New CSG Committee Takes on Fiscal,
Economic Development Challenges
By Jennifer Burnett, Program Manager, Fiscal and Economic Development Policy
The tough fiscal and economic climate of the past several years has been challenging for state policymakers across the country, although the outlook is beginning to improve as states slowly move closer to pre-recession levels of revenues and employment.
To help better inform state leaders in this key policy area, The Council of State Governments’ new Fiscal and Economic Development Public Policy Committee will meet for the first time Sunday, Sept. 22, during the 2013 CSG National Conference in Kansas City, Mo.
Co-chairs Kansas Sen. Jay Emler and Hawaii Rep. Kyle Yamashita will lead the group in the inaugural meeting as members discuss recent fiscal trends and economic development officials share new approaches to encouraging growth in their states.
“I am excited to co-chair this committee with Rep. Yamashita and I look forward to this first meeting, where we will learn more about innovative economic development practices in our member states,” said Emler, the 2012 CSG chairman.
While this is the first time the policy committee will meet, CSG’s efforts to engage members on the topic of economic development have been gearing up for the past year through the 2012 Chairman’s Initiative. The initiative, headed up by Emler, brought together a working group—comprised of state legislators from across the country, state economic development agency officials and private sector members representing a diverse set of perspectives—to discuss the use of business incentives by states as a means to create jobs and economic opportunities.
A final report from the group highlighting recommendations and observations will be released at the session, “Economic Prosperity after the Recession.”
Members of the working group, including co-chairs Emler and Yamashita, Gynii Gilliam, chief economic development officer for the Idaho Department of Commerce; and Richard Leadbeater, Global Solutions manager for Esri, Inc., will present the report and lead a discussion on how the product can become a starting place for conversations about development policies and best practices. They’ll be joined on the panel by Connecticut State Comptroller Kevin Lembo; and D. Keith Meyers, director of training services at the Kansas Department of Commerce.
“It is our desire that this document not become one of those reports that sits gathering dust on some shelf,” said Emler. “The working group hopes legislators, economic development practitioners and private sector companies make this a living document that provides guidance to everyone and helps to advance all economic development.”
In addition to the report, a new feature is being added to CSG’s Knowledge Center, the State Business Incentives Tracker. It will track news in the area of state business incentives, including stories about new deals being struck across the states, state reforms and new and emerging research on state incentive programs.