
Louisiana’s House of Representatives advanced budget bills that included ARPA funding; $400 million is directed to the Unemployment Trust Fund, $300 million to sewer and water system upgrades, $55 million for revenue loss for ports, $10 million for the logging industry, $4.5 million for movie theaters, and $50 million to nonprofits and small businesses. The Louisiana House voted to dedicate 10 percent of state sales tax from vehicles to road construction, and increase that by 10 percent each year until all funding from motor vehicle sales is directed to roads. The legislature is also considering a tax reform measure impacting the personal income tax. As child care providers wait for an estimated $476 million from the latest federal aid bill, the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children says day cares and centers lost more than $245 million between March 2020 and late January 2021.


Maine
Maine’s governor released her proposal to invest more than $1 billion in discretionary federal relief funds allocated to the state under the ARPA that includes immediate economic recovery from the pandemic, long-term economic growth, and infrastructure revitalization. The governor also unveiled her nearly $9 billion revised budget proposal that includes spending from ARPA and meets the state’s obligation to pay 55 percent of the cost of K-12 education. State revenues are projected to increase by $462 million this year and $460 million next year and the state revenue forecasting committee is projecting state revenues will exceed where they were before the pandemic began with all major revenue sources. The governor unveiled a bond proposal of $100 million to maintain and upgrade the transportation system and $40 million to conserve lands and waters.


Maryland
Maryland is offering $100 to state employees who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus; approximately 52,000 state employees are eligible for the benefit. The governor announced “Project Bounce Back” to help children recover from the stress and isolation of the pandemic, funded by $25 million in federal aid. The General Assembly passed an emergency bill delaying implementation of the state’s digital advertising tax to 2022. The state finalized a $577 million settlement to a 15-year federal lawsuit relating to underfunding at the state’s four historically Black colleges and universities. The state university system will require students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated against the coronavirus before returning to campuses in the fall.

Massachusetts
Massachusetts’ Senate leaders released a $47.6 billion budget plan that draws $1.55 billion from the rainy day fund. A six-member conference committee made up of three House and three Senate members will work on agreement of a budget plan that will be sent to the governor. Legislative leaders are planning to decide how to spend the $4.5 billion in federal pandemic aid separately, rather than include that money into the state’s 2022 fiscal year budget plan. Fiscal 2021 year-to-date revenue collections through April totaled approximately $26.449 billion, which is $3.405 billion or 14.8 percent more than the prior year and $1.830 billion or 7.4 percent more than benchmark.

Michigan
Michigan’s Senate has begun passing budget bills that are in total approximately $900 less than the governor’s recommendation. Michigan is set to receive approximately $11 billion in American Rescue Plan funding, with $6.54 billion for state government. The governor earlier released a list of priorities for federal COVID-19 relief funding including job creation, infrastructure, health care and education. The House released a $13 billion pandemic relief package that the governor is not expected to sign in its current form. The House has also discussed a plan to require state agencies to budget on a quarterly basis. A plan released by the governor would help localities offset a portion of their income tax losses during the pandemic.


Minnesota
Minnesota’s legislature continues to consider the next two-year budget before its scheduled adjournment next week; if the budget is not finished by the deadline the legislature will have to enter into special session. Other issues being considered include tax changes, police reform, elections bills, redistricting, environmental issues, and legalizing recreational marijuana. The governor has also called on the Senate to pass a $150 million summer school plan. The state is expected to receive $2.83 billion from the American Rescue Plan, over $200 million more than projected. The governor announced plans to end COVID-19 restrictions by July 1 or earlier depending on vaccination rates.


Mississippi
Mississippi applied for more than $2 billion in relief funding from the American Rescue Plan and also opted to discontinue participation in expanded unemployment programs. The state is increasing benefits paid through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program by $90 a month per family, three months ahead of schedule. Following inclusion of $6.9 million in the fiscal year 2022 budget for state employee pay raises, the state personnel board is conducting a process to determine a “fair market” pay scale. Tuition will increase at seven of the state’s eight public universities in the fall by an average of 2.8 percent for in-state and 3.0 percent for out-of-state students.


Missouri
Missouri’s legislature approved a $35 billion budget that includes funding increases for public schools, universities, hospitals and nursing homes, as well as a pay raise for state employees. The budget did not include a voter-approved Medicaid expansion. The governor then ended all plans for Medicaid expansion in the state, citing the lack of a revenue source or funding authority from the General Assembly. A federal judge threw out the state attorney general’s lawsuit against the Biden administration over a provision against using federal COVID aid to pay for state tax cuts. The governor said he does not expect to spend $2.7 billion in American Rescue Plan funds until next year. The governor also announced a plan to end all federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits. The legislature recently approved a prescription drug monitoring program. The House also approved an increase in the state’s gas tax.


