Economics and Finance

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments supports and encourages state actions to preserve the preeminence of state-regulated insurance systems and seeks to alert and educate state officials about the continuing efforts to preempt state regulatory authority with a movement toward an optional federal charter.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act requires a mortgagee, trustee, beneficiary, or authorized agent to wait 30 days after contact is made with the borrower, or 30 days after satisfying due diligence requirements to contact the borrower, as specified, before filing a notice of default.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments encourages Congress to amend the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act to:

1. Apply UMRA’s cost estimation requirements to legislation that alters the conditions for receiving already existing federal grant assistance such as Medicaid and federal grants under the No Child Left Behind Act.

2. Expand the scope of cost estimates to include indirect costs imposed by new legislation and rule making such as lost revenue.

3. Remove the exception for mandates issued by independent regulatory agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

4. Remove the current exception for urgent federal regulations issued without prior notice by requiring cost estimates to be issued for such urgent rule making decisions within six months after their adoption.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments opposes the State Video Tax Fairness Act of 2007 (H.R. 3679) and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that CSG calls upon the Congress to resist this unjustified interference into state efforts to create a tax neutral choice for consumers; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to all members of the 111th Congress and the 44th President of the United States.

Suggested State Legislation: Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs) are businesses that administer and manage prescription drug benefit plans either through health insurance products or separately. Approximately 95 percent of all patients with prescription drug coverage receive benefits through a PBM. In recent years, concerns have been raised by consumer organizations and states regarding the business practices of PBMs.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Council of State Governments supports a temporary increase in the Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP) as part of an economic stimulus package of state aid to offset reductions in tax receipts.

BE IT THEREFORE FURTHER RESOLVED that the Council of State Governments supports Federal legislation to establish a provision to automatically increase the Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP) in the event of certain defined triggering events, such as an economic downturn, a natural disaster, an act of terrorism, or a public health emergency.

CSG South

The multi-faceted contributions of the arts and arts-related activities have not fully grasped the attention of a broad cross-section of American society. To many Americans, the arts are considered the enclave of a few high-profile cultural institutions and their elite patrons. To the contrary, beyond the intrinsic benefits of the arts—i.e., benefits that serve to enrich an individual’s life experiences, standard of living and learning—there is substantial research on the crucial role played by the arts in generating a significant level of broad-based economic growth in practically every corner of the country. Public funding for the arts suffers considerably during an economic downturn as governments cut back on spending but research demonstrates that a relatively miniscule legislative appropriation to the arts leads to economic flows that far exceed this investment.

CSG South

Declining tax revenues and increasing costs of operations combined with recent turbulence on Wall Street have plunged state finances into turmoil. For schools, which receive much of their revenue from property taxes, the long and precipitous drops in housing prices and turmoil in the mortgage sector have caused further budgetary pressure. In light of these events, many states have reduced already conservative revenue projections and reassessed their approved budgets. In the face of budget shortfalls, states across the region are reviewing their spending plans for the current fiscal year to determine where cuts can be made.

In stark contrast to the difficult fiscal positions states such as Michigan and Ohio face—primarily as a result of the decreasing automobile sector there—the auto industry continues to flourish in the South, generating billions of dollars in economic impact and creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs.

CSG South

A great deal has been written about the complex and overwhelming challenges confronting the American automotive industry — mostly domiciled in the Midwest — in the last few decades. Researchers have demonstrated the rapidly shrinking portion of American-made new car and noncommercial light truck sales as a percentage of total U.S. sales: in 1997, the Big Three (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler) accounted for 71 percent of new car and noncommercial light truck sales, while Asian automakers' sales totaled under 25 percent; by 2007, the Big Three's share had plunged to 51 percent while the Asian automakers' share had propelled to 42 percent. Toyota outsold GM in the first quarter of 2008 (2.41 million compared to 2.25 million) and there is speculation that 2008 will be the year when Toyota unseats GM in global sales.

Researchers have also noted the dire financial fortunes of the Big Three as they hemorrhage vast amounts of cash and battle a range of structural problems, including sizable pension and health care obligations. Concurrently, researchers have highlighted the thriving automobile sector in a number of Southern states, given the increasing number of foreign automakers establishing assembly plants in this part of the country. In stark contrast to the difficult fiscal positions of such states as Michigan and Ohio —primarily as a result of the contracting automobile sector — the industry continues to flourish in the South, generate billions of dollars in economic impact and create thousands of direct and indirect jobs.

In light of the negative effects of a slowing national economy, how is the industry currently faring in the South? Does it still continue to be a major player in the region's economic calculations? Learn how the automotive industry in the South is coping with the deteriorating national economy, one that is either already enmeshed or lurching very close to a recession.