On February 22, NACo, along with other national organizations representing state and local governments, released the latest update of the State and Local Fiscal Facts Policy Brief. The groups first issued the brief several years ago in response to threats at the federal level that, among other things, would modify the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds, create new reporting requirements for state and local pensions, and introduce initiatives that could disrupt state and local finances.
State and Local Fiscal Facts 2016 continues the effort to address any existing misinformation or misperceptions of state and local finances. Some of the current data highlighted in the brief include:
- Forty-one states and the District of Columbia expect to meet or exceed their FY 2015 revenue projections.
- From 1970 through 2014, there were 92 rated municipal bond defaults, only 6 of which were rated city or county governments. The majority of rated defaulted bonds were issued by not-for-profit hospitals or housing project financings.
- Between 2009 and 2014, every state made changes to pension benefit levels, contribution rate structures, or both.
Even though fiscal challenges still remain, state and local government revenues have been slowly improving and officials across the country are taking the necessary steps to address these challenges head on.