Interstate Compacts in 2009 and Beyond: Opportunities for an Increased Diversity of Use

As our world shrinks and the enormity of specific policy issues grows, multiple states are finding themselves facing similar, if not identical, situations. While states must act to address current and emerging problems, they are not required to act alone. In fact, states may find that acting in cooperation with their neighbors affords significant opportunities for creative problem solving, economies of scale and the bolstering of state rights over a range of topics. Interstate compacts are not new, nor are they unfamiliar to the modern policymaker. However, the innovative ways in which interstate compacts may be used are evolving before us – seeking to tackle a host of issues not previously addressed by this interstate mechanism. As states struggle with nearly unparalleled financial downturns and revenue declines, interstate compacts are an efficient tool to promote cooperative regional or national action.

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About the Author
Keith A. Scott is the director of the National Center for Interstate Compacts at The Council of State Governments.

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