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In the six years since the Great Recession, states’ long-run fiscal condi- tion remains mixed. When considering both the short- and long-term pictures of state finances, there is ample reason for vigilance owing to several factors, especially new spending commitments for Medicaid and growing long-term obligations for pensions and health care benefits. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, Medicaid spending increased by 11.3 percent over that of the previous year. In 2013 and 2014, credit rating agencies downgraded several states, including Connecticut, Maine, and Kansas, for structural budgetary imbalance. Three states—Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey—were flagged for their underfunded pensions.

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