State lawmakers across the country are debating how to spend large surpluses after the economic recovery helped produce higher-than-expected tax collections for the second year in a row.
State legislatures and governors have welcomed this change after years of enacting painful spending cuts to balance their budgets. But they are waging battles both within and between their political parties about how to spend the extra money.
In a year when up to three dozen governors could run for re-election, as well as countless more state legislators who could be on the ballot, many of the proposals have unfortunately focused on short-term measures.
State officials should consider how to use at least part of their surpluses to improve the long-term health of their budgets instead of just haggling over whether to use the surpluses to finance short-term tax cuts or spending increases. A recent Concord blog post highlighted a report by the State Budget Crisis Task Force that said states have done little to address the long-term structural problems in their...