Capitol Ideas

Capitol Ideas is a periodic listing of story ideas and background information from new NCSL research. For more information, contact NCSL's Press Team.

States Rev Up Incentives to Buy Electric Cars

To promote electric vehicles, 27 states and Washington, D.C., have created incentives for individuals and 13 states have legislation pending relating to incentives. Incentives include a variety of things, from high-occupancy vehicle lane exemptions to monetary awards, such as tax exemptions or credits, reductions in registration fees, exemptions from emission tests, and parking perks. More 

Mortgage Fraud Legislation

NCSL is tracking states' efforts to tackle residential mortgage fraud. Most legislation creates the specific crime of "mortgage fraud."  To date, 10 states have  legislation pending, while four states already have enacted laws regarding mortgage fraud. More

Not Out of the Woods Yet

Over the past four years, state legislators have faced, and largely addressed, budget gaps totaling $510.5 billion altogether. The latest NCSL “State Budget Update” report shows that while state budgets are recovering, they have not fully recovered from the effects of the Great Recession. The return to positive revenue growth that began in FY 2011 is expected to continue into FY 2012, albeit at a much lower rate. More

Did States Really Cut Taxes?

For the first time in 10 years, states reported that they cut taxes more than they increased them. But what looked like a cut on many ledgers were actually temporary tax increases that were allowed to expire in several different tax categories. This “cut” in taxes does not mean states have recovered from the Great Recession. NCSL has released its 2011 “State Tax Update” report, which summarizes the changes in tax policy that took place during 2011 legislative sessions that will affect revenue collections in FY 2012. More

Members of the media may receive full complimentary copies of both the budget and tax reports by emailing NCSL's public affairs division.

Senator Smith? Here! 

From now until the end of the school year, state legislators will visit classrooms in elementary, middle and high schools to talk about the legislative process and bring civics to life for students as part of the America’s Legislators Back to School Program. For over a decade, state legislators have made it a tradition to teach young people--the nation's future voters and leaders--what it is like to serve as an elected official. This program was founded in 1999 as part of the Trust for Representative Democracy at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), and has grown to a year-round event that has reached more than 2 million students. To find out which legislators will be participating in the Back to School Project in 2011, please contact the state BTS coordinator in your state. More