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Not far from the North Dakota state Capitol in Bismarck stands a sleek, glass-covered building that, at first glance, belies its historic ties to the state’s progressive-era roots.
Despite its modern façade, however, the Bank of North Dakota — the nation’s only state-owned and state-operated bank — stands in part as a testament to the agrarian revolt that engulfed the young state and eventually ushered in a sweeping series of government reforms almost 100 years ago.

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.

According to the latest economic indicators, the US economy is holding steady but also hitting a soft patch as evidenced by lower consumer spending in the month of April.  This news in conjunction with the fact that inflation has halted to just 0.7 percent over the past year seems to indicate that the Fed will not start curtailing the buying of bonds as originally proposed by Chairman Bernanke.  The Fed is currently purchasing 85 billion dollars’ worth of bonds per month. 

As an increase in subsidized student loan interest rates from 3.4% to 6.8% is looming, the amount of student debt continues to increase.  

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Household Debt and Credit Report for the first quarter of 2013 shows that 16.2% of Americans have student debt, with variation among states.  ...

A new study related to climate change moves the debate from the science of it all to its impact on the economy.  The report— “Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey,” by Ceres, a nonprofit group advocating for sustainability leadership—takes a look at how not including the risks associated with climate change may affect the business of insurance companies. “The insurance sector is a key driver to our overall economy,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres.

Two years ago, Congress passed, and the president signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law. A response to the financial meltdown in 2008, Dodd-Frank initiated one of the most significant restructurings of financial regulations since the Great Depression, and a great deal of the reforms hinged on states’ relationships and regulatory authority over financial institutions. Now, with the law in effect and the federal rule-making process well under way, some states are using their new authorities in unpredicted—and unprecedented—ways.

A settlement between U.S. states and the nation’s largest mortgage lenders over foreclosure abuses is a go as every state but one—Oklahoma—has signed on to the deal. The settlement is described by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as the “largest joint federal-state civil settlement in the history of this nation."  The settlement is between 49 state attorneys general, the Justice Department, the U.S. Department of Housing and five major banks. The exact value of the settlement is unclear, but could range from $26 billion to upwards of $39 billion. 

The Southern Legislative Conference has released its latest Regional Resource - Municipal Bonds: Trends in 2011. The Resource examines how the municipal bond market fared in 2011, if fears expressed by certain experts regarding widespread bond defaults were realized, if investors shed their holdings in municipal bonds and fled to other asset categories and a number of related topics.

Rates of foreclosure are at levels not seen the 1930s, and some communities in the Midwest have been particularly hard hit by a rise in the number of blighted properties. States are responding with new measures and investigations designed to help troubled communities and homeowners.

President Barack Obama on Sept. 8 addressed a joint session of Congress to roll out the American Jobs Act. In the wake of a still stagnant recovery, the bill includes a combination of tax breaks and new spending designed to give the economy a booster shot and hopefully put more people back to work.  If passed by Congress, the bill would provide more than $35 billion to state and local governments to retain or rehire teachers and public safety officials. The tax measures used to pay for the bill, however, may ultimately come back to bite the very state and local governments it is designed to support.

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