Government

Econ Piggy

According CSG's analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, state government employment remains below the peak level reached in August 2008, but has seen net gains for four consecutive months. From August 2014-December 2014, state government employment shrunk in 15 states, stayed the same in four states and grew in 31 states for a net gain of 38,000 positions, or a growth rate of about 0.8 percent. Over the same period, private sector employment grew by 1.19 million positions, or about 1.0 percent. California added the largest number of state government positions (5,800) followed by Indiana (5,500) and New Jersey (4,400).  North Carolina shed the largest number of jobs (6,200) followed by Illinois (2,200), Louisiana and Ohio (each decreased by 1,400).

While oral argument is hardly a fool proof indicator of what the Supreme Court will do, it seemed the majority of the Justices favored the Arizona legislature in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

The issue the Court will decide in this case is whether Arizona’s Proposition 106,...

By Frank Shafroth, Director of the Center for State and Local Government Leadership

Key state leadership is about focus—taking away partisanship and getting to the heart of the problem. Former U.S. Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio, who also served as a state legislator, mayor and governor, once told me he had struggled hard to try and determine how one could distinguish between a Republican versus a Democratic pothole. His view was always to try and understand the problem, what it would take to fix it, and who could help him fix it.

by Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene, CSG Senior Fellows

We spend a great deal of time in an activity they refer to as “radar screening.” The whole point of the effort is to read as much as we can about state government, while interviewing dozens of officials and observers every month. Then we connect the proverbial dots and try to discern the most important topics for the states, whether or not they’ve actually reached the general press. Here, we outline five items we think will grow ever more significant to the states as the new year moves along.

In most years, it's education and health care. At least, those issues rank at the top of the list in governors' state of the state addresses from 2012 to 2014.

The Council of State Governments has been providing the tools state policymakers need to get the job done for more than 80 years. CSG offers a number of valuable programs and publications to give state leaders the information they need to better serve their constituents.

The question the Supreme Court will decide in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores is simple:  who must ask about the need for a religious accommodation—the employer or the...

By Scott D. Pattison, National Association of State Budget Officers

With nearly one-third of total state funds coming from the federal government, states are extremely dependent on the federal government for money. This is a significant portion of state budgets and makes for some fairly major challenges for state officials. Just as important is the fact that the federal government is extremely dependent on the states to carry out federal programs and mandates. Overcoming current challenges in federalism, therefore, will help both levels ensure the goals they set for programs are being met.

Despite political gridlock and partisanship in Washington, D.C., Congress and the president recognize intellectual property as a driver of economic growth in America. Unfortunately, cybercrime is on the rise, and intellectual property is oftentimes the primary target of cyber criminals. To protect intellectual property, the White House, Congress, and state governments all are working diligently to enhance cybersecurity.

President Obama announced Dec. 17 that he would make efforts to ease travel and trade restrictions to Cuba in an effort to empower “Cubans to build an open and democratic country.” The White House has expanded the list of authorized travelers to Cuba and has authorized new goods and services to be exported to Cuba. The departments of Treasury and Commerce have jurisdiction over many of these regulatory changes, and each department submitted its final rules to the Federal Register Jan. 16. The final rules take effect immediately.

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