Content Type

CSG South

The United States spends an enormous amount of money on education. According to the U.S. Department of Education, total public expenditures for K-12 education in 2000 was nearly $373 billion. The United States is at the top of the industrialized world in per pupil expenditures on education. Most of this money—more than 90 percent in most states—is from state and local sources. Education is the single largest categorical expenditure in state budgets throughout the South and, as enrollment has risen, the costs related to educating the nation’s youth have grown. This report summarizes the current school finance systems for the 16-member states of the SLC.

CSG South

Few other topics generate more spirited discourse and disagreement among policymakers than a discussion on devising a comprehensive retirement system to account for the huge number of “baby boomers” scheduled to retire in the next few years. The primary goal of this retirement system would be to sustain participants with adequate benefits for the duration of their retirement years. However, a spate of economic setbacks in the past few years, such as the sputtering stock market, rising deficits at the federal and state levels, rising fears over terror attacks, mounting corporate scandals affecting consumer confidence, dwindling corporate profits resulting in severe cutbacks and a jobless economic recovery, continues to cause stresses in the retirement plans of millions of Americans. Hence, it probably is not a stretch to maintain that an increasing number of Americans, particularly those nearing retirement age, remain extremely apprehensive about their retirement situation in the years ahead.

CSG South

This Southern Legislative Conference Regional Resource examines several key components of the Clean Air Act in relation to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. In particular, it focuses on state control strategies and compliance in the areas of ozone and particulate matter, as these have had the greatest impact on states’ ability to meet clean air requirements. Additional focus is on the transition between the 1-hour and 8-hour ozone and particulate matter standards. Recent federal actions significantly affecting ozone and particulate matter emissions also are highlighted.

CSG South

Every year, states anxiously await the announcement of their students’ performance on the Scholastic Aptitude Test I (SAT), largely because these scores provide a yardstick for measuring progress toward school improvement and for assessing student performance. Alongside state assessments, the SAT often is cited as a benchmark toward the end goal of raising student achievement. But the information provided by SAT scores is more complex than the customary ranking of state composite scores by news organizations and the resulting crowing or hand wringing over high or low results. The SAT, like the other major college entrance exam the ACT, is a self-selecting assessment. Participation is not universal among all students and, indeed, it is generally taken by students who intend to continue to a four-year college. For these reasons, the SAT provides an excellent source of information about how well states compare in preparing students for college-level work in a broad range of contexts. This Regional Resource analyzes results from the 2003 SAT I, with particular attention to how students in various subsets perform compared to their peers in other states and to other subgroups within their state.

CSG South

The airline industry serves not just as an economic engine for states, cities and regions, but as a cog in the essential network of transportation within the United States. Yet the industry finds itself in a very difficult period. With the new focus on homeland security in the United States, exacerbated by war, the terrorist attacks of 2001, a downturn in the economy, and anomalies such as the SARS virus, the airline industry has found itself in a state of turmoil, loss and great trepidation. With the industry especially important to its birthplace, the Southern region, this report highlights the contributions of carriers to local and regional economies and the challenges that face them in Southern states.

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