The State Policy Network (SPN) is a U.S. national network of free-market oriented think tanks focused on individual U.S. states. SPN is based in Arlington, Virginia.
SPN was founded in 1992 by Thomas A. Roe, a South Carolina businessman and Republican Party activist who also served as a member of the board of trustees of the Heritage Foundation and had in 1986 founded the South Carolina Policy Council, now an SPN member group. Roe was concerned that the program of "New Federalism" fostered under President Ronald Reagan had transferred powers and resources to state-level bureaucrats who "weren’t necessarily better than" their federal government counterparts. In conversation, he told Reagan that he thought each of the states needed something like the Heritage Foundation. Reagan's reply reportedly was “Do something about it,” which led Roe to establish first the South Carolina Policy Council] and later the State Policy Network. The network was an outgrowth of the Madison Group, a collection of state-level think tanks in states including South Carolina, Colorado, Illinois, and Michigan that had been meeting periodically at the Madison Hotel in Washington, DC.
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