Tire Manufacturing in the SLC States: Continuing to Roll Forward
In a move that further reinforced the role of the SLC states as the tire manufacturing focal point of the country, the Japanese company, Toyo Tire, announced in December 2013 that it was expanding its manufacturing facility in White, Georgia (in Bartow County, a location north of Atlanta) by adding 700,000-square-feet to the company’s current 2 million-square-foot facility by 2017. The expansion would involve an injection of $371 million to the facility and create 650 new jobs. The plant manufactures tires for premium light trucks and passenger cars. Back in 2004, Toyo established its first North American facility at its present Georgia location. Since the initial contingent of 81 employees who manufactured the plant’s first tires in 2006, the location currently has more than 1,000 employees. Tire manufacturers like Toyo in Georgia, Hankook in Tennessee and Bridgestone/Continental/Michelin in South Carolina continue to expand and re-assert the role played by the SLC region as a magnet for automobile manufacturers and automotive parts suppliers.
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle, December 6, 2013
For a recent publication on tire manufacturing in the SLC, see SLC's most recent Regional Resource, Tire Manufacturing: Southern States Roll to the Top.
What are the early graduation policies in SLC member states?
Bullet Points Related to Wind Pool Insurance and the SLC States
In recent years, states in the CSG-South region as well as the nation as a whole have been exposed to significant risks due to hurricanes and tornadoes. These immense storms have caused immeasurable damage in terms of the loss of human life and billions of dollars in economic costs. As a result, homeowners face the challenges of not only securing insurance for their homes and property in affected areas, but also dealing with steep premium increases. In response to this development, a number of Southern states are continuing to devise measures to provide homeowners with wind pool insurance coverage at affordable rates. Given the growing importance of this issue in the region, the SLC coordinated a webinar to feature presentations on what some of these measures are, the broad trends associated with wind pool insurance, best practices and how international developments impact premiums here in the United States.
In recent years, the insurance industry has documented that catastrophe losses, or losses related to major disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina, Ike, Ivan and Super Storm Sandy and the tornados that swept over Moore, Oklahoma, Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Joplin, Missouri, have been extremely high. This has proven to be an enormous fiscal challenge to both property owners (home and commercial) and insurance companies. Consequently, state lawmakers and policymakers have been entrusted with devising solutions that are smart, sensible and reasonable from the perspectives of both property owners and insurance companies.
The Insurance Information Institute notes that in the first six months of 2013, there were 460 natural catastrophes worldwide; in contrast, for all 12 months in 1980, there were less than 350 natural catastrophes worldwide. This statistic is a clear indication that the incidence of catastrophes across the globe, including in the United States, has increased significantly in the last 30+ years.
A 2013 study of the Atlantic and Gulf coastlines by CoreLogic noted that 4.2 million homes, with $1.2 trillion in total property exposure, are at risk of damage caused by hurricane storm surge flooding.
How are SLC member states' legislative budgets formatted?
Question: We are interested in finding out the different budgeting formats Southern states use as seen at the actual bill level. Specifically does your state budget by program or budget by category? An example of budgeting by program would be Administration Program, Management and Finance Program, Licensing Program, Wildlife Program. An example of budgeting by category would be expenditure items broken down by salaries, supplies, travel, professional services and acquisitions.
“Since 1976 Alabama has budgeted by program.”
“Our appropriation bills are almost all styled by category, although, maybe a handful of the appropriation bills contain an appropriation for a specific program. An example of an appropriation bill that contains appropriation for a specific program would be our K-12 education bill that appropriates by the specific type of grants and aid program provided to school districts. One thing to remember is that in Arkansas the appropriation is not funding ‐ the appropriation is an authorization to spend if funds are made available. The appropriation bill contains the amount of appropriation payable from a particular fund or fund account. The agency or its board determines the allocation of funding received to a specific appropriation. In regard to funding, our general revenue funds are allocated in a separate bill to individual fund and fund accounts. Other moneys such as dedicated revenue streams are deposited into a particular fund or fund account according to the legislation creating the fund and or program.”
“The short answer for Florida is both by program and category. Attached is a pdf of the current year General Appropriations Bill as passed, commonly referred to as the Conference Report.”
