Pew Releases New Report on the Fiscal Health of States
Carmen Hickerson on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
“More than four years after the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, states’ financial conditions are improving, but most have yet to get back to where they were on some key measures of fiscal health.” That’s the headline from a report just completed by the Pew Charitable Trust. Fiscal 50: State Trends and Analysis examined data from all 50 states and its analysis determined that state governments still face additional difficulties that could set them back even as the economy picks up.
The fiscal health of state governments is important to the interests of chambers of commerce for many reasons. As states continue to struggle to fund critical services such as health care for the needy, basic education, transportation and public safety, they are not able to invest in more long-term strategies, and there is additional pressure to find new sources of revenue.
Further, state finances matter because of their impact on the U.S. economy. State spending accounts for 4 percent of the nation’s economic output, and states provide about one-third of local governments’ budgets.
While the report finds that some measures are moving in the right direction, unavoidable pressures loom and could slow further recovery. One hurdle is the burden of unfunded pension and retiree health care costs for public workers. Another challenge is the prospect of more federal budget cuts—coming after a period in which federal dollars made up a bigger share of overall state revenue than at any time in at least 50 years.
Pew’s Fiscal 50 identifies five core areas that contribute to states’ fiscal health: Revenue, Spending, Economy and People, Long-term Costs, and Fiscal Policy. Within this framework, Pew highlights trends, makes 50-state comparisons, and provides unique insights into significant fiscal, economic, and demographic indicators that influence state finances.
For most indicators, Fiscal 50 allows users to compare their state to others and to a national benchmark, providing insights and perhaps raising questions in state capitals about why states lead or lag behind their peers. This resource will be updated when new data are available, and additional indicators and further analysis will be added.
Click here to access the full interactive report. For questions or more information, contact Sarah Leiseca, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.540.6369.
Chamber Forced To Drop Statewide Health Insurance Offering
Tania Kohut on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Last week, Insurance Journal reported that the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber “will no longer provide a health insurance offering that 1,400 companies in the state have been using.”
According to the news item, the chamber said that “its group plan does not meet the requirements of the federal health overhaul law.”\
In an article in The Oklahoman, chamber President Roy Williams said that having to end the program is “very, very unsettling.”
“It was a good program, otherwise 1,400 companies wouldn’t be on it,” Williams remarked.
Read more here.
Erksine Bowles and Fix the Debt
Chaaron Pearson on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
A huge thank you to the State Chamber Policy Center for allowing ACCE's Government Relations Division to participate on Tuesday's call with Erskine Bowles. If you were unable to join the conversation, please review the links below for more information.
From the State Policy Center:
The Policy Center would like to thank Erskine Bowles and the Fix the Debt campaign for speaking to our members on Tuesday regarding the long-term federal debt and how to get our fiscal outlook under control. In April, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson released “A Bipartisan Path Forward to Securing America's Future” (download the summary or full report). They describe their report as “not our ideal plan, it is not the perfect plan, and it is certainly not the only plan. It is an effort to show both sides that a deal is possible; a deal where neither side compromises their principles but instead relies on principled compromise. Such a deal would invigorate our economy and demonstrate to the public that Washington can solve problems, and leave a better future for our grandchildren.” For more information see the two-page summary (pdf) of what Fix the Debt is calling for from the upcoming budget conference committee and an op-ed published in the Washington Post.
The Fix the Debt campaign now has chapters in all 50 states.
Tags: GR Division, peer to peer, State Chamber Policy Center, Erskine Bowles, fix the debt, government relations
CICE REPORT: Local Chambers as Change Agents
Chaaron Pearson on Friday, May 17, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy has released a first-of-its-kind report, revealing that local chambers of commerce have emerged as unexpected catalysts of clean energy innovation and growth throughout the country.
Local Chambers as Change Agents: Creating Economic Vitality through Clean Energy and Innovation provides the first comprehensive look into local chambers’ roles in attracting investment, improving business competitiveness, and diversifying their local economies around clean energy and energy efficiency.
CICE surveyed hundreds of local chambers nationwide, developing case studies of chambers in Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Texas, Utah, Tennessee, Michigan, Massachusetts, and California. Highlights include the Asheville (NC) and Salt Lake (UT) chambers, which collectively saved their manufacturers and shippers more than 10 million gallons of fuel, and the Cleveland Chamber, which saved businesses more than $13.4 million in 2012 through energy efficiency.
The foreword of the report notes:
Today, it’s only natural that these local chambers of commerce are using all of their formidable assets to help businesses and communities meet shared challenges in our energy landscape: a slowly recovering economy, volatile energy prices, global competition in manufacturing and technology development, and aging electric grids. Time and again, clean energy has proven to be a practical and profitable solution for these chambers and their member companies.
As you will see in this pioneering report, local chambers throughout America are becoming unprecedented clean energy and innovation leaders. Some chambers have tackled enormous hurdles, such as leading the charge to modernize Chicago’s outdated electricity grid. Some have focused on increasing energy efficiency on a company-by-company basis, providing consulting to small businesses in places like Cleveland, Ohio, and Bartlett, Tennessee. Still others have sought to attract investment in renewable energy infrastructure and in the manufacture of new clean energy technologies
Read the complete report here
Tags: clean energy, energy efficiency, green, green chambers, Chambers as Change Agents, Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, CICE
Chaaron Pearson on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Sequestration, government speak for automatic budget cuts, takes effect today. Here’s what you need to know:
Stateline: Automatic defense cuts will deal blow to states
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has been the face of concern among state officials as automatic cuts in the federal budget begin today. Virginia is particularly vulnerable as it is home to many defense contractors, the Pentagon and the nation’s largest naval base.
