Overall, federal recovery spending is working as intended, helping states provide needed services and avoid layoffs that would be worsening unemployment rates. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
estimates that these funds are providing states with 40 percent of what
is needed to help their budgets in balance over the next few fiscal
years. The recovery plan has provided states with flexibility in
addressing key programs and priorities. Unfortunately, a number of states have wasted budget funds on trying to steal jobs from one another, as highlighted by Good Jobs First.
This year was Kentucky's short session lasting only 30 days. Like most states, patching a budget shortfall consumed much of the session. Lawmakers were able to agree to a set of spending cuts and revenue increases that will fix the budget in the first year of their biennial spending plan. The expectation is that the governor will call the legislature back in for a special session this summer to work out year two. While recent sessions have been marked by partisan acrimony and end of session chaos, both problems moderated significantly this year allowing more work to get done. The result was that lawmakers generally gave the session good reviews, though many key issues still failed to be resolved.
Three recent revelations about electronic voting machines highlight the
maddening lack of security in paperless elections, and emphasize why paper ballot voting with robust post-election audits are a basic requirement for secure elections.