“We budget by program in the bill. We still track object classes, however, in some of our budget computer systems. The House and the Senate use slightly different formats and alternate years writing the bill, and both can be found on the House Budget and Research website.”
Passing (on) the Test: The Future of Common Core Assessments
During the past year, states' continued pursuit of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has garnered considerable attention, and not a little criticism. Among the most often raised concern is with the assessments that are considered part and parcel of the new standards. Specifically, critics are worried about the cost, practicality, frequency, and number of new consortium-crafted assessments aligned to the Common Core Standards.
States are required by federal law to assess students annually in reading and mathematics in grades 3-8, and once in high school, and publicly report the results of these assessments. School, district and state level reporting must be done on an aggregate and sub-group level, providing the public and policymakers with a snapshot of how schools are performing.
Under current federal law there has been considerable pushback over assessments, including criticism of their validity, impact on instruction, and the amount of time students spend on testing. There also are concerns that tests designed to measure student progress or diagnose children's learning needs are being applied in ways that they were not intended, most particularly to measure teacher performance.
As states implement the CCSS in English language arts and mathematics, new assessments based upon these learning frameworks are necessary in order for states to accurately gauge student learning. A selling point advantage of the new standards was to be that states could share costs for a variety of educational services, including assessments and, thus achieve cost savings over the current model. Equally, it was envisioned that new assessments would deliver better data on student learning to help teachers adjust instruction, offer targeted supports, and plan early interventions before significant learning deficits occur, as well as provide a better picture of how prepared students are for college or careers.
How are the SLC member states managing their Medicaid HMO plans?
According to Kaiser Health, approximately 70 percent of all Medicaid enrollees, nationwide, received at least some services through managed care plans. States vary on how they offer health maintenance organization (HMO) plans to enrollees. Some offer HMO plans to all enrollees, while others restrict them to certain populations. The most common populations for expanding access to managed care are children and pregnant women, but many states are expanding to include less healthy populations, such as the elderly and disabled – some of the most expensive Medicaid enrollees. Regardless of the population, the greatest advantages documented by states in moving toward more managed care are associated with costs and consolidated caseloads.
Under fee-for-service systems, states pay each provider for every service they perform. More services lead to more fees and higher costs. Also, fee-for-service systems lend to the ability to commit fraud, because the state pays first and asks questions later. Under the managed care system, however, insurance companies receive a capped amount to serve a patient. Also, proponents claim that HMOs can provide better care through coordination among doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals. Fee-for-services systems often lack coordination, which leads to inconsistent care, particularly for those with chronic conditions, resulting in bad outcomes for patients and heftier, repetitive charges to the state.
How many children are enrolled in preschool in the SLC member states?
(click on headers to sort by column)
|State/Region||Percent of 4-year-olds enrolled in state prekindergarten||Percent of 3-year-olds enrolled in state prekindergarten||Percent total (3s and 4s) enrolled in state prekindergarten||Number of 4-year-olds enrolled in state prekindergarten||Number of 3-year-olds enrolled in state prekindergarten||Total number (3s and 4s) enrolled in state prekindergarten||State 3-year-olds population||State 4-year-olds population||Total State 3- and 4-year-olds population|
What are the current state unemployment rates?
Monthly Rankings, Seasonally Adjusted
June 2013 p
(click on headers to sort by column)
p = preliminary.
Note: Rates shown are a percentage of the labor force. Estimates for the current month are subject to revision the following month.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed August 8, 2013.
Which SLC states have implemented policies to reduce early elective deliveries for Medicaid and SCHIP recipients?
