Sujit CanagaRetna

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This new report from the Southern Legislative Conference examines the increasing number of aeronautics companies that are locating, relocating or expanding their manufacturing operations in the South, a trend particularly discernible in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

Distracted driving is a national epidemic, claiming thousands of lives on American roads every year. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011. This complimentary webinar, presented by CSG South, featured panelists who addressed the latest research on the potential impact of using devices while driving, state legislative initiatives to hone distracted driving laws and updates on efforts at the federal level to reduce distracted driving accidents.

In recent years, states in the CSG-South area—as well as the nation as a whole—have been exposed to significant risks due to hurricanes and tornadoes. These immense storms have caused immeasurable damage in terms of the loss of human life and billions of dollars in economic costs.

A Transformative Transportation Project: Panama Canal Expansion—The ongoing expansion is perhaps the most transformative global transportation project now in progress. Upon completion in 2014, the expanded Panama Canal will facilitate an even greater flow of trade between Asia and the Americas and will substantially impact the volume of trade reaching Gulf and Atlantic coast ports in the United States. The impetus for the expansion of the canal, approved by the people of Panama in October 2006, sprang from that nation’s desire to continue as a pivotal player in global trade patterns and strategically leverage its greatest asset—the Panama Canal—for its own economic well-being.

The Economic Development, Transportation and Cultural Affairs Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference recently conducted a webinar entitled "States Act to Bolster Transportation Funding: Lessons from the South."  Webinar participants heard from Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia on recent measures initiated in these SLC states to advance transportation and infrastructure development efforts. Against the backdrop of inertia at the federal level, dozens of states across the country have introduced, and sometimes enacted, reform measures to adequately fund their transportation and infrastructure networks. Given that adequate and ongoing infrastructure investments are critical for economic growth, state policymakers, particularly those in the SLC states, are moving proactively to devise funding mechanisms for these programs.

The Economic Development, Transportation and Cultural Affairs Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference recently conducted a webinar entitled "States Act to Bolster Transportation Funding: Lessons from the South."  Webinar participants heard from Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia on recent measures initiated in these SLC states to advance transportation and infrastructure development efforts. Against the backdrop of inertia at the federal level, dozens of states across the country have introduced, and sometimes enacted, reform measures to adequately fund their transportation and infrastructure networks. Given that adequate and ongoing infrastructure investments are critical for economic growth, state policymakers, particularly those in the SLC states, are moving proactively to devise funding mechanisms for these programs.

The ongoing Panama Canal expansion is perhaps the most transformative global transportation project now in progress. Upon completion in 2014, the expanded Panama Canal will facilitate an even greater flow of trade between Asia and the Americas and will substantially impact the volume of trade reaching Gulf and Atlantic Coast ports in the United States. The impetus for the expansion of the Canal, approved by the people of Panama in October 2006, sprang from that nation’s desire to continue as a pivotal player in global trade patterns and strategically leverage its greatest asset—the Panama Canal—for its own economic well-being. 

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released the state personal income levels for 2012. Based on this data, average state personal income growth slowed to 3.5 percent in 2012 from 5.2 percent in 2011. While North Dakota demonstrated the largest increase in state personal income growth (12.4 percent) among all the states, South Dakota’s -0.2 percent was the most anemic. In terms of inflation, as measured by the national price index for personal consumption expenditures, the rate fell to 1.8 percent in 2012 from 2.4 percent in 2011.

The American economy stands at the edge of a precipice created by expiring tax cuts and a host of spending reductions that could collectively shave $600 billion from the U.S. gross domestic product next year. This session featured a presentation and discussion led by Barry Anderson, deputy executive director of the National Governors Association, on the potential impact of the fiscal cliff and the prospects for congressional action to forestall it. Anderson previously served as acting director of the Congressional Budget Office, as well as in senior leadership roles in the Office of Management and Budget, the International Monetary Fund, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The Council of State Governments’ Southern Office, the Southern Legislative Conference, convened a webinar on December 11 entitled “Pension Reforms in the South: Lessons from Louisiana, Oklahoma and West Virginia.” The webinar featured presentations from legislators in three SLC states that are leading the effort to enact reforms and bolster the fiscal position of their pension plans.

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