State News Roundup

News Roundup | May 5, 2011

Per Forbes, South Carolina state senators agreed to use $100 million of the state’s surplus to cover loans that have ensured state jobless benefits are paid. This agreement, which was reached Wednesday, will allow the Senate to move forward with an overhaul plan for the state’s jobless benefit system sometime next week. The overhaul could potentially trim six weeks from the 26 weeks of unemployment benefits that workers are already eligible to receive.

Last Thursday, legislators in Hawaii agreed on a final version of the state’s $11 billion annual budget, before determining just how to pay for the budget. As noted by Businessweek, pending tax increases are expected to reach $500 million over the next two years, which lawmakers are eyeing as the key to balancing Hawaii’s $1.3 billion projected shortfall over that time. The new budget actually increases state spending compared to the current fiscal year.  However, the legislators believe they can cut approximately $600 million from Governor Neil Abercrombie’s requested spending.

Today’s Los Angeles Times reports that tax receipts have been outpacing predictions and California state officials have announced the state has received an unexpected $2 billion surge in tax receipts. This unexpected windfall could help lawmakers close the state’s $15 billion budget deficit. But, the surge could complicate Governor Jerry Brown’s call for tax increases, which he asserts are necessary for the state’s long-term financial health.

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