Budgets Will Continue to be Big Problem for States in 2012
It’s going to be another challenging year for state policymakers—education reform, rising Medicaid costs, uncertainties caused by lack of federal authorization on transportation and education programs, coupled with the ever-present problems of gaping budget holes.
“2012 promises to be a historic year for state governments,” said David Adkins, executive director/CEO of The Council of State Governments. “The relationship between states and the federal government is in transition, the impact of the economic downturn is still being felt and the mood of the citizenry is volatile.”
Last week, CSG released its annual listing of the top five issues legislators will face this session in education, energy and the environment, fiscal, health, interstate compacts and transportation. The most pressing questions facing policymakers this legislative session—like last year—most likely will center on jobs and the budget.
“Legislators are asking themselves one big question: ‘What can we do to encourage job growth right now?’” said Jennifer Burnett, research manager. “They may be contemplating overhauling business incentives and new workforce development strategies or changing regulatory systems and strengthening their infrastructure. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy that is going to work for states.
“Policymakers also are feeling uneasy about developments, or the lack of them in some instances, in the nation’s capitol and how that is going to affect state budgets. Federal funding streams for programs like education, health care and entitlement programs could be threatened by the political volatility that is going on during this election year.”
Adkins said CSG will continue its mission during these trying times to share innovative ideas and proven strategies among the states.
“We take seriously our role as a catalyst for excellence in state governance,” he said. “We work closely with leaders from all three branches of state government to share best practices and relevant information. Our goal is to help empower state leaders to make a difference for the people they serve. “
Top 5 Issues in 2012