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States' Revenue Estimating: Cracks in the Crystal Ball

States' Revenue Estimating: Cracks in the Crystal Ball

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Published by jon_ortiz
Looks at more than 20 years of bad fiscal guesses by government.
Looks at more than 20 years of bad fiscal guesses by government.

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Published by: jon_ortiz on Mar 01, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Crcks  eCrsl Bll
Ses’ ReeeEsg
March 2011
This report is a joint project of the Pew Center on the States and The Nelson A.Rockefeller Institute of Government.The Pew Center on the States is a division of The Pew Charitable Trusts that identifiesand advances effective solutions to critical issues facing states. Pew is a nonprofitorganization that applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy,inform the public and stimulate civic life.
For additional information on Pew and the Center on the States,please visitwww.pewcenteronthestates.org.
This report is intended for educational and informational purposes. References to specific policy makersor companies have been included solely to advance these purposes and do not constitute an endorsement,sponsorship or recommendation by The Pew Charitable Trusts.901 E Street NW, 10th Floor    2005 Market Street, Suite 1700Washington, DC 20004     Philadelphia, PA 19103
The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, at the University at Albany,is the public policy research arm of the State University of New York. TheInstitute conducts fiscal and programmatic research on American state and localgovernments. For additional information please visit
The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute411 State StreetAlbany, New York 12203-1003©2011 The Pew Charitable Trusts and The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.All Rights Reserved.
Dear Reader:As state leaders enter the fourth year of the nation’s fiscal crisis, it has never beenmore important for them to use the best information possible when crafting theirbudgets. The state revenue estimates that inform these spending plans help drivepolicy decisions about whether to raise or reduce taxes, how much to spend onprograms, andincreasinglywhere and how much to cut.
States’ Revenue Estimating: Cracks in the Crystal Ball
sheds new light on an understudiedaspect of the budget gaps that nearly all states have faced during the Great Recession:revenue estimating errors. The Pew Center on the States and The Nelson A. RockefellerInstitute of Government partnered to undertake this analysis of 23 years of data onpersonal income, sales and corporate income tax estimates and collections. The resultsreveal that the states regularly misestimate revenue and that those errors are significantlygreater in times of fiscal crisis. The troubling, long-term trend is that overestimates havegotten larger during each of the past three economic downturns, and more states havemade them. This report discusses the causes of this trend and describes practices somestates have adopted to achieve greater precision.The report builds on the track records of both Pew and the Rockefeller Institute inproviding state leaders with the vital information they need. The Pew Center on theStates helps lawmakers, the media and other stakeholders better understand states’current fiscal conditions and future prospects. The Rockefeller Institute has longinformed important policy decisions in New York State and across the country with itsresearch and analysis of state fiscal conditions, tax policies and spending trends.We hope this joint effort will inform and guide state leaders as they chart a path towardfiscal recovery today and sustainability tomorrow.Sincerely, Susan UrahnManaging DirectorPew Center on the States  Thomas GaisDirectorRockefeller Institute of Government

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