According to a University of Minnesota study published in the American Journal of Public Health, the average cost of Cesarean, or C-section, births is on average approximately $10,000 more expensive than vaginal births ($27,866 versus $18,329 in 2010). Among Medicaid births, the average costs are $9,100 for a vaginal birth, as opposed to $13,600 for a C-section. Considering state Medicaid programs pay for almost half of all U.S. births, there is substantial money to be saved through policies that discourage unnecessary C-sections. One popular policy is to remove financial incentives for unnecessary C-sections by equalizing Medicaid payments for both procedures. In most states, reimbursement policy seems to favor C-sections. Since the procedure accounts for approximately 45 percent of the $86 billion the United States spends on childbirth each year, a reduction in the prevalence of C-sections could mean huge savings for states. Here are some examples of policies SLC states have enacted to address this issue.
|State||Medicaid Payment Strategies||Collaborative Strategies|
|Alabama||Alabama Perinatal Excellence Collaborative (APEC), a collaboration of the University of Alabama Birmingham, the University of South Alabama, Alabama Medicaid and statewide OB providers and hospitals, serves as resource for obstetric and other healthcare providers throughout the state of Alabama for assistance in improving perinatal outcomes. APEC released guidelines to assist providers and facilities in implementing systems to decrease the rate of early elective deliveries.|
|Arkansas||Medicaid Inpatient Quality Incentive Program: incentive for meeting threshold levels on elective delivery measure.||Arkansas Health Care Payment Improvement Initiative: Partnership of Arkansas Medicaid, the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Arkansas QualChoice to transform health care in the State. Defined episodes of care for Perinatal conditions for which incentive payments are provided based on thresholds.|
What is the federal starting point for personal income taxation in the SLC member states?
(click on headers to sort by column)
|State||Relation to Federal Internal Revenue Code (IRC)||Federal Tax Base Used as Starting Point to Calculate State Taxable Income|
|Florida||No state income tax||N/A|
|Georgia||IRC of 1/1/2012||Adjusted gross income|
|Kentucky||IRC of 12/31/2006||Adjusted gross income|
|Louisiana||Current||Adjusted gross income|
|Missouri||Current||Adjusted gross income|
|North Carolina||IRC of 1/1/2012||Taxable income|
|Oklahoma||Current||Adjusted gross income|
|South Carolina||IRC of 12/31/2011||Taxable income|
|Tennessee||On interest & dividends only||N/A|
|Texas||No state income tax||N/A|
|Virginia||IRC of 12/31/2011||Adjusted gross income|
|West Virginia||IRC of 12/31/2011||Adjusted gross income|
Source: Federation of Tax Administrators
The Higher Education Disconnect
Last year, Florida Governor Rick Scott told radio host Marc Bernier that the state "[w]e don't need a lot more anthropologists in the state...I want to spend our dollars giving people science, technology, engineering, and math degrees." In a follow up discussion with the Sarasota Herald Tribune he elaborated that he wanted to use taxpayer dollars for education that would create jobs, and specifically, not anthropology.
The issue was not anthropology per se (Scott's daughter earned a degree in anthropology from the College of William and Mary), but in the utility of an anthropology degree. Governors across the region have begun to call into question the value of college degrees in the liberal arts. More recently, Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina echoed the complaint that state universities offer courses of study that do not lead to employment. While singling out different disciplines, his remarks signaled an interest in making support for higher education conditional upon how institutions support broader public policy objectives. The governors are not questioning degree programs in the liberal arts themselves, but the need for state subsidies for liberal arts students. According to both Scott and McCrory (and others), there is a disconnect between higher education and businesses, and it is in the state's interest to fix it.
Which SLC member states use variable rates for gasoline taxation?
In the SLC, every state levies taxes on the sale of gasoline and diesel fuel. These taxes can be grouped into three main categories. The first and most common type of gasoline tax is the fixed-rate tax, collected as a flat amount per gallon purchased. Every state except Kentucky levies a fixed-rate tax, and 10 SLC member states rely exclusively on the fixed-rate tax. Some states levy a variable-rate gas tax, usually in combination with a fixed-rate tax. The most common type of variable rate tax is based on the price of gas. Florida levies a second type of variable-rate gas tax: most of the states's gas tax is tied to the Consumer Price Index – the value of a "market basket of goods" purchased by the typical consumer, adjusted for inflation.
