Government Reform

Government Reform

Research

Marc Joffe | Jun 25, 2013
The author uses an open-source budget-simulation model to evaluate Illinois’s credit risk and to compare it to that of Indiana, a neighboring state generally believed to have better fiscal management. Based on a review of the history and theory of state credit performance, he assumes that a state will default if the aggregate of its interest and pension costs reaches 30 percent of total revenues. His analysis finds that neither state will reach the critical threshold in the next few years under any reasonable economic scenario, suggesting no material default risk.
Emily Washington, Carmine Scavo | Oct 15, 2012
This paper proposes a methodology for evaluating the operation and success of state government streamlining commissions. These commissions—typically appointed by governors or state legislatures—became increasingly popular in the last decade as a way to identify potential savings in state government by reducing redundancies and increasing efficiencies in state spending. Such changes contribute to creating a more business-friendly environment in states resulting in increased state competitiveness in economic development.
Scott Beaulier, Brandon Pizzola | Feb 13, 2012
This paper looks at the recent growth in Medicaid spending and attempts to explain Medicaid reform successes and failures by focusing on five reform experiences in Rhode Island, Washington, Florida, Idaho, and Tennessee.
Jeffrey Miron, Robert Sarvis | Feb 13, 2012
This paper examines the fiscal health of the states, focusing on two worrisome characteristics: an understatement of unfunded pension liabilities and ever-increasing expenditures, driven primarily by health care costs.
Noel D. Johnson, Matthew Mitchell, Steven Yamarik | Jun 28, 2011
In this paper, the authors investigate whether laws restricting fiscal policies across U.S. states lead politicians to regulate more instead.
Eileen Norcross | May 18, 2011
This paper by Eileen Norcross reviews the origins, goals, and fiscal effects of public sector unionism.

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Expert Commentary

Jul 21, 2013

When scandals play out, our tendency is to identify some nefarious person who is obviously to blame and hold them accountable. However psychologically satisfying this may be, it rarely offers a constructive solution to avoid future scandal, and so we continue to see the same types of problems again and again. Instead of blaming the players, we should blame the game.
Apr 08, 2013

If you’re finding it harder and harder to live in California, you’re not alone.
Apr 08, 2013

States like California and New York are living off the accumulated capital of past economic freedom. Now that the political tide has turned decisively against economic freedom in those states, they are shedding people and jobs and growing more slowly than the rest of the country. Places like the Dakotas, Carolinas, Oklahoma, and Texas, which have reversed their anti-market policies of the past, represent America’s dynamic economic future.
Apr 05, 2013

People follow jobs, and jobs follow freedom. That's one of the main results from the third and much improved edition of the Mercatus Center's "Freedom in the Fifty States: Index of Personal and Economic Freedom."
Mar 28, 2013

Google's auto-complete feature has long been a source of amusement, but as a recent feature on BuzzFeed makes clear, it also says a lot about what it's like to live and work in different states in the country.
Mar 05, 2013

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced that he would assign an emergency financial manager to Detroit, stating that the city cannot feasibly pay back its $14 billion in debt and long-term liabilities. The governor asserted that local policymakers have failed to provide basic services that Michigan municipalities are required to provide their residents.

Charts

Experts

Podcasts

William Ruger | July 08, 2013
William Ruger Discusses Freedom in the 50 States on KDKA

Recent Events

Media Clippings

Matthew Mitchell | Jul 28, 2013
The Governor’s Opportunity Fund — just one of numerous economic-incentive programs operated by the state — is something like a slush fund the governor can use to “secure a business location or expansion project.”…
Eileen Norcross | Jul 11, 2012
Eileen Norcross is quoted in the guardian discussing the straining budgets of state and local governments in the U.S.
Eileen Norcross | Jun 12, 2012
Eileen Norcross discusses state budget cuts.
Antony Davies | Feb 19, 2012
Antony Davies explains why Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval's economic development plan is a step in the wrong direction.
Eileen Norcross | Jan 26, 2012
Eileen Norcross discusses public-sector pensions and their role in local government bankruptcy.
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