Montana
Montana’s legislature adjourned after passing a $12.6 billion biennial budget, which calls for general fund spending growth of less than 1 percent per year and leaves the state with a $350 million ending balance in combination with other reserve funds. Lawmakers also approved legislation to spend ARPA funds, including $275 million on broadband as well as funding for statewide infrastructure projects; the legislation creates commissions to review and pick projects to fund, a process that will start this summer. The state will end its participation in several federal unemployment programs next month as well as provide one-time payments to those who start new jobs.


Nebraska
Nebraska’s governor signed the state’s $9.7 billion two-year budget praising it for controlling state spending and significantly increasing direct property tax relief, while also calling for additional tax relief. The legislature continues to consider other tax reform including phasing out state taxes on Social Security checks over 10 years and slightly lowering its top corporate income tax rate. Lawmakers are also considering a bill increasing standards for police officers and the departments that employ them, and changes to a casino gambling implementation bill. Other issues being considered by the legislature include school finance, medical marijuana, and concealed carry. Earlier, the state increased its revenue forecast for the current year by $90 million.


Nevada
Nevada will receive $2.7 billion in direct aid under ARPA, and lawmakers are expected to allocate the money in a to-be-announced special legislative session. The governor has called for using the funds to strengthen its fiscal position, restore spending cuts, and fix outdated systems to improve the state’s longer-term outlook. The state’s revenue forecast for the next biennium was revised upward by $586 million, which will inform final decisions on the state’s next biennial budget. The governor recently called for lawmakers to fund a state infrastructure bank.


New Hampshire
New Hampshire will receive more than $1.4 billion in state and local relief funding from the ARPA. Revenue collections through April total $2.5 billion, which is $242.9 million above estimates, and $212 million over estimates after $30.8 million in accruals are deducted for fiscal 2020. The Department of Transportation received $41 million in federal pandemic money to fund its operations and without the additional aid would have needed to reduce staff positions to address the shortfall in highway fund revenue due to the pandemic.


New Jersey
New Jersey’s fiscal year-to-date, total revenue collections of $24.314 billion are up $1.916 billion, or 8.6 percent above the same nine-month period last year. The governor announced an additional $235 million in funding for small business relief and $40 million in funding for an excluded residents fund to assist individuals negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The state’s credit outlook was raised to stable by Moody’s Investors Services. The governor proposed to allocate up to $50 million to help residents attend college who may not be able to afford it.


New Mexico
New Mexico’s governor signed the state’s $7.4 billion budget bill but vetoed $1 billion in one-time spending for fiscal 2022 that would have been supported with ARPA funds. The governor and legislative leaders are in a stalemate over which branch of government has the authority to allocate the federal relief aid. The state this week reinstituted work search requirements, after the governor announced recently that the state would adopt new policies to encourage unemployed residents to return to work.


New York
New York’s enacted fiscal 2022 budget is boosted by a substantial influx of new resources, totaling an estimated $26.7 billion. These resources include federal support, better-than-expected tax collections, revenues from tax increases, and other new resources, according to the comptroller. State and local governments will be receiving about $24 billion from ARPA with $12.7 billion allocated to the state. The state is offering free baseball tickets to people that get vaccinated before a game. Lawmakers are seeking to extend an eviction moratorium through August 31. Tax collections for fiscal 2021 totaled $82.4 billion, $3 billion higher than forecast in February and were $513.3 million lower than the previous year.


North Carolina

North Carolina’s governor signed a bill that ensures income tax filers will not have to pay interest on payments submitted by the new May 17 filing deadline; penalties were waived by the revenue secretary. Lawmakers proposed an amendment to the state constitution that would place caps on government spending, require yearly deposits into state reserves, return surpluses to taxpayers and require voter approval for tax increases. The governor signed legislation that requires school districts to use a phonics-based approach to teaching reading and creates a summer program to address COVID-19 learning loss. The state Senate approved a bill expanding access to and increasing funding for private school scholarship programs.


North Dakota
North Dakota’s legislature passed, and the governor signed, a record $16.9 billion two-year budget that includes federal money and coronavirus aid, and calls for approximately $5 billion of general fund spending, a 3 percent increase from 2019. Other bills passed in the session include a $680 million bonding bill for infrastructure projects, legislation altering Legacy Fund investments, elections reforms, merging together Health and Human Services agencies, and trimming the governor’s emergency powers. The governor said the session kept general fund spending in check and invested in infrastructure without raising taxes. The governor also announced plans to end its participation in the federal government’s pandemic-related unemployment assistance programs, effective June 19.