(click on headers to sort by column)
|State||Fixed-Rate Excise Tax||Tax as Percentage of Price||Indexed to Consumer Price Index||Relevant Constitution or Statute Section|
|Alabama||Yes||No||No||Amendment 93 (Constitution)|
|Arkansas||Yes||No||No||Sec 26 - 55 - 206|
|Florida||Yes||No||Yes||Title XIV Sec 206.46 (3)|
|Georgia||Yes||Yes||No||Art. III Sec IX Par. VI (Constitution)|
|Kentucky||No||Yes||No||Section 230 (Constitution)|
|Louisiana||Yes||No||No||Art. 7 Sec 27|
|Mississippi||Yes||No||No||Title 27 Ch 055 Sec 11|
|Missouri||Yes||No||No||Art. IV Sec 30B (Constitution)|
|North Carolina||Yes||Yes||No||Sec 136 - 16.8|
What are the natural gas vehicle consumption rates in the SLC member states?
In November of 2011, Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado and governors from several member states of the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding to generate interest and action in the U.S. automobile industry for the development of functional and affordable natural gas vehicles (NGVs) to meet public demand. The NASPO states recognized the benefits and unique attributes of clean-burning natural gas and understood the opportunity NGVs present to save taxpayer dollars by forging an energy future that utilizes domestic energy resources to meet transportation needs. As of April of 2012, Wyoming, Mississippi, Utah, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maine, West Virginia, New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana have signed on to support the multi-state joint Request for Information and Request for Proposals solicitation.
Per SLC research performed in response to an information request, Virginia is the only SLC member state that currently offers tax credits specifically to manufacturers of natural gas vehicles, implemented by the Alternative Fuel Job Creation Tax Credit. The utilization of natural gas vehicles in the SLC peaked in 2004, with NGVs consuming 6.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas. Consumption by NGVs dropped to 3.7 billion cubic feet in the following year and, in the SLC, has experienced slow growth from that bottom. The following table provides further details on NGV usage in the SLC member states.
(click on headers to sort by column)
|State/Region||2000||2002||Change||2004||Change||2006||Change||2008||Change||2010||Change||2012||Change||Average Annual Rate of Change|
State Personal Income Trends
The U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released the state personal income levels for 2012. Based on this data, average state personal income growth slowed to 3.5 percent in 2012 from 5.2 percent in 2011. While North Dakota demonstrated the largest increase in state personal income growth (12.4 percent) among all the states, South Dakota's -0.2 percent was the most anemic. In terms of inflation, as measured by the national price index for personal consumption expenditures, the rate fell to 1.8 percent in 2012 from 2.4 percent in 2011.
North Dakota's rapid personal income growth in 2012 was most impressive since it was the fifth time in the last six years that the state's ranking was the fastest in the nation. In fact, since 2006, personal income in the state has expanded at a compound annual rate of 9.2 percent, a substantial improvement compared to the 2.9 percent growth rate of all other states. In contrast, a number of states, including South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Iowa, all experienced below average total personal income growth in 2012 due to the deleterious effects of last year's drought on farm income. It should be noted that nonfarm personal income growth in each of these states was above average.
A review of the 15 states that belong to the Southern Office of The Council of State Governments, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), reveals several interesting trends. For instance, three of the 15 SLC states ranked in the top 10 in the nation in terms of personal income growth between 2011 and 2012. Specifically, Texas (4.8 percent) ranked 2nd, Oklahoma (4.2 percent) ranked 7th and Tennessee (3.9 percent) ranked 10th.
In terms of per capita personal income, while the United States figure was $42,693 in 2012, the SLC average was $37,678. Only Virginia ($47,082) had sufficient per capita income to rank in the top 10 among the nation's 50 states, coming in eighth.
|Region/State||Personal income [Millions of dollars]||Population [Thousands of persons] 1||Per capita personal income [Dollars]|
|2011||2012 p||Percent change||Rank of percent change||2012 p||Rank in U.S||Percent of U.S. average|
What are the distracted driving laws in SLC member states?
