Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Democratic-Controlled Legislatures Overseeing 17 of the 20 Highest State Budget Deficits Nationwide

Bookmark and Share

How are states going to balance the budget deficits that are mounting across the nation?

For that answer, you'll have to ask the Democrats - as they control both the Senate and House in 17 of the top 20 states with the largest FY 2010 per capita deficits.

The National Conference of State Legislatures recently issued state level budget deficit data.

A Smart Politics analysis finds Democrats are in charge of 35 of the 40 chambers in states with the 20 largest deficits, including control of both the Senate and House in 17 of these 20 states.

Only Arizona (ranked #9) and Kansas (#15) have legislatures entirely under control of the GOP in the states facing the biggest budget crises nationwide. In Virginia (#20), control is split, with Democrats in charge of the Senate and Republicans with the partisan advantage in the House.

Democrats, meanwhile, control both chambers in the other 17 states: Hawaii, New York, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, Delaware, Washington, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Nevada, Vermont, Maryland, Maine, and Iowa. (Note: while Democrats currently control a majority of state legislatures (27), they still preside over a vastly disproportionate number of states in the deepest financial trouble).

Of course, budget decisions made prior to the 2008 elections helped to shape the current fiscal crises that states are now facing - and will face in FY 2010.

But a Smart Politics analysis of party control of these 20 state legislatures prior to the 2008 elections still finds that Democratic Party-run legislatures dominated the list of the highest per capita budget deficit offenders:

· Democrats controlled 13 legislatures prior to the 2008 elections, compared to just 2 for the GOP (Arizona and Kansas), with control split in the other 5 states (New York, Delaware, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Virginia).

· Democrats held 61 percent of the Senate seats in these states, compared to just 39 percent for Republicans.

· Democrats held 62 percent of the House seats in these states, while Republicans held only 37 percent, with 1 percent held by third parties.

· Democrats also controlled the governor's office in 60 percent of these states (12 of 20).

While the economic downturn is creating shortfalls in the budgets of nearly all states nationwide, it is also highlighting those states that placed themselves in the most precarious positions due to their previous legislative spending and revenue decisions. In short, if the books in these 20 states were dusted for fingerprints in an investigation of the legislative decision-making that contributed to these budget shortfalls, they would no doubt find the lion's share belonging to Democrats.

It is also interesting to note that all but three of these states facing the biggest budget crises across the nation also voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Only Arizona, Louisiana, and Kansas voted Republican in the presidential race.

Legislative Partisan Control in States with the Largest FY 2010 Per Capita Budget Deficits

Rank
State
Deficit per capita
Pre-election Control
Post-election control
1
Hawaii
$  788.56
Democratic
Democratic
2
New York
$  703.47
Split
Democratic
3
Connecticut
$  697.50
Democratic
Democratic
4
California
$  651.19
Democratic
Democratic
5
New Jersey
$  554.43
Democratic
Democratic
6
Delaware
$  511.11
Split
Democratic
7
Washington
$  485.68
Democratic
Democratic
8
Minnesota
$  479.65
Democratic
Democratic
9
Arizona
$  452.96
GOP
GOP
10
Massachusetts
$  451.17
Democratic
Democratic
11
Louisiana
$  437.92
Democratic
Democratic
12
Wisconsin
$  436.50
Split
Democratic
13
Rhode Island
$  411.95
Democratic
Democratic
14
Nevada
$  396.72
Split
Democratic
15
Kansas
$  395.66
GOP
GOP
16
Vermont
$  334.09
Democratic
Democratic
17
Maryland
$  317.36
Democratic
Democratic
18
Maine
$  303.51
Democratic
Democratic
19
Iowa
$  258.81
Democratic
Democratic
20
Virginia
$  244.46
Split
Split
Note: Data compiled by Smart Politics.



Previous post: Live Blog: House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher
Next post: Minnesotans' Approval of Obama Holds Steady As Support Wanes Nationwide

7 Comments


  • I doubt the accuracy of your data here (or perhaps I am not understanding your data). Arizona, for instance, is a long ways from having legislative control by the Democrats. While Napolitano was in the governor's office (up until she left for Obama's cabinet), the state legislature skews (and I believe has skewed for some time) Republican before and after the most recent elections. For instance, both current senators are Republican, the current House representatives are more Republican than Democrat, and the state senate is predominantly Republican. (Info from www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/states/AZ.html.)

  • nix that--apparently I'm on crack. I could have sworn the article just listed Arizona as Democrat. But on my reload it shows something different. Crazy. My bad.

  • I have been scouring the internet for data on fiscal responsibility and economic performance. The information above just adds another nail in the coffin.

    A large number of the states listed above already have some of the highest per capita overall taxes, have been experiencing large relative losses in population, and are rated poorly on economic competitiveness. Tackling deficits with more tax increases -more of a democratic priority- is likely to exacerbate all of these problems.

    Republicans aren't angels on fiscal responsibility, as we saw at the national level recently, but generally do drive towards lower taxes, smaller government and pro-growth economic policies and hence are not well represented in the list above.

  • Why on earth would anyone vote for a Democrat?
    Assuming all politicians are bad, just from an economic stand point, why would you vote for someone who wants to increase your debt? Am I challenged? Please someone give me an intelligent answer to this question. I have yet to hear anyone tell me that increasing my debt without anyway to pay for it is a good thing. Am I missing something?

    Republican=broke
    Democrat=more broke

    ??

  • Barry, the words gullible and ignorant come to mind.

  • We would like to strongly note that The National Conference of State Legislatures did not present any of our report’s data in per capita terms and we did not add a tag regarding political control. NCSL is a bipartisan organization of the states and we want to make sure that our information is accurately reflected in this blog.

  • Still Want Change?

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

    Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

    Political Crumbs

    Mary Burke: English First?

    While multiculturalism and bilingualism are increasingly en vogue in some quarters as the world seemingly becomes a smaller place, one very high profile 2014 Democratic candidate does not shy away from the fact that she only speaks one language: English. In an attempt to highlight her private sector credentials working for Trek Bicycle, Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke boasts on her campaign bio page how she made great strides in international business dealings...while only speaking English: "Despite not speaking a single foreign language, she established sales and distribution operations in seven countries over just three years." Note: According to 2010 Census data, nearly half a million Wisconsinites over five years old speak a language other than English at home, or 8.7 percent, while 4.6 percent of Badger State residents do not speak English at all.


    Does My Key Still Work?

    Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting