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 article, published in Business Xpansion Journal in April 2005, is adapted from a report issued by The Council of State Governments' Southern office, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), in October 2003. The article outlines the growing role of the automobile industry in the Southern states and why it continues to be a leading destination for the industry.

CSG South

This article, published in Global Corporate Xpansion Magazine in Spring 2005, is adapted from a report issued by The Council of State Governments' Southern office, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), in October 2003. The article outlines the growing role of the automobile industry in the Southern states and why it continues to be a leading destination for the industry.

CSG South

On October 22, 2004, the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 was signed into law. The Act, which includes a range of corporate tax cuts, began as a repeal of an export tax break for U.S. corporations that had been deemed to be in violation of the rules of the World Trade Organization in 2003. The final Act became a vehicle for a range of business tax relief along with simplifying international tax law. Tucked away in the legislation is quite possibly the most historically significant part of the bill. Along with reducing the tax rate on corporations repatriating income from overseas operations, the Act contains a buyout for tobacco quota owners and growers.

CSG Midwest
From time to time, a legislator makes headlines by invoking “immunity” when he or she is stopped by law enforcement. The news stories almost always bring up this question: Do lawmakers really have a “get out of jail free” card? The answer is, almost always, “no.” Most states have in their constitutions privilege for legislators, but the actual protections can be misunderstood by law enforcement, the public and lawmakers alike.
 
Legislative privilege has historical roots that date back to 17th-century Britain, says Steven Huefner, a professor at The Ohio State University. That tradition eventually took hold in the United States, but today, the immunity language in state and federal constitutions has very little relevance.
“It’s a bit of a historical anachronism from when there existed a ‘civil arrest’ to detain people. We no longer even have that in any meaningful sense; if you’re being arrested by the police, they have probable cause [for criminal arrest],” he says.
But the provision still grabs headlines today.
CSG South

This presentation was given by Sujit M. CanagaRetna of the Southern Legislative Conference before the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors (ACRE) in Columbia, South Carolina, November 13, 2004.

CSG South

The United States spends an enormous amount of money on education. According to the U.S. Department of Education, total public expenditures for K-12 education in 2000 was nearly $373 billion. The United States is at the top of the industrialized world in per pupil expenditures on education. Most of this money—more than 90 percent in most states—is from state and local sources. Education is the single largest categorical expenditure in state budgets throughout the South and, as enrollment has risen, the costs related to educating the nation’s youth have grown. This report summarizes the current school finance systems for the 16-member states of the SLC.

CSG South

Few other topics generate more spirited discourse and disagreement among policymakers than a discussion on devising a comprehensive retirement system to account for the huge number of “baby boomers” scheduled to retire in the next few years. The primary goal of this retirement system would be to sustain participants with adequate benefits for the duration of their retirement years. However, a spate of economic setbacks in the past few years, such as the sputtering stock market, rising deficits at the federal and state levels, rising fears over terror attacks, mounting corporate scandals affecting consumer confidence, dwindling corporate profits resulting in severe cutbacks and a jobless economic recovery, continues to cause stresses in the retirement plans of millions of Americans. Hence, it probably is not a stretch to maintain that an increasing number of Americans, particularly those nearing retirement age, remain extremely apprehensive about their retirement situation in the years ahead.

Reduced levels of state constitutional activity and no major new trends were recorded in 2003, a typical “off” year. Among developments were a comprehensive tax and spending proposal and an official constitutional commission, both in Alabama, and the historic use of the state  constitutional recall election in California.

During the next few years, state government human resource professionals will be focused on building and maintaining the workforce of the future. With budget deficits, an aging workforce, and rising benefits costs, state governments are challenged and will continue to be so. State human resources is moving from an administrative, “paper-pushing” role to a consultative role allowing it to play a strategic part in the future success of state government.

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