State Government Revenues Tops Expenditures Thanks to Pension Fund Investments

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
(AP photo)

The fiscal picture for state governments is looking rosier these days, thanks to state budgets having more revenues than expenditures. And the increase in state revenues is largely because state pension funds are booming in the stock market.


The U.S. Census Bureau reports that total state government revenues jumped 16.3% from 2012 to 2013, when their total value rose from $1.9 trillion $2.2 trillion.


At the same time, total expenditures for state governments only increased by 1.2%, up to $2 trillion.


The states showing the highest increases in general revenues from 2012 to 2013 were North Dakota (a 14% increase), New York (11.2%), and California (10.2%).


Census economists attributed most of the revenue increase (nearly 74%) to the growth in insurance trust revenue, which went up by 89.7% from $255.8 billion in 2012 to $485.2 billion in 2013. Most of the insurance trust revenue gain was due to pension systems performing so well in the markets.


“These insurance trust figures reflect the market value of investments, meaning that they are affected by fluctuations in capital markets and not solely by governments’ fiscal policies,” the Census Bureau reported in a press release.


The figures were drawn from a national summary (pdf) of state government finances, as well from the Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of State Government Finances, which provides state-by-state data on revenues, expenditures, revenue, debt, and holdings.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

State Government Revenues Exceed Expenditures in 2013, Census Bureau Reports (U.S. Census Bureau)

State Government Finances Summary: 2013 (by Cheryl H. Lee, Tereese Dyson, Matthew Park, Calvin Handy and Marquita Buchanan Reynolds, U.S. Census Bureau) (pdf)

California Pensions to Dump $4-Billion Hedge Fund Investments (by Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley and Ken Broder, AllGov California)


Leave a comment