Q&A: What Is the Next Big Budget Concern for States?

By: - July 25, 2009 12:00 am

Even if the U.S. economy were to turn around by the end of the year, states are worried their own fiscal conditions will get worse before they get better. Several legislators shared their concerns for the new budget year with Stateline.org during the National Conference of State Legislatures’ July 20-23 summit in Philadelphia.

Many states had to cut spending or raise taxes because of the recession. Fears are that budget conditions will get even worse. 
What is your biggest concern in the coming year?

On Tuesday, Stateline.org asked governors about their biggest budget concern


Tomorrow – Stateline.org asks legislators: What development in your state would lead you to push for a second stimulus package?


Illinois state Sen.
Pamela Althoff (R)

Increasing taxes. It’s a very difficult decision for legislators to make when the economy is bad and people are hurting. But people also need services. You have to balance those decisions. (In Illinois), we did not raise taxes this year. We borrowed money, which is almost as unconscionable.

-Illinois state Sen. Pamela Althoff (R)

Massachusetts state Rep. Kathi Anne Reinstein (D)

I believe next year could be worse. We’ve depleted our reserve fund, and after next year, there will be no more stimulus money. I hope to institute gaming. There’s no appetite for tax increases.

-Massachusetts state Rep. Kathi Anne Reinstein (D)



North Dakota state Rep. Darrell Nottestad (R)

Stability in oil and commodity prices. In our state, we can’t have oil prices go up and down. Farm commodity prices need to stay at a stable level also.

-North Dakota state Rep. Darrell Nottestad (R)



Illinois state Sen.
Donne Trotter (D)

We cannot cut nor tax our way out of this. We need to make structural changes. … The problem is that we made a pledge to enhance and enrich (residents’) quality of life, and my concern is that we would have to ratchet back some of the good things we’ve done that affect people’s lives. But it’s a new way of doing business now.

-Illinois state Sen. Donne Trotter (D)



Texas state Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson (R)

What I’m concerned about is we’re going to have to pay for the federal stimulus, probably through higher taxes. I want to avoid a double whammy in Texas where we’d have to drive Texas taxes up.

-Texas state Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson (R)

New Hampshire state Rep.
Patrick Long (D)

My biggest concern is finding alternative revenue sources. We could argue what’s going to ruin our state socially, personal beliefs. But (now is) a time when you need job creation.

-New Hampshire state Rep. Patrick Long (D)


Arkansas state Rep. Richard Carroll (D)

The recovery stalling. It’s OK for the economy to level out where we’ve been at, but we need to see more improvement. If it stalls out, with further loss of jobs, we’d have to address that.

-Arkansas state Rep. Richard Carroll (D)


Michigan state Sen.
Mark C. Jansen (R)

If our economy does worse than it is right now.

-Michigan state Sen. Mark C. Jansen (R )



Mississippi state Rep. Steve Holland (D)

I’ve been in the Legislature for 27 years, so something always worries me. We’re in a malaise right now, but I feel we’re getting over it. I’m an eternal optimist. Government is good, not bad.

-Mississippi state Rep. Steve Holland (D)

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Stateline staff
Stateline staff

Stateline’s team of veteran journalists combines original reporting with a roundup of the latest news from sources around the country.