Reeling from the coronavirus shutdowns, Ohio has cut $775 million in spending from its current budget. Colorado slashed $3.3 billion – about a quarter of its general fund – from the coming year. Washington state is forcing tens of thousands of workers to take unpaid days off through the fall.
Tuesday is the deadline for many states to balance their budgets ahead of the new fiscal year. But some states are trying to avoid the deepest cuts – at least for now – until they see whether they can narrow their yawning deficits through tax payments delayed until July and a potential new round of federal relief from Congress. They are delaying the adoption of a final budget or waiting to make changes to the spending plans they already passed.
The widespread shutdown of non-essential businesses wreaked havoc on states, which saw their sales, income and corporate tax revenues plummet as Americans curtailed purchases and companies laid off millions of workers. Unlike the federal government, states and municipalities have to adopt balanced budgets.
Congress is expected in coming weeks to consider additional assistance for states, businesses and the unemployed, but it’s far from guaranteed that any more money will flow from Washington, DC, to state capitals.