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 Some chambers have tackled enormous hurdles, such as leading the charge to modernize Chicago’s outdated electricity grid.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: energy efficiency, green, green chambers, Chambers as Change Agents, Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, CICE, clean energy
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: defense cuts, sequester, sequester charts, spending cuts, what you need to know about the sequester
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: 2013 State of the States, State of the States, Stateline
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: Obamacare, public policy, state budget, ACA, Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, Medicaid Expansion
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
Getting to the Core in Coeur d’Alene
Ian Scott on Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
Coeur d'Alene, the name shared by a lake, town and hotel, is the premier destination in Idaho's northern panhandle. It's hard to spell but easy to love. The shimmering waters and glowing sunsets make you want to sink in to a deck chair and ponder existence for a couple of days. But, that's not why I was there.
I made the trip to join CEOs and senior staff from statewide chambers of commerce and business associations from across the country. While seminars from the Pew Center on the States’ Results First campaign and BIPAC were conference highlights, the emerging impact of independent expenditures in state elections fueled the most discussion, both during and after hours.
Two days with this group reaffirmed something I've long known: business organizations looking to improve the quality and effectiveness of their communications, particularly political messages, should benchmark against state chambers.
The samples exchanged this week are too good not to share. Here are a few you should check out:
- Kentucky Chamber - Ready for Jobs?
Rankings-focused, data rich brochure examines how Kentucky stacks up as a place to do business based on 8 key policy and business climate areas.
- Florida Chamber – Free Enterprise and Fairness
There's no subtlety obscuring this video's message about public employee unions, it's just one example of bold politics from the Florida Chamber.
- North Carolina Chamber - NC Jobs Wins
Trifold flyer highlights legislative victories over the past biennium and outlines priorities for 2013.
- Association of Washington Business - Challenges and Opportunities
Flyer succinctly tells the story of the manufacturing sector's economic impact and policy priorities.
Congress May Kill the American Community Survey
Chaaron Pearson on Monday, May 14, 2012 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
What does this mean for business?
Under pressure to cut spending, the House voted to kill the American Community Survey (ACS), which collects data on approximately 3 million households each year. The data helps determine where federal and state funds are spent; businesses use the data for marketing and expansion decisions.
The US Chamber is advocating that the Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis continue to be funded because their members rely so heavily on the information generated by these agencies. Tom Beers, executive director of the National Association of Business Economists, argues that without good economic data, businesses are forced to play a guessing game with the economy.
The ACS is also finding friends at the Cato Institute, American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Phillip Swagel, an economist at AEI, says this data is important for an accurate picture of the economy and that funding the ACS shouldn’t be a political issue.
To read more: Bloomberg Businessweek: Killing the American Community Survey Blinds Business
The Democrat Who Took on the Unions
Chaaron Pearson on Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 9:00:00 am Comments (0)
Gina Raimondo, Rhode Island’s Democratic state treasurer, has overhauled the state pension system and isn’t making friends with the unions.
The former venture capitalist says, “A government that doesn’t work is in no one’s interest…I don’t really care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat or you want to fight about the size of government. How about a government that just works? Put your tax dollar in and get a return out the other end.”
State pensions were a huge problem in Rhode Island because there are more retirees collecting pensions than workers paying into the system. Read more about Ms. Raimondo and her reforms: March 25 Wall Street Journal Weekend Interview