Politico: Sequestration: So now what?
Sequestration officially starts Friday when the Office of Management and Budget issues a notice ordering agencies to make cuts of about 9 percent for most nondefense programs and about 13 percent for defense programs.
Washington Post WonkBlog: This is what sequestration looks like
The Bipartisan Policy Center put out a chart this summer on how the sequester would work. It shows what cuts each government program could face.
Washington Post WonkBlog: The states most and least affected by the sequester, in one chart
The Pew Center on the States has measured each state’s exposure to the sequester by calculating federal aid subject to the sequester as a percentage of the state’s total GDP.
Tags: sequester, sequester charts, spending cuts, what you need to know about the sequester, defense cuts
Stateline 2013 State of the States
Chaaron Pearson on Monday, February 4, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Stateline recently released its 13th annual State of the States looking at what key issues legislatures are debating this year.
Part One: Politics
This was the year of big majorities in state houses.
Part Two: Budgets
States are climbing out of their budget deficits, but Washington’s budget woes might dampen the rebound.
Part Three: Social Issues
States are moving faster than Washington on social issues.
Part Four: Environment
The nation is still recovering from 2012’s natural disasters and the forecast for 2013 doesn’t look much better.
Part Five: Health Care
The Affordable Care Act will bring the U.S. closer than ever to universal health insurance. Just how close it gets will be up to individual states.
Tags: State of the States, Stateline, 2013 State of the States
For Your Members: Unconstitutional NLRB Recess Appointments
Chaaron Pearson on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 8:00:00 am Comments (0)
As you may know, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in Noel Canning v. NLRB that three members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) were unlawfully appointed in January 2012, and the NLRB therefore lacked a quorum to conduct official business. Small businesses may have NLRB matters pending or recently decided that may be affected by the Noel Canning decision. In some cases, employers must act fast to benefit from the decision. Here is a memorandum of the potential effects of the decision prepared by the law firm that successfully argued the case on behalf of the U.S. Chamber and Noel Canning.
Big business gets involved with corrections reform
Chaaron Pearson on Friday, February 1, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
The Texas Association of Business (TAB) has decided to make criminal justice reform a key focus of its legislative priorities. TAB is pushing to expand evidenced-based rehabilitation and corrections programs, reduce drug sentencing laws and modify some state licensing laws.
TAB President Bill Hammond says: “We’re sending too many people to the slammer. The taxpayers and the business community are both being harmed.”
The move is a part of a recent national trend favoring corrections reform, but TAB’s new role could be the biggest that business has played yet. TAB admits it lacks criminal justice expertise, but it favors “good public policy” and believes reforms to the current corrections system will help it stay competitive.
Read more: Big-business lobby enters fray on criminal justice reforms
ACCE corrections reform resources:
Chamberpedia: Corrections Reform
Chamber Executive: Pitching Evidence Based Policy: Getting More Bang From Your State’s Buck
Chaaron Pearson on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
At the start of 2014, Medicaid is to be expanded due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to people with incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. That expansion was expected to take in approximately 16 million uninsured people nationwide.
However, the Supreme Court’s ruling allows states to opt-out of the expansion. Thus, many governors across the country have said that their state will not expand Medicaid coverage as outlined in the ACA. This also means that those states will not be receiving the federal dollars tied to the expansion, as states that agree to the Medicaid expansion will have 100 percent of the costs paid by the federal government for the first three years.
Fiscal concern begins after the first three years when states are expected to shoulder up to 10 percent of the costs. Those increased expenses in that fourth year and beyond could strain already costly Medicaid programs.
Chambers will be watching this issue closely as the time comes for state legislatures weigh in on the issue. Join the conversation about Medicaid expansion at the next Government Relations division call on January 15, 2013. Details found at acce.org.
For a snapshot across the country, visit advisory.com’s map of Medicaid positions.
To read more about ACAs impact on Medicaid, visit Medicaid.gov
Stateline.org has a number of articles about Medicaid expansion:
Court Lets States Opt out of Medicaid Expansion
For Some States Medicaid Expansion May be a Tough Fiscal Call
Obama Win Means Big Health Care Decisions for States
Tags: Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, Medicaid Expansion, Obamacare, public policy, state budget, ACA
Everything You Need to Know About the Fiscal Cliff
Chaaron Pearson on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Now that the presidential election dust has settled, Congress has reconvened to discuss the fiscal cliff. Here are some comprehensive explanations about what the fiscal cliff is and what could happen if we go off it.
WP WonkBlog: Everything you need to know about the fiscal cliff in one post
Dylan Matthews of the Washington Post WonkBlog explains what it is, how big it is, when it will happen, what will happen to the economy, and what could stop it.
Council of State Chambers, State Chamber Policy Center
A new report by Inforum/University of Maryland, Fiscal Shock: America’s Economic Crisis, finds that the U.S. already is struggling due to Washington’s failure to address the fiscal cliff. The Pew Center on the States is finalizing a report that will evaluate the cliff’s impact on states, looking both at the effect of sequestration on revenue sharing and the expiration of dozens of temporary federal tax provisions on state tax systems. That report is expected in December.
Ron Haskins, co-director of the Center on Children and Families and Budgeting for National Priorities Project at the Brookings Institution, authored an interesting opinion piece: The Fiscal Cliff: Predictable, Reprehensible, but Still Avoidable.
Tags: Fiscal Cliff, Policy, Public Policy, State Chamber Policy Center, WonkBlog, Brookings Institute, Congress, COSC, Council of State Chambers