The Council of State Governments - WEST


October 15, 2013

In This Issue
Some States Take Action to Keep National Parks Open
State Business Incentives
Supreme Court Preview Webinar
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Some States Take action to Keep National Parks Open

By: Hans Poschman, CSG-WEST 



With the Federal government shut down, states are taking action to maintain services to citizens and to reopen their national parks.  For many communities near national parks such as the Grand Canyon tourism supports their local economy. With the parks closed these communities were already feeling the pinch from the lack of tourism dollars.


Some iconic national parks have begun to reopen after states stepped up to fund their operations. The Grand Canyon, Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, and Rocky Mountain National Park are just some of the parks that have been reopened in the last few days after the Department of Interior reversed course to allow states to fund park operations during the shutdown. However, many  of the 401 National Parks remain closed. Iconic parks across the West such as Yosemite, Denali, Crater Lakes, and Yellowstone are all closed to visitors.


On Saturday the Grand Canyon reopened after Arizona Governor Brewer's administration negotiated a deal to pay $93,000 a day to reopen the park. The state plans to use a mixture of state funds and funds donated by Tusayan businesses to pay for opening the park for one week.  In neighboring Utah, Governor Gary Herbert negotiated a deal to pay $1.7 million to keep five parks and three national monuments open for 10 days. Governor Herbert also called a special session of the legislature to get authorization for additional funding to keep the parks open longer if necessary.  Colorado Governor Hickenlooper will provide $362,700 in state cash to bring furloughed National Park Service employees back to work for 10 days at Rocky Mountain National Park.


Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Nevada, California, and Wyoming have said that they do not plan to use state funds to reopen the shuttered national parks. It is unclear if states will be reimbursed for the cost of operating the National Parks when the government reopens. However, many states have indicated that they will seek reimbursement for the costs. 


Additional Reading:


Gov. Jan Brewer reaches deal to reopen Grand Canyon


Utah will hold special session to keep parks open


Colorado kicks in $362,700 to reopen Rocky Mountain National Park 


Statue of Liberty Reopens as Other Sites Stay Closed

State Business Incentives

Each year, states spend billions of dollars on tax and financial incentives with the hope of spurring job growth. Research suggests incentives have increased in both frequency of use and size over the past 40 years, with some deals worth over $1 billion each. In addition, some states are using incentives to engage in a bidding war with other states, offering increasingly lucrative deals for existing companies to relocate from one state to another.


Despite the big price tag, state policymakers are often in the dark about what those incentives actually cost and how well they are working to achieve the state's economic development goals. These concerns led to the creation of a national working group on economic development, led by 2012 CSG Chair Kansas Sen. Jay Emler as part of his Chair's Initiative. This report is the culmination of the work of that group and provides a background into the current use of business incentives by states, as well as key observations of the group.

Download the Report


Other Resources:


Trends in Western State Business Incentives


Taking a New Look at State Business Incentives


State Business Incentives Tracker


Supreme Court Preview Webinar


Tuesday, October 22, 1-2:30 p.m. EDT

Register Now!


The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing numerous cases of interest to state and local governments during its October term involving issues such as prayer at a town board meeting, banning affirmative action at public universities and buffer zones surrounding reproductive health clinics. Join Tom Hungar of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, who will argue the prayer case; Kannon Shanmugam, lead attorney for Williams & Connolly LLP's Supreme Court and appellate litigation practice; and David Savage, Los Angeles Times Supreme Court correspondent, in a discussion of the significant Supreme Court cases affecting state and local governments hosted by the State and Local Legal Center. 




Tom Hungar
Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP  


Kannon Shanmugam

Partner, Williams & Connolly LLP


David Savage

Supreme Court correspondent, Los Angeles Times


 Register Now!

The mission of CSG-WEST is to facilitate regional, nonpartisan cooperation and exchange of information, and to strengthen legislative institutions among our 13 member states. These services are achieved through a variety of programs and services offered to legislators and their staff, including the convening of policy forums, professional development training, international relations opportunities, publications and institutional links with other political entities in the West.

CSG-WEST serves the Western legislatures of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Associate members include the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia and the Pacific islands of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam.