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The number of states engaged in amending and revising their constitutions in 2000-2001 was the lowest in 30 years. Legislative and constitutional initiatives were the only methods used to amend state constitutions during the biennium, and three states accounted for almost half of the proposed amendments. While some constitutional trends continued from the 1990s, there were also notable differences.

Census 2000 data reveal a new set of patterns, featuring a new cast of demographic actors. States and regions have begun to steal the show from cities, suburbs and countryside. In this article, states are grouped into three broad categories according to their distinct demographic trajectories: the Melting Pot states, the New Sunbelt states and the Heartland states.

Chapter 1 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

An aging workforce presents challenges for the future of pension plans, but measures to address any problems are already being devised and implemented. The question may not be so much whether future retirees will be adequately compensated, but rather, how policy-makers will shape the pension plans of tomorrow in order to maintain the relatively consistent quality of previous plans.

American federalism demonstrated remarkable continuity and responsiveness throughout the horrific events associated with the 2000 presidential election and the terrorist attacks of 2001. Yet, the contemporary era has also been one of coercive or regulatory federalism, marked by historically unprecedented levels of federal preemptions, mandates, conditions of aid and other extensions of federal power into state affairs. The U.S. Supreme Court has pursued a countervailing state-friendly federalism jurisprudence since 1991, but in the political realm, there is substantial bipartisan and even intergovernmental support for coercive or regulatory federalism.

This essay describes some recent patterns of state financial activity – how the state governments obtain their revenues, the types of activities on which they expend their resources, their reliance on economic resources such as borrowing and the state of their financial assets. The analysis relies primarily on data from U.S. Census Bureau surveys of state and local government finances, the most complete set of comparative information available. It is primarily a retrospective look, using the information for fiscal year 2000 and comparing that with trends from prior years. The final section looks at a few present-day issues and prospects for state finances.

This article describes the division of political powers between state and local governments, the emergence of innovative state programs assisting substate governments, state initiatives to improve the coordination and effectiveness of state and local government service-delivery and regulatory programs, and the desirability of broadening the powers of general-purpose local governments to allow them to achieve their goals in the most economical, efficient and effective manner.

The fact that most governmental services in the United States are provided directly to citizens by local governments is testimony to their importance. Nevertheless, these substate units, although they may be termed “home-rule” municipalities, are not autonomous. In all states, local governments are subject to various controls by their respective state governments, including costly state mandates, which are the principal irritant in state-local relations in a significant number of states.

Chapter 7 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

This article examines recent developments involving a sample of interstate compacts and formal interstate administrative agreements, the purpose of which is to promote harmonious relations between sister states by resolving disputes and encouraging interstate cooperation.

 

The demand for e-government services – that is, the delivery of government services through the Internet – continues to increase as citizens and businesses spend more and more time online. There is the expectation that e-government will make government institutions more efficient, accountable and accessible to the public. The states have made significant progress toward these ends as many government services and associated transactions may now be fully executed over the Internet. States are moving further in the development of e-government as services and their related agencies are integrated with one another, a trend which will likely have a tremendous impact on the structure of state government in the near future.

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