Research / Fiscal Affairs

Policy Analysis | September 2020

Trade in the SLC Region Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Roger Moore

The COVID-19 pandemic upended global economic activity in the first quarter of 2020. Although the long-term impact of the pandemic remains unknown, the profound economic shocks experienced beginning in March, with widespread business closures and restrictions on movement, are expected to reverberate into 2021 and, possibly, beyond. In April, at the height of the pandemic, the World Trade Organization predicted that international trade could contract anywhere between 13 percent and 32 percent in 2020, as the flow of goods ground to a halt.1

By highlighting export and import data, as reported monthly by the U.S. Census Bureau, this SLC Policy Analysis depicts how the pandemic has impacted the U.S. economy. The data includes:

  1. Bi-monthly changes in imports and exports from July 2019 through January 2020;
  2. Bi-monthly changes in imports and exports from the beginning of 2020 until the most recent month for which data is available, currently July 2020; and
  3. Year-over-year changes in imports and exports during the most recent month for which data is available, currently July 2020.

Importantly, the monthly data provided by the Census Bureau only includes commodities. Exports and imports of services – such as travel and transportation, telecommunications, financial services and cultural activities, to name a few – are not included in the monthly data sets. Services account for a significant share of overall U.S. economic activity and have similarly been affected by the coronavirus-induced economic downturn.2

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SLC Fiscal Affairs and Government Operations Committee Virtual Program
Webinar | August 2020

New and Expanded Revenue Streams

Cody Allen

SLC Fiscal Affairs & Government Operations Committee Virtual Program

Presiding Officer: Representative Penny Houston, Georgia; Chair, SLC Fiscal Affairs & Government Operations Committee

As advances in technology both create new and reshape existing markets, states are looking to regulate and tax these emerging business models. These include digital streaming services, electronic goods, ridesharing services and short-term rentals, among others. With consumers shifting to embrace this new economy, and the market for digital goods and services growing exponentially, these emerging markets are replacing prior, and broadening existing, sources of state revenue. This program highlights how states' efforts to tax these new revenue sources and the economic impact these emerging markets could have on the Southern region. With the COVID-19 pandemic contributing to a significant economic downturn, supplementing existing revenues will be a necessary tool for policymakers facing possible budget reductions in fiscal year 2021 and beyond.


Brian Sigritz, Director of State Fiscal Studies, National Association of State Budget Officers, Washington, D.C.

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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Representative John Read, Mississippi

John Read


Vice Chair
Senator Kerry Roberts

Kerry Roberts


Past Chair

Penny Houston


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.

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State Fiscal and Economic Outlook

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Adult Correctional Systems, Education, Medicaid and Revenue

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State Retirement Systems: Recent Trends

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America's Public Retirement Systems: Stresses in the System

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Doing the Math: Southern State School Finance Systems

Presentation | December 2002

The Fiscal Crunch Confronting the South

Comparative Data Reports | November 2000

Adult Correctional Systems and Medicaid