(Reuters) - New Jersey and Maine are grabbing national attention for partial state government shutdowns over budget standoffs between governors and legislators but are not the only states to miss their deadlines for enacting annual spending plans.
In all, nine U.S. states have not yet passed budgets for the new fiscal year that kicked off for most states on July 1, a figure characterized as high by John Hicks, the executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers.
Illinois, New Jersey, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have not yet adopted a budget. Governors in New Jersey and Maine have taken the additional measure of imposing a partial government shutdown until a budget deal is reached.
Hicks cited lower than projected income tax and sales tax receipts as a main culprit for the larger-than-usual number of states with budgetary challenges this year. Pension liabilities and healthcare costs are also growing for states, he said.
The following lists key details on the nine states without budgets for the new fiscal year:
With Illinois entering its third fiscal year without a budget, state lawmakers are scrambling to pass a spending and revenue plan to avoid the state’s credit rating being downgraded to junk. On Monday, the state House of Representatives passed a bill for the third and final piece of the fiscal 2018 budget, and the measures are pending in the Senate.
New Jersey state parks, courts, beaches and other offices were closed on Monday in a partial government shutdown. Republican Governor Chris Christie wants to force nonprofit health insurer Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield to spend some of its billions of reserves on public drug addiction programs, but Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto has resisted the measure, which Christie has tied to the state budget.
A budget standoff between Maine’s Republican governor, Paul LePage, and Democratic lawmakers has shut down nonessential state services there. Negotiations over a $7 billion, two-year budget revolve around LePage’s insistence on deep spending cuts instead of tax hikes.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, took emergency control of state spending amid political discord over how to close a $5.1 billion budget gap over the next two years. State offices are open, but funding to nonprofit social service agencies is slashed.
Massachusetts’ roughly $40 billion full budget is in limbo after lawmakers failed to reach a compromise over cutting spending in light of declining revenue forecasts. Lawmakers did pass a $5.15 billion interim stopgap budget to keep the government open.
Oregon is “just finishing up,” said Hicks. The state government is working through the budget agency by agency, said Savannah Gilmore, a research analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures, who estimated the process should be finished fairly soon.
Turmoil hit Rhode Island’s budget process at the last minute on Friday night when its Democratic-controlled Senate amended a $9.2 billion budget already passed by the Democratic-led House of Representatives. House members refused to come back and square up the revised plan, meaning the state still has no budget. Services are not affected because Rhode Island by law continues to operate under the previous budget.
Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a $32 billion state spending plan last Friday but no revenue package as they wrestled with how to close a $2.3 billion deficit. Democratic Governor Tom Wolf had 10 days from when the bill was passed to sign or veto it before the spending measure becomes law automatically.
WISCONSINThe Wisconsin government’s primary disagreement centers on transportation funding, Hicks said, adding that education funding had not yet been settled. Late budgets, however, are not especially uncommon for Wisconsin, said Katie Quinn, a research analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Reporting by Stephanie Kelly and Hilary Russ in New York; Editing by Dan Burns and Peter Cooney