Ohio
Ohio’s House passed a two-year, $74 billion budget bill that includes an increase of K-12 funding and an overhaul of the funding system, an income tax cut, and aid for bars, restaurants and indoor entertainment venues, among other provisions. The legislature has also been considering a series of other issues concerning sports betting, voting changes, and police reform. Earlier, the legislature approved a broadband expansion bill. A new law provides $465 million to help Ohioans pay housing and utility bills. Ohio is projected to receive approximately $12 billion from the American Rescue Plan, with roughly $5.4 billion going to the state. The governor announced plans for $1 million lottery drawings and free college scholarships for those that get the COVID-19 vaccine.


Oklahoma
Oklahoma’s governor signed a bill that reforms the state’s civil service system, including eliminating employee position classifications and streamlining the due process system to hear grievance claims more quickly. The commerce department set aside $10 million for manufacturers to support high-impact, new capital investment across a range of industries to help diversify the state’s economy. The state Senate approved a bill requiring electric vehicle owners to contribute to the state’s transportation infrastructure through the creation of a registration fee and a public-recharging tax. The governor signed a bill giving the state universal occupational licensing recognition to out-of-state professionals, although certain examination requirements and fees would still apply.


Oregon
Oregon lawmakers are on track to approve a $9.3 billion state school fund budget, representing a $300 million increase compared to the current services baseline determined by state legislative fiscal staff. The governor rebuked the plan as not focused on equity and possibly unconstitutional, as it would use education reserve funds that may only be tapped under certain conditions. Legislative leaders have proposed $240 million in federal relief money from ARPA be used to provide each state lawmaker a pot of money to control. The legislature is considering a bill that would require owners of new, fuel-efficient vehicles to pay a fee for every mile driven.


Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania collected $4 billion in general fund revenue in April, which was $28.2 million, or 0.7 percent, more than anticipated. Fiscal year-to-date general fund collections total $32.7 billion, which is $1.3 billion, or 4.2 percent, above estimate. Medicaid enrollment increased 14.7 percent, or by 400,000 individuals, to 3.2 million since February 2020. The enrollment increases reflect both the economic fallout from COVID-19 and federal rules preventing states from disenrolling Medicaid members during the pandemic. The state should be receiving close to $5 billion for PreK-12 schools from the recently passed federal relief bill.


Rhode Island
Rhode Island’s governor will begin collecting ideas about how the state can improve its economy and take advantage of $1.78 billion in federal stimulus funds. Revenue estimates have been revised upward for this year and next year combined by $300 million with income tax, sales tax and lottery revenue the main sources of the increase. The governor signed an Act on Climate bill aimed at cutting the state’s greenhouse-gas emissions to net-zero by 2050. Medicaid has grown by more than 40,000 people from higher unemployment and since the federal government stopped states from terminating benefits at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.


South Carolina
South Carolina’s senators approved a $10 billion budget for fiscal year 2022, after having an additional $1.7 billion to spend, that includes a 2 percent pay raise for state employees, a $1,000 raise for teachers and a $100 million repair fund for poorer school districts; the House will consider the bill in June. A provision in the budget would cut funding for school districts with more than 5 percent of students in virtual programs. The governor directed the state to stop participating in all federal pandemic-related unemployment programs effective June 30.


South Dakota
South Dakota’s governor discussed plans for the state’s $100 million broadband subsidy program. The state has yet to determine how it will spend American Rescue Plan funds, and the governor indicated she is likely to call a special session to consider best uses for the funds. A group seeking to expand Medicaid lost its bid to the state Supreme Court to delay an election set by the legislature asking voters to raise the bar for passing expensive ballot measures. An audit determined that less than 1 percent of federal coronavirus relief fund dollars distributed through the state were awarded in error. The state has awarded approximately $488 million in CARES Act funds to small businesses and health care providers.


Tennessee
Tennessee legislators approved a $42.6 billion budget for fiscal year 2022 that includes pay raises for teachers and state employees, $250 million for a new mental health trust fund, $100 million deposited into the rainy day reserve, a payment of $250 million for the state’s pension system, and $100 million for local government improvements. Lawmakers halved the governor’s proposed $100 million for a two-week sales tax holiday for restaurants, bars and groceries and also eliminated half of the proposed $200 million for broadband expansion. The governor announced the state would withdraw from federal pandemic-related unemployment programs effective July 3.