|State||Ban on Handheld Devices||Ban on Cell Phone Use while Driving||Ban on Texting while Driving||Collection of Crash Data|
|School Bus Drivers||Novice Drivers||All Drivers||School Bus Drivers||Novice Drivers|
|Alabama||For Drivers 16,or 17 years old holding an Intermediate License less than six months||Yes||Covered under all driver ban|
|Arkansas 1||Drivers 18-20 years old||Yes||Under 18 *||Yes||Covered under all driver ban||Yes|
|Georgia||Yes||Under 18||Yes||Covered under all driver ban||Yes|
|Kentucky||Yes||Under 18||Yes||Covered under all driver ban|
|Louisiana||Learner or Intermediate License (regardless of age)||Yes||During First Year of License (primary offense for drivers Under 18)||Yes||Covered under all driver ban||Yes|
Exports Continue to Surge in 2012, SLC State Exports Continue to Secure Impressive Growth Rates
The U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration released its 2012 export tally and a quick review of the data indicates that the states belonging to the Southern Office of The Council of State Governments, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), continues to expand at impressive rates. Specifically, in 2012, U.S. goods exports* reached an all-time high of $1.54 trillion, an improvement of 4 percent over the $1.48 trillion secured in 2011. Texas was the nation's top goods exporter in 2012 and shipped out a staggering $265 billion to all corners of the globe. The Lone Star state's 2012 export tally clearly surpassed the next highest state (California with $162 billion in exports) and cemented its reputation as the nation's top exporter in each of the last five years. Another SLC state, Arkansas, was the state with the second-highest rate of goods export growth in the nation in 2012, 36 percent, an expansion rate only exceeded by New Mexico (42 percent). Arkansas' $7.6 billion in goods exports in 2012 was striking compared to the state's $5.6 billion achieved in the prior year. A review of state goods export data over the 2008-2012, five-year period established yet another SLC state (West Virginia) as the national leader. Not only did the Mountain State secure a stunning 101 percent increase in goods exports between 2008 and 2012 ($5.6 billion to $11.4 billion), West Virginia also increased its exports by 26 percent between 2011 and 2012, the fourth highest rate in the country. West Virginia was the only state that secured a triple-digit export increase between 2008 and 2012, a further reflection of the state's strong commitment to export promotion.
What are the disability retirement benefits of state employees in the SLC member states?
(Click on a state to view relevant documentation)
Source: SLC research of member states' employee retirement systems
State Efforts to Fund Transportation
Given the tenuousness of the gas tax in its current format as a reliable source of revenue to fund the transportation needs of states, policymakers in over a dozen states are proposing and exploring alternate mechanisms to generate funds for vital transportation projects. Here are some of these strategies broken down by tax/fee and non-tax/fee categories:
Fiscal and Economic Trends in the South
The Great Recession was the longest and deepest recession since the Great Depression. The 19 months that the U.S. economy was in recession between December 2007 and June 2009 was only exceeded by the Great Depression when the U.S. economy was in recession for 43 months. Some of the key national economic indicators are positive though the recovery has been rather anemic.
For instance, real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the third quarter of 2012, an improvement 1.3 percent growth in the second quarter of 2012 but is still far below what is necessary for robust job growth. The national unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in December 2012, a tremendous improvement from the high of 10.2 percent in October 2009. Last week's unemployment claims fell to the lowest since January 2008, another indication of the slowly improving job market. At the state level, in December 2012, 22 states reported over-the-month unemployment rate decreases, 16 states and the District of Columbia had increases, and 12 states had no change.
Housing, which was one of the major reasons for the collapse of the U.S. economy, is recovering nicely and in 2012, housing sales rose to their highest level in five years. U.S. builders started work on homes in December 2012 at the fastest pace since the summer of 2008. There is strong confidence that the housing market is recovering impressively in terms of new construction, sales and values, even in states that were hit the hardest during the recession. Foreclosure rates are also declining and in 2012, according to Realty Trac, foreclosure filings were down 3 percent from 2011 and down 36 percent from the peak in 2010.
Finally, the stock market, reflected in the Standard & Poor's Index, is on a remarkable run and as of January 24, 2013, closed at its highest level since December 2007. While the stock market's performance alone is not a solid indicator of the economy's performance, it is a major boost to consumer confidence given its positive impact on the finances of American households.
How many new members were elected to SLC legislatures in the November 2012 elections?
(click on headers to sort by column)
|State||New Senate Members||Total Senate Members||Percent New Senate Members||New House Member||Total House Members||Percent New House Members||Total New Members||Total All Members||Percent All New Members|