Capitol Ideas is a periodic listing of story ideas and background information from new NCSL research. For more information, contact NCSL's Press Team.
State Tax Actions Report
The impact of the severe economic recession that began in December 2007 continued to create substantial revenue shortfalls in 2010. As a result, many state legislatures increased taxes and fees for the ninth consecutive year as they worked to shore up state budgets. Overall, states enacted a net tax increase of nearly $4 billion in 2010 (FY 2011) and a total revenue increase, through fee hikes and other changes, of nearly $5.5 billion. This represents an increase of 0.6 percent, which is substantially lower than the previous year’s increase. NCSL's State Tax Actions 2010 presents information about the tax and revenue changes enacted by state legislatures during the 2010 calendar year. The reported changes took effect in fiscal year (FY) 2011. For 46 states, the fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30. Reporters must request a copy of NCSL's State Tax Action Report.
Collective Bargaining Legislation
Several states are dealing with the issue of collective bargaining this legislative session. NCSL has created a database reporters may use to search all bills related to collective bargaining or labor unions by leaving the boxes blank or selecting specific topics from the topic list.
New Research on Diabetes Funding
In its continued efforts to focus on diabetes and its impact on the states, NCSL has created a first-of-its-kind Diabetes in State Budgets. This table breaks down the amount of money lawmakers are appropriating explicitly for diabetes prevention and treatment in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. To obtain this data, NCSL conducted a 50-state survey and analysis of fiscal year 2011 budgets and found 15 states appropriated money specifically for diabetes treatment and prevention. Other states were able to secure funding for diabetes programs through tax incentives or special measures.
Recall of State Officials
Eighteen states permit the recall of state officials. Recall allows citizens to remove and replace a public official before the end of a term of office. Historically, it has been used most frequently at the local level. NCSL is focusing only on the recall as it applies to state officials. Recall differs from another method for removing officials from office--impeachment--in that it is a political device while impeachment is a legal process. In most of the 18 recall states, specific grounds are not required, and the recall of a state official is by an election. NCSL does not provide advice on how to conduct a recall campaign in any state. For the specific procedures to be followed in any state, please contact state election officials.
States Grapple With Pensions
Many states fall short of having adequate funding for future benefits promised through pensions and retiree health care. How they address those issues has implications for state personnel management and delivery of state services, as well as for state budgets. NCSL has a new report that will give journalists a snapshot of the kinds of changes governors and legislators may consider this year to address state retirement concerns. The report draws upon various sources such as governors’ recommendations, state pension study commissions and legislation sponsored by legislative leaders.