Texas

Texas’ comptroller revised revenue estimates for the current budget and fiscal 2022-2023 biennium, with the state expecting an extra $725 million in the current cycle and $3 billion in the upcoming biennium. The state collected $3.4 billion in sales tax revenue in April, an increase of 19.2 percent over the prior year. The state released $11.2 billion out of nearly $18 billion available in federal pandemic relief funding dedicated for public schools. The House passed a two-year, $246.8 billion budget for fiscal years 2022-2023, which fully funds improvements to school finances and the state’s buy down of local school property tax rates. The state and local governments will receive a combined $25 billion in federal relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.

 

Utah
Utah’s governor signed a series of bills aimed at equity that address hunger, homelessness, immigration, housing affordability, and language barriers. The governor has identified improving equity in education, addressing health disparities, and promoting unity in politics as priorities for his administration going forward. Lawmakers are expected to meet in special session later this month to accept and begin allocating federal ARPA funds following 10 “guiding principles” outlined by legislative leaders, such as addressing the state’s long-term challenges and inspiring innovation. A state budget official said leaders will focus on using the funds to aid struggling businesses and industries. State revenues so far this fiscal year are exceeding projections used to set the state’s budget for fiscal 2022.

 

Vermont
Vermont’s governor presented a plan to invest $1 billion in one-time federal money provided to states from ARPA using the funds in five strategic categories: $250.5 million for broadband and wireless connectivity, $249 million for housing, $200 million for climate change mitigation measures, $170 million for water and sewer infrastructure, $143 million for further economic development and recovery. The proposal also includes $17 million to cover administration and successful deployment of funds. The Senate approved a $7.2 billion budget that includes nearly half of the funds from ARPA and would dedicate $115 million to clean water projects, $100 million to broadband expansion, $53 million to higher education, and $23 million to workforce development initiatives. A $100 million bill to expand broadband was approved unanimously by the Senate.


Virginia

Virginia’s governor signed legislation legalizing the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, with use and possession legal July 1, but commercial cultivation and sales delayed until 2024. March revenue was up 18.5 percent over the prior year, while total general revenue fund collections are up 9 percent through March on a year-to-date basis, or 3 percent ahead of projections. The governor announced $62.7 million in funding to help school districts with pandemic-related learning loss, with half of the funds awarded to cover costs associated with year-round or extended-year calendars. The state’s minimum wage rose to $9.50 per hour on May 1 and the rate will gradually rise to $12 per hour by January 1, 2023. The state is bringing back job search requirements as part of unemployment benefits beginning in June.


Washington
Washington lawmakers adjourned their session after approving a $59 billion biennial budget, while also allocating $10.6 billion in federal COVID-19 funding – including most of the $4.25 billion the state will receive in fiscal recovery funds under ARPA. The budget also drains the state’s $1.8 billion rainy day fund, which automatically replenishes over time, while lawmakers’ spending plan also deposits $1 billion into a new more flexible savings account. The legislature also approved a 7 percent capital gains tax and a low carbon fuel standard, both top priorities of the governor. The governor signed a bill expanding child care and early learning access.

 

West Virginia
West Virginia lawmakers passed a fiscal 2022 budget cutting about $73 million from the governor’s proposal, and failed to come to agreement on a proposed income tax reduction. The state’s April tax collections exceeded estimates by $1.89 million despite the tax filing deadline being extended to May. The change in deadline caused personal income taxes to fall short of projections but corporate income, sales, tobacco, and severance tax collections exceeded expectations and drove the surplus. The state unveiled plans to incentivize vaccinations, including savings bonds to those 16 to 35, and improve access; the governor is now planning on offering gift cards in place of saving bonds.


Wisconsin
Wisconsin is set to receive approximately $2.5 billion from the American Rescue Plan, about $700 million less than an earlier estimate from the Congressional Research Service. Following the announcement, the governor said he will adjust his spending plans. The legislature has begun work on the next two-year budget and recently removed 384 items from the governor’s budget proposal, including Medicaid expansion and marijuana legalization. The legislature is also examining potential tax cuts. The governor’s $100 million venture capital fund proposal has received bipartisan support. Earlier, the governor created a $420 million grant program for small businesses and vetoed the legislature’s plan for spending federal COVID-19 relief aid.


Wyoming

Wyoming’s governor’s office will develop the next state budget proposal without spending cuts, as the state’s latest informal revenue forecast showed improved projections compared to the January report. The legislature adjourned its regular session without passing legislation to address the state’s $300 million projected education funding deficit. The legislature appears likely to hold a special session this summer, when they may reconsider Medicaid expansion. The governor announced the state would stop participating in federal supplemental unemployment assistance programs.