Capitol Comments

When it comes to comparing state legislative salaries, there are lots of caveats. In 2016, seven states paid legislators a per diem salary rather than an annual salary. Thirty-eight states paid their legislators an annual salary, with a huge range. In Texas, legislators were paid $7,200 per year while in California lawmakers earned $100,113. The average annual salary for these 38 states was $37,447.

According to a new report from Timothy Bartik, senior economist at the Upjohn Institutestate and local governments more than tripled the incentives - mostly tax credits - they offered businesses in hopes of spurring economic growth between 1990 and 2015. In 2015, those incentives totaled $45 billion and the average incentive package had an annual value of over $2,400 per job.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) calls Americans who were born internationally and who have never resided in the U.S. “never resided” voters. The Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act grants eligibility for citizens that live outside of the U.S. to vote for federal offices. However, the jurisdiction in which the voter can cast a ballot relies on their last place of residency in the states. This leaves room for confusion when discussing citizens that have never resided in the United States and therefore do not have a “previous residency.”

Prevailing wage laws are created by state governments or local municipalities to set a rate of pay that is thought to be standard for a labor group contracted to do public-sector projects in that area. Twenty-nine states currently have prevailing wage laws. Since 2015, three states have repealed their laws and a number of states are considering repeal this year. 

Are public pension plans trading off long-term stability for a less hair-raising sticker price for state governments today? A new report from the Rockefeller Institute of Government answers that question and takes a closer look at the difficult choices those running public pension funds have had to make over the last three decades, and what those choices mean for the future fiscal stability of states. 

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