November | December 2014

 

 

 


 

Creating Jobs and Budget Cuts

karabellEconomist Zachary Karabell will discuss job creation in the U.S. during the CSG 2011 Growth & Prosperity Summit March 27.
As president of River Twice Research, where he analyzes economic and political trends, Karabell challenges common assumptions ranging from global economics to environmental sustainability. With a prolific, award-winning writing career, an illustrious background on Wall Street and a doctorate from Harvard, Karabell brings a unique perspective to the discussion of globalization, the domestic and world economy, the greening of business and the shape of things to come.
In his latest book, Sustainable Excellence: The Future of Business in a Fast-Changing World, Karabell uses his economic insight andexperience working with Global 1000 companiesto accurately and profoundly explore how today’s business landscape is changing in fundamental ways. By examining the stories of the companies who are transforming themselves by responding to these changes, Coca-Cola, Best Buy and Nike, to name a few, Sustainable Excellence makes the case for a different way of doing business—one that will define both business success and economic vitality in the 21st century.
In addition to his role as president of River Twice Research, he is also a senior adviser for Business for Social Responsibility, which advises Global 1000 corporations on how to integrate sustainability into their business practices. “Sustainability is the only way to growth,” says Karabell. “We have no choice but to move forward, and green growth is our gateway to innovation.”
The author of numerous books, including The Last Campaign: How Harry Truman Won the 1948 Election, which won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award for best nonfiction book of theyear, and Peace Be Upon You: The Story of Muslim, Christian and Jewish Coexistence, which examined the forgotten legacy ofpeace among the three faiths; The New York Times called it “enlightened and enlightening.”
Karabell is a regular contributor on CNBC and Fast Money, and is also a frequent commentatoron NBC Nightly News, CNN, FOX News andThe History Channel. Karabell regularly writesfor such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and Newsweek.
While Karabell is looking at the future of business, states are stuck very much in the here-and-now as they deal with the aftermath of the Great Recession. Current and former governors shared their insights during a panel discussion atCSG’s 2010 National Conference last December.  As we prepare for the 2011 Growth and Prosperity Summit , and as a resource to our members, including those who could not attend the National Conference, here is the original story from that session that appeared in the Dec. 6, 2010, onsite newsletter, Capitol Ideas Today.
The advice Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño gave to policymakers about how to deal with the lingering budget crisis states are facing is similar to what one might say to a toddler trying to remove a bandage from a skinned knee.
“… Do it quickly, swiftly and go as far as you need to go in year one,” he said during Sunday’s lunch session, “Preview 2011: What’s Ahead for State Government.” “Don’t stretch this pain. Just do it as quickly as you can.”
Fortuño is no stranger to fiscal pain. When he took office in 2008, he was facing a 44 percent budget gap and the state was dangerously close to having its bonds being downgraded to junk status. Through swift budget cuts across all agencies, salary reductions for even the governor and cabinet members and cuts in contracts, Puerto Rico now has a state debt that is less than 11 percent of its budget and policymakers are now looking at tax cuts.
“The people are expecting leadership,” Fortuño said. “They may not like what you’re going to do. ’09 was a very tough year for all of us, but we made the right decisions and now we’re beginning to reap the benefits of those decisions.”
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said people are expecting state governments to do what they have been doing—cut back.
“You can find 5 percent” to cut, Schweitzer said. “Businesses and families have. … Whether Democrat, Republican or unicorn, they expect all of us to deliver a more efficient government. They expect you to improve the status quo and they trust us more than Congress.”
Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri said there are many difficult issues policymakers must examine as they struggle with huge budget deficits. Even the untouchable parts of the budget—education, Medicaid and prisons—need to be looked at. Legislators also need to examine the state pension system—like Rhode Island has done in the past year—and retiree health care.
“You have no choice,” Carcieri said. “Why do I say you have no choice? When you look at the citizens in most of your states, most of them don’t enjoy the same level of pay, same level of pension and same level of health care. It’s all about an equity issue. You’ve got to bring all your benefits in line with the private sector.”
Former Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer said legislators should look at the budget process in a new light. Policy should drive the budget, he said.
“Understand the budget first of all by priority, and second by how you would direct policy through the budget,” Geringer said. “That’s your greatest opportunity to direct policy. The legislature controls the purse strings. … How you spend is much more important than how much you spend.”

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