15 States Cutting Current Budgets, Study Finds

By J.r. Sirkin — June 20, 2019 1 min read

Fourteen states have cut their fiscal 1986 budgets to avert year-end deficits, including several that reduced spending for education, according to a joint report by the National Governors’ Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers.

A 15th state, Louisiana, is expected to announce huge cuts early next month, according to a NASBO official.

Many of the states that have reduced their budgets did so early in the fiscal year, including Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. (See Education Week, Nov. 20, 1985.)

Others, however, approved the cuts only recently. Among those states are Hawaii, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Minnesota and Wisconsin made the largest reported reductions, cutting their fiscal 1986-87 budgets by $357 million and $247 million, respectively. Both states operate on biennial budgets.

In most states, the cuts have been applied across-the-board, as in Oklahoma, where Gov. George Nigh, a Democrat, ordered a 4.5 percent cut this year, hoping to halve an anticipated 9 percent fiscal 1986 shortfall.

In most states, K-12 education is the single largest line item in the state budget, and would thus assume the brunt of across-the-board cuts.

Other states, such as Mississippi, have made selective cuts, in some cases exempting education.

Mississippi, which cut $47.4 million in November, trimmed another $25.5 million in January and imposed a hiring and promotion freeze for state employees.

NASBO and the N.G.A. attribute the budget reductions to a “lackluster 1985 economic performance that has led to sagging state revenues” and to “uncertainty over the impact of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction law on state budgets.”

Most of the cuts have occurred in energy-producing states and farm states, which have been particularly hard hit by changes in the economy.

But according to Gerald Miller, the NASBO executive director, many states are also reporting “weak sales-tax collections,” an indicator of more widespread economic troubles.

“The states do not share one monolithic economy. Rather, each has a distinctive economy that determines its fiscal health,” Miller said.

“However, if economic performance continues to stagnate, many states will be repeating the belt-tightening scenario of the 1981-82 recession years,” he said.

A version of this article appeared in the February 19, 1986 edition of Education Week


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read