Jennifer Burnett

Author Articles

States spend billions each year on tax and financial incentives and in some states, tax expenditures can exceed revenues. The costs can also be unpredictable. The costs of some state tax incentive programs have increased quickly and unexpectedly by tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. With every public dollar being scrutinized, it is important to ask—are these incentives getting the scrutiny they deserve?

More than half of states have now legalized marijuana use—recreational or medicinal. That’s a massive shift in policy from just a decade ago. With this shift comes a slew of legislative, regulatory and fiscal questions for state policymakers to tackle. This day-long policy forum will provide an overview of the current legal landscape and best practices for taxation, regulation and licensing. The forum will discuss emerging trends and provide attendees direct exposure to Nevada’s marijuana legalization experience.

The Council of State Governments will host its 2017 National Conference from December 14th-16th in Las Vegas, Nevada. The meeting will offer engaging policy sessions geared toward state officials in all three branches of government. To access copies of speaker presentations, please visit the individual session pages below.

Technology is constantly changing and evolving. In tandem, cybersecurity threats are evolving and becoming more sophisticated—and states are under attack. This session will explore several proven ways that your state can be more prepared to face the cybersecurity threat from both an offensive and a defensive position.

CSG’s 2017 Cybersecurity and Privacy Policy Academy was held from Nov. 1-3 in San Francisco, CA. State policymakers from across the country heard about innovative public and private sector practices, elections security, critical infrastructure and grid security, data privacy, workforce development, federal initiatives, data breach notifications, risk management, emerging trends and more.

A recently released study conducted by Roubini Thoughtlab and commissioned by Visa took a look at the economic boost cities might get by going “cashless” – defined as the entire population of a city moving to digital payment usage equal to the top 10 percent of users in that city today. The study estimates that relying more on electronic payments, such as cards and mobile payments, could yield a net benefit of up to $470 billion per year across the 100 cities studied – about three percent of the average GDP for these cities.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, there were 886,814 total approved cumulative initial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) cases as of March 31, 2017. Texas (124,300) and California (222,795) have the largest percentage of cases with more than 44 percent of approved DACA recipients in total. Illinois (42,376) and New York (41,970) came in third and fourth. Four states – Maine, Montana, North Dakota, and Vermont – have fewer than 100 recipients each. An additional six states have fewer than 1,000 recipients each. The median number of recipients across all states and the District of Columbia is 6,255. 

According to data from the U.S. Travel Association, travel – both domestic and international – has a big impact on economic growth and job creation in the states. In 2015, domestic travelers took almost 2.2 billion trips and 77.5 million international visitors traveled to the U.S. These travelers combined generated $2.1 trillion in output for the U.S. economy and provided jobs for 15.1 million Americans, or one in nine private sector jobs. In addition, travel generated a total of $67 billion in state and local tax revenue.

The number of unemployed persons per job opening fell to 1.13 in June 2017, a 10-year low and significantly lower than the July 2009 peak of 6.6. In other words, we are close to having a job opening for every person that is unemployed. In the Midwest, the number of unemployed per job opening has now dropped to less than one, the lowest of any region.

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