Executive Branch

Citizens and governing bodies are demanding more transparency regarding a government's overall financial condition and individual transactions than ever before. The movement toward more transparency began just before the economic downturn that emerged in 2008, but really gathered steam with the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009, which required quarterly reporting on a national website of Recovery Act-related expenditures. States and many local governments followed by creating their own transparency websites. In 2012, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, known as GASB, issued two new accounting principles that are designed to provide increased transparency into one of government’s largest unfunded liabilities—pension systems. GASB, through the issuance of Statement No. 67 for pension plans and Statement No. 68 for employers, has dramatically changed the way pensions are calculated and reported in a government’s financial statement. This article will highlight the changes relating to Statement No. 68, focusing on how the new standard will assist state and local policymakers and the public to better understand their pension liabilities.
 

Chapter 4 of the 2013 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

The average annual salary for U.S. governors in 2013 is $133,348 and 21 governors earn more than that average, a new survey by The Council of State Governments reveals. Maine Gov. Paul LePage, with an annual salary of $70,000, earns the lowest salary, followed by Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, who earns $86,890 per year. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania has the highest gubernatorial salary--$187,256-but he has refused at least three of cost-of-living adjustments during his tenure, making his actual pay closer to $175,000. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's salary of $179,000 per year ranks second among governors' salaries.

Stateline Midwest ~ May 2013

More than a decade has passed since Minnesota legislators and the state’s governor last received a salary increase. That may change since this year, if the Legislature follows through on a pay raise recommended by Minnesota’s 16-member Compensation Council, a mix of state legislators, judges and members of the executive branch.

2012 CSG Innovations Award Winners!

Panels of state officials in the CSG regions convened this summer and chose two winners of a 2012 CSG Innovations Award from several outstanding finalists in their respective regions. These programs address archiving state records, corrections, economic development, forestry, mental health, military veterans, water, and welfare fraud. 

Stateline Midwest ~ February 2012

Shortly after setting her sights on her current office, Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman recalls being gently warned about what lay ahead by a legislative colleague.

Stateline Midwest ~ May 2012

When can and do bills enacted into law actually take effect?

Can cutting red tape in state government really make a difference when it comes to job creation and business support? At a time when many states are seeking ways to encourage economic growth and stability, secretaries of state are making efforts to ensure that state filing and licensing offices are business-friendly and streamlined for success through business one-stops, fee reductions and other incentives.

The office of lieutenant governor is the proven method of gubernatorial succession in the states and territories, having stood the test of time and experience for more than 200 years. The few states that ever abolished the office of lieutenant governor have reinstated it. History reveals five principles to well-written succession law utilizing the office of lieutenant governor. Moreover, states and territories continue to capitalize on the value of this office with lieutenant governors garnering power and responsibility from the constitution, statute or gubernatorial appointment, or through personal initiative. The trend line for the growth and value of the office is seen through new studies and increasing pay rates, growth in duties and political roles, and anecdotally through press.

Governors remain in the forefront of activity in the 21st century.  While the governorship was not the stepping stone to the White House for President Barack Obama - as it was for the country's two previous presidents, Democratic Gov. Bill Clinton from Arkansas (1993-2001) and Republican George W. Bush from Texas (2001-2009) - governors continue to be in the middle of addressing the problems facing the country's weak economy.  The demands on governors to propose state budgets and then keep them in balance have increased greatly during the current recession as severe revenue shortfalls have hit the states.  This has placed severe limits on states' abilities to address the many growing needs of people trying to live through tough times.  Politically, this has led to fallout from unhappy voters as they vent their anger and frustration towards leaders on election days. 

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