Three states have seen their IT budgets more than double in fiscal year 2016, while three others have had them sliced in half compared to a year ago, according to Deltek’s GovWin database.
The research firm’s state budget data shows IT spending has increased slightly nationwide overall, states are spending roughly $30.2 billion on IT this fiscal year, compared to approximately $29.4 billion in fiscal year 2015 — but some states are still seeing wild swings in their budgets. All states but four end their fiscal years on June 30.
Alabama led the way among all states, with its IT budget soaring by more than 334 percent to over $295 million, up from just over $68 million a year ago. Connecticut and Iowa also doubled their IT spending for this fiscal year, committing to spend over $285 million and $331 million respectively.
But not all states were so generous with their IT departments. Maine cut its IT budget by almost 58 percent, shrinking it to just under $118 million from over $278 million in fiscal year 2015. Wisconsin also slashed its budget by more than 53 percent, cutting it to roughly $291 million from nearly $624 million. Oklahoma was the next largest budget cutter with an approximately 44 percent decrease, as its IT spend fell to just over $529 million from more than $943 million in the last fiscal year.
Stacey Mazer, acting executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers, sees those spending cuts as largely aberrations against a national “backdrop of continued stability and moderate growth.”
“It’s still an environment of constrained resources, but we’re not looking to see states, in general, having to cut their budgets,” Mazer said. “There’s always going to be a lot of competing demands, and technology would be in the mix.”
Indeed, the association’s “Fiscal Survey of the States” released this month showed an overall increase in general fund spending nationally, with states combining for a projected 4.1 percent increase in fiscal year 2016.
However, the report does show that overall revenues are growing more slowly than expected. The association expected 2016 growth to look more like 4.6 percent overall, and researchers expect new spending to be limited across the board.
When states do outlay additional money, Mazer noted that it often heads to two prominent sources ahead of IT concerns.
“When you turn around, a lot of the extra dollars end up going into education and health care,” Mazer said.
Overall, the association estimates that K-12 education spending occupied 35.2 percent of the states’ spending in fiscal year 2015, while Medicaid spending took up just over 19.3 percent, making it clear that those areas often occupy substantial portions of state budgets.