By Jill Ralph. A new survey reports that 16 states experienced negative growth during fiscal 2002; for fiscal 2003, 17 states have budgeted for negative growth.

Two-thirds of states report spending growth of less than 5 percent in both fiscal 2002 and fiscal 2003. On the revenue side, states continue to experience dwindling tax collections in fiscal 2003. For fiscal 2002, sales tax collections were 3.2 percent lower than budgeted.

The survey also found that 37 states reduced fiscal 2002 budgets by more than $12.8 billion after they were passed; 18 more than in fiscal 2001. Already in 2003, at least 23 states plan to reduce net budgets by more than $8.3 billion. The study was released in November by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers.

Published in BIG BUILDER Magazine, January 2003