The State of the States


Edited by: Carl E. Van Horn

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    To my wife, Christy Van Horn, who shares my enthusiasm for the art and science of politics and government

    Tables and Figures

    • 4-1 Governors' Institutional Powers 61
    • 4-2 Gubernatorial Elections, 1970–2004 66
    • 4-3 Job Approval Ratings of Current Governors, Mid-2005 69
    • 4-4 Gubernatorial Election Expenditures, 1977–2004 71
    • 7-1 State Government Expenditures, Fiscal Year 2003 125
    • 7-2 State General Fund Revenues, Fiscal Year 2003 126
    • 7-3 Casino Tax Revenue by State, 2004 130
    • 8-1 Economic and Racial/Ethnic Make-up of the States 144
    • 8-2 Educational Expenditures per Pupil and Revenues by Source and State, 2001–2002 160
    • 9-1 Welfare Caseloads and Benefit Levels, by State 169
    • 9-2 Use of TANF and Maintenance of Effort Funds, Fiscal Year 2003 184
    • 10-1 Essential Public Health Services 193
    • 10-2 Medicaid Expenditures by Type of Service, Fiscal Year 2003 198
    • 10-3 Summary of Coverage under Federal Medicaid Rules 199
    • 10-4 State Medicaid Cost Containment Strategies, Fiscal Years 2002–2004 209
    • 9-1 Families on Welfare 172
    • 10-1 Health Insurance Coverage of the Non-elderly, by Source of Coverage and Federal Poverty Level, 2003 200


    If state governments are the “laboratories” of democracy, as Supreme Court justice Louis D. Brandeis wrote, they have been working overtime to produce wide-ranging policy innovations that influence the lives of all Americans. States are making and implementing laws on a variety of consequential and controversial subjects, such as embryonic stem cell research, the right to die, gay marriage, and homeland security.

    States are not only innovators. Since the founding of the Republic, state governments have been central to the education of children, the building of roads and bridges, the economic development of communities, and the provision of public health and safety. As federal government policymakers authorized new initiatives to help the poor or regulations to clean up the environment, states were asked to take on even more tasks.

    Given the critical importance of state government to the public life of the nation, state politics and public policy have become vital subjects for scholars and should be on the “must know” list for all college and university students studying political science, public policy, and public administration.

    The State of the States, fourth edition, with clear, concise, and lively chapters by leading scholars of state government and politics, provides comprehensive coverage of politics, political institutions, and public policy in the states. Each chapter describes, analyzes, and explains trends of the past thirty years and looks at new challenges facing state governments at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

    Chapters on governors, legislatures, courts, bureaucracies, and campaigns and elections examine the transformation of state political institutions. Chapters on fiscal policy and the states' roles in providing education, welfare for low-income citizens, and health care for the poor and elderly reveal contemporary policy developments.


    I wish to express my appreciation to several individuals who helped me prepare the fourth edition. Melissa Qualls and Scott Reynolds at the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development provided helpful research assistance. Working again with CQ Press was a pleasure. Charisse Kiino and Colleen Ganey helped me through the revision and made many valuable suggestions—as did the reviewers for the fourth edition: Scott Allard (Brown University), Jeffrey D. Greene (University of Montana), Jay Barth (Hendrix College), and Patricia K. Freeland (University of Tennessee). Joanne S. Ainsworth provided excellent editorial guidance, and Belinda Josey kept the production process running smoothly.


    Lawrence Baum is professor of political science at Ohio State University. He is the author of The Supreme Court, 8th ed. (CQ Press, 2004) and American Courts, 5th ed. (2001). Topics of his research include judicial behavior and elections.

    Thad L. Beyle is professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has worked in the North Carolina governor's office and the National Governors Association.

    Joel C. Cantor, Sc.D., is director of the Center for State Health Policy and professor of public policy at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. His research currently focuses on state regulation of health insurance and hospitals; racial disparities in access to health care; and the supply of physician services. He received his doctorate in health policy and management from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in 1988.

    Henry A. Coleman is professor of public policy at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. He served as executive director of New Jersey's State and Local Expenditure and Revenue Policy Commission and as a senior adviser in the governor's policy office. He has also worked in the federal government at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Government Accountability Office (GAO—formerly the General Accounting Office), and the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR).

    Kenneth Dautrich is chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of Connecticut. His research focuses on public opinion, the media, and voting. His most recent book is The First Amendment and the Media in the Court of Public Opinion (2002) with David A. Yalof.

    Margaret E. Goertz is professor in the Graduate School of Education and co-director of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education at the University of Pennsylvania. She specializes in the research of state and federal education policy and school finance.

    William T. Gormley Jr. is professor of public policy and government and co-director of the Center for Research on Children in the U.S. (CROCUS) at Georgetown University. He is the author of several books, including Bureaucracy and Democracy: Accountability and Performance with Steven Balla (CQ Press, 2004).

    Irene Lurie is professor of public administration and policy in the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She has analyzed welfare policy for many years and recently studied the implementation of TANF by frontline workers in four states.

    Alan Rosenthal is professor of public policy and political science at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. He has worked with legislatures throughout the country. His latest book is Heavy Lifting: The Job of the American Legislature (CQ Press, 2005).

    Carl E. Van Horn is professor of public policy and political science at the Eagleton Institute of Politics and chair of the Department of Public Policy at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. From 1990 to 1992 he was the director of policy in New Jersey's office of the governor.

    David A. Yalof is an associate professor of political science at the University of Connecticut. His first book, Pursuit of Justices: Presidential Politics and the Selection of Supreme Court Nominees (1999), won the American Political Science Association's Richard E. Neustadt Award as the best book published on presidential studies in 1999. Yalof has written extensively on issues in constitutional law and Supreme Court politics. His work has been published in Political Research Quarterly, Judicature, Constitutional Commentary, and Presidential Studies Quarterly, among other journals.

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