Capitol Comments

Early learning, K-12 education and postsecondary education all combine to create competent graduates ready for 21st century jobs.  Highly-skilled workers lead to prosperity for states in the new economy.  Institutions can't wait until high school to begin preparing students for the future, whether it be technical school, college or straight into a career.

State policymakers play a critical role through funding strategies and policy decisions in developing a competent work force.  Join us on Wednesday, April 13 at 1:00 p.m...

Three leaders in health will present during CSG's Virtual Summit 2.0 on Wednesday, April 13, at 3PM. The session, entitled "Encouraging American Innovation & Competing in a Global Economy – Health Care,"  will explore the policies state leaders can adopt to ensure that their states are fertile ground for high-tech companies.

From their viewpoints as private sector leaders, panelists will explore the policies states can adopt to help ensure innovative companies stay in place and thrive, as well as to attract...


Creating a Culture of Entrepreneurship:  Live Webinar, Tuesday, April 12, 3 p.m. EDT

Despite the Great Recession and its impacts on big business, the entrepreneur has been hard at work creating new opportunities as well as jobs. A quick glance at new start-ups data from the Kauffman Foundation shows new businesses being created at an increased rate over each of the last five years. Admittedly many of these new businesses may have been created by those who may have lost jobs in the economic downturn, but it may likewise hint at an increasing trend present in state economic development policies: the overt drive to create a culture of entrepreneurship.

The fairness of charging motorists a mileage fee to help pay for road repairs… The state of the nation’s bridges… The economic impact of the transportation construction industry… How to win public support for road pricing... The keys to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from freight transportation... All are the subjects of recent reports and studies. Here’s a roundup of those reports, along with an update on public-private partnerships.

Here’s one of those instances in which what I do hits close to home. In the latest issue of Capitol Ideas and a recent blog post, I wrote about how a number of states are following the lead of Missouri in employing a relatively new type of traffic interchange called the diverging diamond or double crossover diamond interchange to improve safety and reduce congestion. The interchanges can be built in less time and at a lower cost than other types of interchanges. Now, it appears I may soon get to see firsthand how the diamond works. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Kentucky transportation officials announced this week that they plan to reconfigure a Lexington intersection that is part of my daily commute using the diamond model.

Vermont's House of Representatives approved a bill put forward by Governor Peter Shumlin that would create a single payer health care system in that state. The Senate is expected to approve the bill as well.

Gov. Shumlin said it would make Vermont "the first state in the country to make the first substantive step to deliver a health care system where health care will be a right and not a privilege, where health care will follow the individual, not be a requirement of the employer, and where we’ll have an affordable...

Perception is reality. Regardless of the degree to which teachers are or are not solely responsible for the quality of education and the level of student achievement in their classes, they have become targets for quick-fixes in school reform.

State officials are weighing in on the future of nuclear power in the United States as Japan struggles to control its nuclear reactors in the wake of last week’s massive earthquake in that country. Despite an increasing need to find energy alternatives here at home, some believe the Japan crisis may make additional delays in the construction of new nuclear reactors or relicensing of old ones in this country a possibility. Here’s a rundown of media reports on how the nuclear power issue is being raised in various state capitals.

It was nearly one year ago when I met with an official from the U.S. Department of Education for an informal discussion of a variety of education initiatives, including reauthorization of the Elementary  and Secondary Education Act, better known as “No Child Left Behind.” At that time, I was assured the U.S. DOE was confident that Congress would vote on the reauthorization sometime in 2010.

One year and a new Congress later, any progress (if it has occurred) can be measured only incrementally.

A new analysis by CSG of enhanced Medicaid match rates under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act found that the average state will lose 21 cents in federal funding for every dollar the state puts towards paying Medicaid bills beginning April 1. This decrease follows on the heels of a 37-cent loss states suffered on Jan. 1.

The report looks at the value of the Recovery Act enhanced Medicaid match to states from 2009 through this year. CSG calculates the match in an easy to understand manner: for every dollar a state...