Book of the States

The Council of State Governments continues a long tradition of “sharing capitol ideas” with the publication of the 2017 edition of The Book of the States. Since 1933, CSG has served as a resource for state leaders and a catalyst for innovation and excellence in state governance. The Book of the States has been the reference tool of choice since 1935, providing relevant, accurate and timely information, answers and comparisons for all 56 states, commonwealths and territories of the United States.  

The 2017 volume includes 146 in-depth tables, charts and figures illustrating how state government operates. It also includes 32 articles from state leaders, innovative thinkers, noted scholars and CSG’s in-house policy experts that analyze and report on the transformations taking place in state government. Staff members mined more than 500 sources to obtain the information shared in The Book of the States

  The 2017 edition of The Book of the States is now available! 

 Archive: 1935-2012

Several state constitutional amendments on the ballot in 2016 attracted significant attention. Voters approved citizen-initiated amendments legalizing medical marijuana in Arkansas and Florida, boosting the minimum wage in Colorado, and extending an income tax hike on upper-income earners in California. Victims’ rights were recognized through passage of amendments in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, as were hunting and fishing rights through passage of amendments in Kansas and Indiana. Colorado voters approved an amendment increasing the barriers to passage of future amendments, in part by adding a super-majority voter-ratification rule.

Chapter 1 of The Book of the States 2017 contains the following articles and tables:

Chapter 8 of the 2016 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

State and local governments have been reshaping their finances since the Great Recession. They have been struggling with three major sources of fiscal stress: slow tax revenue growth, growth in pension contributions that has been heavily concentrated in a few states, and Medicaid spending growth driven by recession-related enrollment. In 37 states, pension contributions plus state-funded Medicaid grew by more than state and local government tax revenue between 2007 and 2014, in real per-capita terms. In response to these strains, state and local governments have cut infrastructure investment, slashed support for higher education, cut spending on K–12 education, cut spending on social benefits other than Medicaid, reduced administrative staff and reduced most other areas of the budget.

Due to advances in technology and drilling techniques, most notably hydraulic fracturing, vast reserves of untapped natural gas in shale formations are commercially viable, resulting in a significant increase in natural gas production over the last decade. However, this increase in production has raised concerns over environmental impacts such as water pollution, seismic activity, and air quality. This article provides an overview of some of these concerns and how state legislatures are addressing these issues. 

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