2012 CSG National Conference

Attendees learned the basics of using Facebook and Twitter, and had their individual questions answered.  Protecting your privacy when using these ever-evolving tools was stressed, and attendees received hands-on assistance with their existing accounts or in creating new accounts.

While state revenues are rebounding from the Great Recession, the budget situation in many states is still volatile. States also continue to grapple with devising strategies to enhance the funding position of their public pension plans. Attendees heard fiscal experts describe policy options available to state policymakers to help smooth out the unevenness in state revenue inflows and evaluate efforts to bolster public pension plans.

The American economy stands at the edge of a precipice created by expiring tax cuts and a host of spending reductions that could collectively shave $600 billion from the U.S. gross domestic product next year. This session featured a presentation and discussion led by Barry Anderson, deputy executive director of the National Governors Association, on the potential impact of the fiscal cliff and the prospects for congressional action to forestall it. Anderson previously served as acting director of the Congressional Budget Office, as well as in senior leadership roles in the Office of Management and Budget, the International Monetary Fund, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The siting of interstate electricity transmission lines has long been a problem for both states and the federal government. With the expected growth in electricity demand—combined with the need to bring renewable energy to market and the necessity to enhance and secure the nation’s energy infrastructure—the need for added transmission capacity in the United States has never been more critical. Attendees learned more about a member-driven initiative aimed at improving the siting process through common applications, pre-determined timelines and coordinated publichearings during this session. This new compact will be ready for legislative introduction beginning in 2013. Subject matter experts discussed the need for the compact, the development process and specific areas covered by the new interstate agreement.

Economic integration between neighboring states and nations is no longer a looming probability; it’s a global reality. Participants learned how their state’s small and medium-sized businesses can compete and thrive through innovative approaches from Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño, CSG’s current president, and Canadian Ambassador and former Manitoba Premier Gary Doer. Both Fortuño and Doer are leaders in finding ways to develop short- and long-term economic progress and in developing solutions to help American businesses compete in the new global economy.