Glasgall, Bunch Meet with Legislative Budget Chiefs
William Glasgall, the Volcker Alliance’s senior director, Public Finance, and Beverly S. Bunch, author of the Alliance issue paper, The $195 Billion Challenge, met with more than fifty legislative budget directors at the annual Fiscal Summit in Denver held by the National Council of State Legislatures. Their attendance at the meeting was part of the Alliance’s efforts to bring together partners in research and practitioners to promote fiscal sustainability and empower public servants.
Bunch, public finance professor at University of Illinois Springfield and a longtime member of the Alliance’s Truth and Integrity in Government Finance research team, also gave a presentation, “Responsible Budgeting in the Stimulus Age,” reviewing COVID-19-linked federal budget aid to states and the risk of so-called fiscal cliffs after the money is spent. The topic was also the focus of The $195 Billion Challenge – the amount allocated to state budgets as part of the $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) that Congress provided as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. The Alliance is planning a sequel to the paper, also to be authored by Bunch, which will look at recent expenditures by states of SLFRF dollars and the extent to which one-time cash infusions are being used to support continuing programs that may need new funding once the federal assistance runs out in 2026.
Even with state coffers currently brimming with record amounts of cash—a major result of $5 trillion in federal COVID aid buoying income and sales tax revenues—the presentation prompted a spirited discussion on preparing for a less-abundant future. “I think we need to start talking about this more,” commented Jonathan Ball, Utah’s Legislative Fiscal Analyst.