BOS 2012

THE BOOK OF THE STATES 2012

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 » State Constitutions

Chapter 2 » Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations

Chapter 3 » State Legislative Branch

Chapter 4 » State Executive Branch

Chapter 5 » State Judicial Branch

Chapter 6 » Elections

Chapter 7 » State Finance

Chapter 8 » State Management and Administration

Chapter 9 » Selected State Policies and Programs

Chapter 10 » State Pages

A high-performing system of long-term care services and supports must address four critical dimensions: affordability/access; choice of setting/provider; quality of life and care; and support for family caregivers. A recent scorecard assessed the states on 25 indicators within these dimensions and found marked differences in performance. States can use these findings to target system improvements.

The challenges facing today’s Medicaid program are more significant than at any time in the program’s history. Medicaid directors are struggling to finance the current health care safety net while simultaneously attempting to drive significant reforms in the broader health care system. To better assist them, the National Association of Medicaid Directors was created to serve and represent them in their efforts to guide the program through an uncertain future.

Individuals released from prison and jail and who are on community supervision have complex needs. If those needs are not met, the likelihood of their successful transition to the community is reduced, which can pose a threat to public safety. Despite the fiscal challenges many state governments have faced in recent years, policymakers and community stakeholders are increasingly aware that, in many cases, the cycle of reoffending can be broken if the right tools and approaches are used. With continued federal support and strong state and local leadership, the chance for meaningful and lasting change is within reach.

Many states face an ever-widening chasm between how much they have available to spend on transportation infrastructure and how much it actually costs to maintain and improve that infrastructure. There are numerous reasons for this, including the decline of existing revenue sources due to increased fuel efficiency, inflation and other factors. Absent a consensus on how to move forward, a number of states in 2011 turned to transportation funding task forces and blue ribbon commissions, diverse groups of stakeholders charged with making recommendations as to how these states could come up with the needed funds to meet their infrastructure needs in the years ahead. While their recommendations aren’t always heeded immediately by policymakers, task forces and commissions can play an important role during a time of tough decisions and political divisions.

Since the Great Recession, states have been faced with high levels of unemployment, an increased demand for safety net services and a shrinking revenue base. Although the past year has brought some improvements, the number one question on state policymakers’ minds continues to be: “What can we do to encourage job growth?” Traditionally, a key policy lever for development and job creation strategies was—and remains—tax and financial incentive programs designed to encourage new firms to start up or existing firms to grow or relocate.

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