Blog Post

Insight: State Budget Report Cards Out, Utah a Model Student

By: Juliette Tennert

Note: The opinions expressed are those of the author alone and do not reflect an institutional position of the Gardner Institute. We hope the opinions shared contribute to the marketplace of ideas and help people as they formulate their own INFORMED DECISIONS™.

The Volcker Alliance gave Utah high marks in state budget practices in its recently released Truth and Integrity in State Budgeting: The Balancing Act report.

The third annual report is the product of a multi-year study that assesses how state governments measure up in five fiscal practice areas:

  • Budget forecasting: Whether or not states do consensus and multi-year forecasts and the reasonableness of assumptions
  • Budget maneuvers: States’ use of short-term budget fixes that threaten long-term sustainability
  • Legacy costs: Funding efforts for public pension and other post-employment benefit obligations
  • Reserve funds:  Existence and adequacy of budget reserve funds and withdrawal and deposit policies
  • Transparency: The detail and accessibility of information on the overall budget, debt, deferred infrastructure replacement costs, and tax expenditures

Since the research began, no state has earned an all-A report card. Only Hawaii and Utah posted As in four of five categories in FY 2019. Hawaii received a