This session offered both a federal and a state perspective on transportation finance and budgeting. Speakers from the U.S. Department of Transportation and New York State’s Department of Transportation took part in the forum. Jack Wells, Chief Economist for U.S. DOT, discussed America’s infrastructure needs, federal transportation programs, and what’s ahead for reauthorization and transportation finance. Stanley Gee, Acting Commissioner of the New York State DOT, gave an overview of his state’s transportation system, spoke about the current budget crisis and transportation funding crisis in the state, and discussed the painful choices being made in his department.

Newly enacted federal health care reform legislation promises to expand health insurance coverage to 30 million Americans through a variety of reforms, marketplace innovations, and Medicaid program expansions.  States are mandated partners in these policy changes and the associated budgetary obligations.

With falling revenues, unprecedented declines in state spending and a national unemployment rate hovering around 10 percent, states face limited options for deficit mitigation as they enter into what will likely be one of the worst budget years since the Great Depression. Facing combined budget gaps exceeding $130 billion over the next two years, along with significant increases in Medicaid spending, this session provided state officials with an overview of the policy responses required to enact transformational changes delivering services as well as options available for deficit mitigation.

According to a study by the Rockefeller Institute of Government, the key to states’ success in economic development is no longer just the traditional packages of tax breaks, incentives and infrastructure, but the knowledge assets they possess in the form of their educational institutions.  Economists term this “the knowledge economy” and most successful businesses will be those that depend on research, new ideas, technology and upgraded skills of their work force.

E-newsletter Issue #47 | May 27, 2010

Three is the magic number for people under stress. That’s according to risk communication expert Vincent Covello.

“People under stress process information not in terms of seven but in terms of three,” he told attendees at the first-ever Economic Summit of the States, sponsored by The Council of State Governments May 20–23. “When a person is upset, worried, anxious, that shift in the brain takes place in three messages.”