State Economic Development Efforts during Extreme Fiscal Stress

As states prepared for their 2009 legislative sessions, policymakers faced a series of grave economic crises on multiple fronts not experienced in many decades. States face enormous budget shortfalls with the combined budget shortfall for the remaining six months of this year (fiscal year 2009) and the two upcoming fiscal years estimated to total between $350 billion and $370 billion, a chasm of truly staggering proportions. Nevertheless, in the midst of all this gloom and doom, there are a number of bright sparks on the state economic landscape that require emphasis. For instance, the depreciating U.S. dollar has enabled U.S. exports to flourish, the automobile industry in the South remains a solid engine of growth and a number of enterprising projects across the country offer the promise of high-tech, high-wage jobs.

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About the Author
Sujit M. CanagaRetna is senior fiscal analyst for The Council of State Governments’ Southern office, The Southern Legislative Conference.

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