States Discover, Spend Surpluses

Embarrassment of riches will benefit education, gay rights, or just make tax cuts
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2007 11:15 AM CDT
Graphic shows state annual budget increases over the past three decades   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Oversized tax collection has left state governments with unexpected funds to dole out, and newly Democratic governments are working some big-government swagger. The Times reports that more than 40 states have deeper coffers than budgeted, and new money is going to local initiatives in education, health care and gay rights—and back to taxpayers.

While 23 newly flush states have tax cuts on tap, two-thirds of US governors plan to grow health care. States like Colorado, Iowa and Oregon, exemplars of the Democratic sweep to state power last year, have used their money to beef up civil rights laws, bringing gay citizens a couple steps nearer to equality.