Book of the States 2009

States bear enormous responsibility for administering the nation’s safety net programs. They are the first responders when unemployed workers apply for unemployment benefits, food assis­tance and welfare. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 expanded some safety net support, temporarily filling in some of the benefit gaps.

States bear enormous responsibility for administering the nation’s safety net programs. They are the first responders when unemployed workers apply for unemployment benefits, food assistance and welfare. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 expanded some safety net support, temporarily filling in some of the benefit gaps.

Performance management is more important than ever during tough times as officials strive to deliver better results with reduced resources. To help governments implement effective  performance management systems, the National Performance Management Advisory Commission is developing a national framework for performance management.

This article investigates the nature and extent to which state courts are racially and ethnically diverse. Judicial diversity is examined for African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Pacific Islanders and Native Americans. The findings indicate that only modest increases in judicial diversity have occurred in the states’ major appellate and trial courts since 2008. Minority judges are more likely to obtain seats on state courts through gubernatorial appointment, especially in states that formally use elections to select judges. This research underscores the complexity of state judicial selection and the role governors play in increasing racial and ethnic judicial diversity.

Fiscal conditions in the states began to decline in fiscal 2008. State spending and revenues grew at a lower rate than the prior year and balances were well-below their near record levels of fiscal 2007. While fiscal 2008 saw somewhat moderate declines, the fiscal situation in the states has deteriorated much more sharply in fiscal 2009. State spending is projected to be negative for the first time since 1983, balance levels are being reduced as states use reserves to address shortfalls, and recent data shows state revenues declining by 4 percent. As a result, states are likely to face a difficult budgetary environment in fiscal 2010 and beyond.

Pages