Methodology from NASBO for Data

Citation for use of NASBO data: Source: National Association of State Budget Officers. This data has been modified by [insert name of your organization]

NASBO data are in millions of $.

NASBO Data Source – May have to sign in

Expenditure data are detailed by program area and funding source so that trends in state spending can be evaluated. Users of the data are cautioned that a more complete understanding of service levels within a given state would require comparisons of spending by both state and local governments, which is not the purpose of this report. In addition, the data are self-reported by the states. States were also asked to include footnotes where there are unusual state budget practices, exceptions, or where a figure is unobtainable. Footnotes for each State Expenditure Report can be found in the indiviudal yearly reports:

This report documents state expenditures in six functional categories: elementary and secondary education, higher education, public assistance including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and other cash assistance, Medicaid, corrections, and transportation. All other expenditures make up a seventh category. The report includes expenditures from four fund sources, including general funds, federal funds, other state funds, and bonds. Data for each category typically include employer contributions to current employees’ pensions and to employee health benefits for employees. In addition, the report contains a chapter detailing revenue sources in the general fund. Dollar amounts in the dataset are reported in millions.
Elementary and secondary education spending, detailed in chapter one, includes state and federal fund expenditures only, and excludes local funds raised for education purposes. States also were asked to include, where applicable, state expenditures that support the state’s Department of Education, early education/pre-K, capital construction, transportation of school children, adult literacy programs, handicapped education programs, programs for other special populations (i.e., gifted and talented programs), anti-drug programs, and vocational education. States were asked to exclude spending for day care programs in the school system, spending for school health and immunization programs, and local funds raised and expended for education purposes.

For higher education, states were requested to include expenditures made for capital construction, community colleges, vocational education, law, medical, veterinary, nursing and technical schools, and assistance to private colleges and universities, as well as tuition, fees and student loan programs. Higher education expenditures exclude federal research grants and endowments to universities. Higher education data can be found in chapter two.

Spending for public assistance, which is examined in chapter three, includes expenditures for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and other cash assistance (i.e., state supplements to the Supplemental Security Income program, general or emergency assistance). States were asked to exclude administrative costs from reported expenditures.

Medicaid spending amounts, highlighted in chapter four, exclude administrative costs, but include spending from state funds, federal matching funds and other funds and revenue sources used as a Medicaid match such as provider taxes, fees, assessments, donations, and local funds. Medicare Part D clawback payments are included in a state’s overall Medicaid expenditures, and are also listed separately in the Appendix.

For corrections, states were asked to include, where applicable, expenditures for capital construction, aid to local governments for jails, parole programs, prison industries, community corrections, drug abuse rehabilitation programs, as well as expenditures made for juvenile correction programs. Corrections data can be found in chapter five.

Transportation figures, detailed in chapter six, include capital and operating expenditures for highways, mass transit, and airports. States were also asked to include expenditures for road assistance to local governments, the administration of the Department of Transportation, truck and train/railroad programs, motor vehicle licensing, and gas tax and fee collection. The data exclude spending for port authorities, state police and highway patrol. States were also asked to separately detail transportation fund revenue sources.

The “all other” expenditure category includes all remaining programs not captured in the functional categories previously described, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program and any debt service for other state programs (i.e., environmental projects, housing). States with lotteries were asked to exclude prizes paid to lottery winners. States were also asked to exclude expenditures for state-owned utilities and liquor stores. “All other” expenditure data can be found in chapter seven. States were also asked to separately detail debt service spending.

Capital spending is included with operating expenditures within each functional category, unless otherwise noted. Capital expenditures have also been collected separately in the following categories: elementary and secondary education, higher education, transportation, corrections, housing, environmental, and “all other.” Capital expenditure data can be found in Chapter Eight.

The general fund revenue data illustrates the major sources of state revenue including sales taxes, personal income taxes, corporate income taxes, gaming and lottery taxes, and all other general fund revenue. This chapter only contains information on general fund revenue, and not all state tax collections.

All years reported are state fiscal years unless otherwise indicated. In 46 states the fiscal year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. The exceptions are as follows: in New York the fiscal year begins on April 1; in Texas, the fiscal year begins on September 1; and in Alabama and Michigan the fiscal year begins on October 1. Additionally, the length of budget cycles vary among states, with more than half of the states budgeting annually and the remainder enacting biennial budgets.


General Fund: predominant fund for financing a state’s operations. Revenues are received from broad-based state taxes. There are differences in how specific functions are financed from state to state, however.

Federal Funds: funds received directly from the federal government.

Other State Funds: expenditures from revenue sources, which are restricted by law for particular governmental functions or activities. For example, a gasoline tax dedicated to a highway trust fund would appear in the “Other State Funds” column (Note: For Medicaid, other state funds include provider taxes, fees, donations, assessments and local funds).

Bonds: expenditures from the sale of bonds, generally for capital projects.

State Funds: general fund plus other state fund spending, excluding state spending from bonds.