Research / Government Operations

SLC Regional Resource | July 2020

The State of the South: Examining Fiscal Impacts from the Covid-19 Pandemic

Cody Allen

On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Health Regulations Emergency Committee declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency after it had spread to 18 countries. After reported cases continued to spread resulting in a new total of 114 afflicted countries, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus officially declared the outbreak a global pandemic on March 11, 2020.

The SLC region saw its first cases of COVID-19 in March 2020, leading every state in the region — apart from Arkansas and Oklahoma — to declare a stay-at-home order by April 7. Public health experts advised policymakers across the country to move quickly to enact social distancing precautions as a best practice response, based on concurrent international responses to the crisis. Facing a looming economic downturn and rising unemployment figures due to the pandemic and resulting shutdowns, state budget and revenue offices reported a steady decline in general fund collections beginning as early as April. As the source of more than 75 percent of revenue for most states, the decreases in income and sales taxes collected will impact budgets in FY20 and beyond. With the federal income tax filing date moved to July 15, most states had no choice but to follow suit — thereby shifting a significant portion of their fiscal year 2020 revenue to the beginning of fiscal year 2021 (FY21).

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Policy Analysis | July 2020

Coronavirus Impacts on State Legislatures and Elections

Mikko Lindberg, Anne Brody, Roger Moore, Cody Allen and Nick Bowman

Last updated: July 15, 2020


On March 31, House members arrived at staggered times and reported directly to their offices. Speaker Mac McCutcheon cautioned members who had been sick or around someone sick not to attend. Department of Public Health employees checked temperatures at State House entrances to prevent anyone with a fever from entering the building. Members came to the House chamber in small groups, with ample space between members. The Senate followed similar social distancing guidelines. After reaching quorum in both chambers, the session was suspended until May 4.

The Senate General Fund Budget Committee convened on April 28 to pass a budget for fiscal year 2021. The $2.4 billion budget increases funding for Medicaid, Department of Public Health, and Department of Corrections. Committee members followed social distancing guidelines, with some wearing face masks.

The Legislature reconvened on Monday, May 4. Members of the media will be granted access, but in different locations than usual due to social distancing. The House of Representatives will offer live streaming video of the session, with the Senate offering live audio streaming. The Legislature adjourned sine die on May 18.

U.S. Senate Republican Runoff Election moved from March 31 to July 14.

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Policy Analysis | June 2020

Federal Assistance To Farms Amid The COVID-19 Pandemic

Nick Bowman

As of June 29, 2020, the coronavirus has infected 8 million and contributed to 440,000 deaths worldwide; including 2.2 million cases and nearly 120,000 deaths in the United States.1 For more on the virus, see the SLC policy analyses, Unemployment in the SLC Region Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, Spread of COVID-19 within Regions of the United States, Coronavirus Impacts on State Legislatures and Elections and Coronavirus Response at State Unemployment Agencies.

The agriculture sector has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus and accompanying quarantine policies. Many of the largest buyers of agricultural products—including restaurants, schools and hotels—have closed or operated at limited capacity for months due to the pandemic. With a supply chain built around these buyers, many farmers have been forced to destroy crops, dairy and dairy-related products, and livestock. Dairy farmers have been dumping millions of gallons of milk; chicken processors are destroying hundreds of thousands of eggs; and vegetable farmers are plowing acres of fields.2 Meanwhile, coronavirus outbreaks at meatpacking plants have created a backlog of pigs to be slaughtered, forcing some farmers to euthanize tens of thousands of their pigs.3

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Penny Houston


Vice Chair
Representative John Read, Mississippi

John Read


Past Chair

(former) Representative
Eric Johnson


Cody Allen

Cody Allen
Policy Analyst

Since its creation, members of the SLC Fiscal Affairs & Government Operations Committee have focused on the myriad fiscal issues impacting state budgets and finances. Committee appointees include many of the finance and appropriations chairs from across the South along with other prominent fiscal players. The committee routinely examines the impact of the federal budget on state finances; state revenues and expenditures; national and regional economic outlooks; historical and developing fiscal trends; performance-based budgeting; e-commerce and taxation; and public pension plans. For more than 40 years, select fiscal research departments in the SLC member state legislatures have continued to provide annual Comparative Data Reports (CDRs), tracking revenue sources, appropriations levels, performance measures, and a multitude of other metrics in Southern states. A useful tool for legislators and legislative staff alike, CDRs are available for adult correctional systems, education, Medicaid and transportation.

More SLC Research into Government Operations

Other | December 2019

Issues to Watch - 2020

Policy Analysis | September 2019

Media Access at State Capitols

Policy Analysis | March 2019

Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals

SLC Regional Resource | March 2019

Sports Betting in the South

Policy Analysis | April 2018

Chamber Vote Adjustment in the South

Policy Analysis | September 2017

SLC Member State Revenue Increases

Comparative Data Reports | July 2017

Adult Correctional Systems, Education and Medicaid

Policy Analysis | November 2016

Outside Legal Counsel in SLC Member States

Policy Analysis | June 2015

State Purchasing Regulations and Reform

Policy Analysis | April 2015

Primary Election Formulas of SLC Member States

Policy Analysis | February 2015

Regulation of Combat Sports

Policy Analysis | January 2015

State Occupational Boards and Commissions Fees

Policy Analysis | November 2012

Government Performance Audit Agencies

Policy Analysis | February 2012

State Employee Retirement Age in SLC Member States

Policy Analysis | April 2011

Southern States' Sunset Regulations

Policy Analysis | October 2010

Permanent Property Rights Task Forces

Policy Analysis | April 2010

Judicial Advisory Councils

Presentation | February 2010

State Unemployment Insurance: Recent Trends

Comparative Data Reports | November 2007

Adult Correctional Systems, Education, Medicaid and Revenue

SLC Regional Resource | February 2004

Judicial Selection Methods in the Southern States

SLC Regional Resource | June 2002

A Review of Southern States' No-Call Registries

SLC Special Series Report | February 2002

Election Policies and Reform in Southern States 2001

SLC Special Series Report | August 2000

Drawing the Map: Redistricting in the South