I am a nerd; when it comes to data, I am a sponge. I tell dad jokes because they make me laugh. I have many resources for these articles, and I generally do not share my resources, as I find many people are not as nerdy as I am when it comes to the issues surrounding America. I also find abbreviating stories fun and hope they are helpful for others who need information but do not have time to track all the data sources I follow as a nerd.
I am going to recommend the following resource and getting on their email list. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is an organization that works to help state legislatures work better. The NCSL Mission is all about increasing independence and integrity in state legislatures, and I have been very happy to gather and use data from this source. When I found this resource, I immediately signed up for their email list and occasionally receive state legislature news that is considered “local” or not “worthy” of corporate media reporting.
A critical activity of the NCSL is training state legislators to operate in their elected roles more fully. Training has been a concern of mine for many years due to how America selects its elected representatives. I do not want more bureaucracy, but junior legislators need mentoring, training, and having a network dedicated to watching, reporting, and offering help in training is a critical niche market for Americans to produce more trust in government and those elected to scrutinize the government. I do not want, and I think America could use, a lot less, lawyers as elected representatives. Thus, I promote the NCSL’s efforts to help.
My congratulations to the Executive and Legislative Branches of Indiana, you appear to be working well together, and I hope this trend continues.
“The revenue forecast Indiana received is good news and comes on the heels of a decade of fiscal discipline that is paying off in a big way for Hoosiers,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Ryan Mishler, R-Bremen, in a statement [emphasis mine].
House Speaker Todd Huston said the legislative leaders hope to use the extra $2 billion to pay off state debt, give public and private schools funding, and make one-time investments.
“Just one year ago, the pandemic entered the ring and seemed to deliver a knockout punch to our booming economy. Our near-record-low unemployment of 3% skyrocketed to a record-breaking high of 17% in a short period. Now, Indiana is not only bouncing back but winning the fight,” said Huston, R-Fishers, in a statement.
Now, here is the bitter pill in the good news posted above by the NCSL. A question has been percolating in my head since writing the series of education articles, Here, Here, and Here, “Where do states get their money?” With the continuing changes to state tax law, where the state is stealing county and city government tax revenue for school budgets controlled at the state level, more questions continue to percolate. I do not like the answers I am getting.
Hence, we introduce the information gleaned to inspire action in a more informed manner and understand the relationships between funding government on the state level and the incestuous relationship on the federal level.
We find the following article from PEW: “Where States Get Their Money: FY 2019.” The report contains a graphic that spells out the problems quite well, and I encourage you to visit, find your state, look at the sources, and ask questions! Averaging all the states, 49.1% of a state’s funding arrives as tax dollars directly. 31.4% arrives as funding from the Federal Government. However, this is not a good indicator of the incestuous relationship between the federal and state levels of government. Not all states are equal in receiving federal funds or the reasons for acquiring those funds. 11.3% arrives in state coffers as service charges for teachers’ licensure, building permits, and other executive branch-controlled service charges. 7.4% originates in a miscellaneous category (discretionary funds), which is a problematic category, as political payoffs are paid out of many a miscellaneous fund. Finally, 0.8% arrives from local funds, or the cities and counties are forwarding funds to the state for various reasons; for example, taxes on homes meant for local public schools but have to be filtered through the state coffers.
Thankfully, no single state is 100% funded by the federal government. However, FY 2019 definitely should raise some eyebrows and questions in Alaska, Louisana, Montana, and Wyoming, as to why these states top the list for receiving federal funds. The top 10 receivers of federal funding are Mississippi, Arizona, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, and Alabama. The states receiving the lowest funds are Hawaii, North Dakota, Virginia, Kansas, Utah, and Iowa. Also, a category needing more questions asked, scrutiny, and a lot more answers using audits and third-party auditing to explain.
Please note, I am only using PEW reported data; I do not know how these numbers were collated, I do not have access to the raw data, or see the bias built-in by humans when reporting numbers through statistics. I can only report the numbers and hope people take action by asking questions. FY 2019 needs examined quite heavily as the past is a prelude to the future. Unfortunately, the past being a prelude to the future is especially true where government funds arrive and depart in any level of elected representation.
© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
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