Capitol Comments

According to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, average gas prices in January 2015 are at the lowest point in over 5 years and are on track to dip below $2 a gallon by February 2015. Missouri has the lowest average gas price of any state at $1.77 per gallon while Alaska ($2.81) and Hawaii ($3.31) have the highest prices.

Jennifer Burnett, Program Manager for Fiscal and Economic Development Policy, outlines the top five issues in fiscal and economic development policy for 2015,  including job creations strategies, state innovations in health care spending, public pension solvency, and federal funding uncertainty. 

The 2014 midterm elections ushered in a Republican majority in both houses of Congress, which sets the stage for a more fiscally conservative approach in the federal government and increases the likelihood for the kind of political showdowns that led to the government shutdown in 2013. States will be faced with tightened federal purse strings and political instability; that could shift costs for some programs to states and localities.

See more: Top 5 Fiscal and Economic Development Trends for 2015

States have emerged from the recent fiscal crisis, but with recovery comes a set of new questions about fiscal direction: Should we shore up our savings or restore spending? State leaders in 2015 will be struggling with how to restore funding in critical areas cut during the downturn while making sure they have the resources to weather the next storm that comes along.

See more: Top 5 Fiscal and Economic Development Trends for 2015

The post-recession economic recovery has been slow and painful, but states are finally starting to see some real progress as the national unemployment rate falls below 6 percent for the first time in six years. Now that the worst of the economic crisis has abated, state leaders in 2015 will be looking for ways to encourage job creation that is more than just moving the statistical needle.

See more: Top 5 Fiscal and Economic Development Trends for 2015