According to the Department of Education, a state should use the Government Services Fund to: “[H]elp create jobs, reduce unemployment, stabilize and improve the State’s economy, and avert the need to raise taxes. The Department also encourages Governors to use these funds in ways that support State and local educational reform initiatives, especially activities that will enable the State to make progress in the areas related to the four education reform assurances provided in the State’s application for Stabilization funding.”

States bear enormous responsibility for administering the nation’s safety net programs. They are the first responders when unemployed workers apply for unemployment benefits, food assistance and welfare. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 expanded some safety net support, temporarily filling in some of the benefit gaps.

Fiscal conditions in the states began to decline in fiscal 2008. State spending and revenues grew at a lower rate than the prior year and balances were well-below their near record levels of fiscal 2007. While fiscal 2008 saw somewhat moderate declines, the fiscal situation in the states has deteriorated much more sharply in fiscal 2009. State spending is projected to be negative for the first time since 1983, balance levels are being reduced as states use reserves to address shortfalls, and recent data shows state revenues declining by 4 percent. As a result, states are likely to face a difficult budgetary environment in fiscal 2010 and beyond.

For the past four decades, states have turned to legalization of various forms of gambling to generate tax revenues or to stimulate economic or tourism development. Legal gaming industries generated more than $92 billion in gaming revenues in 2007, with about two-thirds of that coming from commercial or tribal casinos. By 2009, lotteries had become nearly ubiquitous in the United States, and casinos are within a few hours drive of virtually every American. Internet gambling, however, is presently prohibited by federal law, and certain forms of gambling, such as sports wagering, are generally prohibited outside Nevada.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of State Governments calls on Congress to seize a historic opportunity and pass an adequately funded, multi-modal, multi-year transportation authorization bill to include a focus on all modes of travel as soon as possible, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council of State Governments commends Congress for transportation and infrastucture funding included as part of the ARRA but expresses disappointment that the funding was not at the level needed to make substantial progress in meeting the nation's transportation infrastructure needs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council of State Governments will seek to partner with organizations that share our philosophy about the need for historic investment in the nation's transportation infrastructure in advocacy of these issues before Congress.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments urges Congress, in coordination with the administration and state and local governments, to adopt legislation modifying the Recovery Act so as to allow state and local governments to set aside a portion of their stimulus funds for the administrative costs involved with meeting the reporting and accountability requirements established by the Recovery Act.

CSG South

This presentation was given by Sujit M. CanagaRetna, Senior Fiscal Analyst at the SLC, at the 2009 Spring Conference of The Council of State Governments' Executive Committee in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, May 18, 2009.

CSG South

This presentation was given by Sujit M. CanagaRetna, Senior Fiscal Analyst at the SLC, on May 9, 2009, at the 2009 SLC Legislative Service Agency Spring Meeting in Miami, Florida. Both the presentation and the remarks are included here.

A vital tool for policymakers across the region, Comparative Data Reports (CDRs) offer a snapshot of conditions on a number of issues. Published annually, the CDRs track a multitude of revenue sources, appropriations levels, and performance measures in Southern states, and provide a useful tool to state government officials and staff. CDRs are available for adult correctional systems, comparative revenues and revenue forecasts, education, Medicaid, and transportation.

CSG South

This presentation was given by Sujit M. CanagaRetna, Senior Fiscal Analyst at the SLC, to the Mississippi House of Representatives in Jackson, Mississippi on March 5, 2009.