Economics and Finance

States spend billions each year on tax and financial incentives and in some states, tax expenditures can exceed revenues. The costs can also be unpredictable. The costs of some state tax incentive programs have increased quickly and unexpectedly by tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. With every public dollar being scrutinized, it is important to ask—are these incentives getting the scrutiny they deserve?

More than half of states have now legalized marijuana use—recreational or medicinal. That’s a massive shift in policy from just a decade ago. With this shift comes a slew of legislative, regulatory and fiscal questions for state policymakers to tackle. This day-long policy forum will provide an overview of the current legal landscape and best practices for taxation, regulation and licensing. The forum will discuss emerging trends and provide attendees direct exposure to Nevada’s marijuana legalization experience.

The Council of State Governments will host its 2017 National Conference from December 14th-16th in Las Vegas, Nevada. The meeting will offer engaging policy sessions geared toward state officials in all three branches of government. To access copies of speaker presentations, please visit the individual session pages below.

More than a quarter of U.S. workers now require a license to do their jobs, with most of these workers licensed by the states. States across the country are striving to engage more people in the workforce and at the same time protect the public interest. This session will cover innovative and successful models of state licensure for professions, as state leaders balance consumer protections, flexibility and accessibility for workers.

The Council of State Governments will release a new report, "Diabetes in the United States: Examining Growth Trends, State Funding Sources and Economic Impact", on state spending for diabetes at the 2017 CSG National Conference in Las Vegas on Dec. 15. 

CSG, with assistance from the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, surveyed all 50 states to discover how many states appropriate funds for diabetes prevention and management. Half of the states reported state funds used in fiscal...

CSG South

Since NAFTA’s implementation in 1994, trade between the SLC region and Canada and Mexico has changed dramatically. As officials from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. attempt to renegotiate the agreement’s stipulations, it is instructive for policymakers to understand the current position of their states’ exports and imports with these trading partners. A renegotiation could have significant ramifications across state economies, including in the agriculture, automotive, and manufacturing industries.

On November 2, House Republican lawmakers released their plan to retool the U.S. tax code, the biggest adjustment in over 30 years. This far-reaching bill, titled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, seeks to streamline the existing code and lower the corporate rate to a level closer to that of other nations. The legislation also eliminates or changes some popular deductions and makes adjustments to the use of so-called pass through entities.

...

The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) has filed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to agree to hear South Dakota’s petition in South Dakota v. Wayfair. In this case South Dakota is asking the Supreme Court to hold that states may require out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax.

In Quill Corp. v. North Dakota (1992), the Supreme Court held that states cannot require retailers with no in-state physical presence to collect sales tax.

In this Ohio v. American Express Ohio has asked the Supreme Court to offer guidance on its “rule of reason” test under antitrust law. The “quick-look” version of this test requires the government to show anticompetitive harms and the defendant to show procompetitive benefits. The party proving greater harms or benefits wins. This case is relevant to states because 11, including Ohio, have sued American Express claiming one of its contract provisions with merchants accepting American Express credit cards violates the Sherman Act (antitrust law).  

American Express charges merchants who accept its credit card higher fees than its competitors. American Express’s standard contract non-discriminatory provision (NDP) requires merchants to not say or imply that they prefer any payment method over American Express.   

Pages