A Low Federal Budget Deficit, Some State Budget Surpluses

The US monthly budget deficit narrowed sharply in December to $21.3 billion. Treasury Department data reveal the lowest monthly budget deficit in two years, thanks to a rebounding economy and slower spending as some COVID relief programs expired. Prior to December 2021, the lowest monthly budget deficit occurred in December 2019 at $13.3 billion.  In December 2020, the deficit was $143.6 billion.

Georgia has a $2.2 billion budget surplus, and Gov. Kemp has a tax relief plan. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp announced Wednesday a plan to give a $250 to $500 tax credit to Georgians to single and joint filers, respectively. Georgia lawmakers cut 2021 spending by 10 percent when developing the budget in 2020, but 2021 revenues were stronger than expected.

Iowa Gov. Reynolds proposes tax changes, too. In her Condition of the State address to the Iowa legislature this week, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds proposed replacing the state’s graduated income tax with a 4 percent flat income tax rate and a repeal of the state’s tax on retirement income, as well as $1,000 retention bonuses for teachers, law enforcement and corrections officers, and scholarships to allow parents to pay for students’ private K-12 education. 

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly touts state’s fiscal responsibility. Kansas has a budget surplus, and Gov. Kelly proposed setting aside $600 million for the state’s rainy day account, which  currently holds an emergency balance of $81.9 million, or less than four days worth of state government spending. Republican House Speaker Ron Ryckman denounced her plan in his rebuttal speech, calling for a cut to the state’s 6.5 percent sales tax rate.  

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