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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government

Data Alerts

Revenue Forecasting Reports

By The Numbers: States Forecast Slow Tax Revenue Growth in 2017 and Over the Longer Term

A brief released by the Rockefeller Institute indicates that a majority of states are forecasting slower personal income tax and sales tax revenue growth in 2016 and 2017. The sluggishness in tax revenues is partly due to expected slower growth in the economy and long-term demographic changes as well as due to volatility in stock market and prolonged declines in oil and gas prices. This will result in continued fiscal challenges and economic uncertainties for the states, the brief concludes. The Rockefeller Institute’s By the Numbers Briefs were developed to spotlight emerging trends in state economies and finances.
Lucy Dadayan and Donald J. Boyd, December 23, 2015

By The Numbers: 2015 Was a Good Year for State Revenue Forecasters, But the Road Ahead Is Uncertain

2015 was a good year for the accuracy of state revenue forecasts according to a new brief by the Rockefeller Institute of Government of SUNY. This year’s record contrasts with that of previous years, when errors in state revenue forecasts swelled during and after the last two recessions partly due to increased tax volatility. Despite the good news, state forecasters are facing large uncertainties due to implications of the volatility in the stock market, declines in oil prices, and interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve Board. This is the first brief in the new By the Numbers series, which will provide short summaries of evidence on key state and local fiscal issues.
Donald J. Boyd and Lucy Dadayan, December 22, 2015

Managing Volatile Tax Collections in State Revenue Forecasts

The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Rockefeller Institute have released a report designed to help policymakers better understand how volatile state taxes affect the accuracy of revenue projections. It examines data from 1987 through 2013 and reveals that predicting how much money state governments will raise has become more difficult than ever. The increase in revenue forecast errors is due largely to the growing volatility of tax collections across the states. From 2000 to 2013, the size of fluctuations in tax revenue rose in 42 states. And although no state can entirely eliminate forecasting errors, this study identifies three ways to help them manage volatility.
The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Rockefeller Institute of Government, March 2015


According to a new technical report released by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, increases in state revenue forecasting errors during the recent recession were driven by increases in revenue volatility. The report discusses how revenue forecasting errors have changed in recent years and examines the relationship between revenue forecasting accuracy and (1) tax revenue volatility, (2) timing and frequency of forecasts, and (3) forecasting institutions and processes.
Donald J. Boyd and Lucy Dadayan, September 30, 2014

States' Revenue Estimating: Cracks in the Crystal Ball

States have been making more serious errors in estimating their revenues during tough economic times, according to this report by the Pew Center on the States and the Rockefeller Institute. Driven largely by increasing volatility in state revenue systems, this trend has major implications for officials who set budgets for programs and services while grappling with severe fiscal shortfalls.
The Pew Center on the States and the Rockefeller Institute of Government, March 1, 2011

Increasing Volatility in Tax Systems: A Growing Budget Problem for States

With roughly three-quarters of a trillion dollars to spend, even small errors in revenue forecasts can make a big difference for state and local government budgets.
Such errors, however, are growing.
The Pew Center on the States and the Rockefeller Institute of Government, March 1, 2011
By Donald J. Boyd and Robert B. Ward, March 2011