Policy Area

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.

Chapter 2 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

This article traces the governorship in recent decades. It examines who the governors are, how they became governors and some of their recent political history. The author discusses the timing and costs of gubernatorial elections, as well as the powers these officials have and the  priorities of our current governors. Finally, the article points out the need for continuing efforts to reorganize state executive branches across the country, especially as states continue to maintain a myriad of other separately elected executive-branch officials.

Chapter 10 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Chapter 4 of the 2002 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Chapter 9 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.

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.

Legislatures are the engines of representative democracy in the American states. They are the arenas in which the processes for choosing policies, setting priorities and reaching settlements among conflicting values and interests take place. This essay points out trends and directions in which state legislatures are moving, the significant issues confronting them and offers a framework for thinking about the current condition of state legislatures.

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.