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.”

E-newsletter Issue #47 | May 27, 2010

Facing budget cuts and dwindling funds to build roads and bridges, the New York State Department of Transportation was forced to close a bridge in the North Country, one that connects New York and Vermont.  The old bridge in the Adirondacks was no longer safe for travel.