Revenue projections which tumbled from an over $200 million surplus to a $60 million plus dollar deficit
quickly changed the tone of Connecticut’s short session and forced
the Governor and legislative leaders to abandon promises of increased
spending and tax refunds.In the end, the
Legislature failed for the first time ever to pass a budget, leaving
last year’s two-year spending plan in place.Mayors and non-profit leaders decried the austere
plan, which along with the loss of real estate transfer taxes that
sunset in June, will spell serious budget woes for cities and towns,
many of whom face a foreclosure crisis as well.
In a solid session of achievement, the Iowa legislature made
significant progress on expanding health care coverage, expanding
public school and pre-K funding, advancing clean energy proposals,
protecting veterans and students, taking on foreclosure abuses,
expanding workers' rights, and improving the integrity of state
ballots. However, the session was marked by a few significant
setbacks, including the governor's veto of a major labor rights bill.
This session, the Colorado legislature had three main priorities: health care, education and fixing the transit system. They succeeded
in making substantial progress in education, slight progress in health care, and no progress on transit.
With the voters enacting a $9.3 billion property tax cut in January
and a projected $7 billion dollar state revenue shortfall, the largest
one year drop in revenue in the state’s history, Florida’s recent
legislative session was marked by hard budget choices. With
legislative leaders committed to raising no taxes to fill a huge budget
shortfall, draconian cuts were implemented in state services.
In the last legislative session before term limits are implemented and
many veteran legislators are pushed into retirement, the Nebraska
legislature made solid, if relatively small progress, in a number of
The Vermont legislative session ended two weeks early with legislators
opting not to return for a veto session to try to overturn potential
vetoes by the governor. Tough economic times and declining tax revenues
left the state in fiscal trouble, yet lawmakers rightly rejected
the governor's dangerous proposal to lease the state lottery to a
private operator for short-term cash and long-term loss to the state.
This session, the Hawaii state legislature made some substantial gains
in labor rights, election reform, promoting renewable energy, health
care, and a number of other areas, overriding four of the governor's 13
vetoes in the process.
While the session started with larger ambitions, a diminished budget
surplus and political deadlock led to less dramatic results -- a good
thing in the case of a proposed $100 million tax cut which was
In its short session, Wyoming lawmakers largely limited their work to
passing the state budget and promoting policies that legislators hope
will reduce the carbon emissions from the state's coal production.
Oregon held an experimental even-year session in February that
lasted just three weeks. Designed as a test for a possible switch to
yearly legislative sessions (Oregon is one of 6 state legislatures that
only meets once every two years), the short duration left little time
for resolving controversial issues. Several bills, however, were
passed that implement small but important progressive reforms. These
reforms were focused on children, families, and the environment.