Andy Karellas

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In today’s data-driven environment, nearly every program and initiative is analyzed to determine its effectiveness and overall return on investment. In September, the State International Development Organizations, or SIDO, an affiliate of The Council of State Governments, issued a report on performance metrics for international trade programs.

“This best practice report will help federal and state policymakers better understand the role of state international trade programs and how to measure them,” David Mathe, export director for the state of Delaware and SIDO president, wrote in the report’s foreword.

On Sept. 19, the U.S. Small Business Administration, or SBA, awarded $18 million in funds to 47 states through the State Trade Expansion Program, or STEP, to help support and increase exporting from small businesses. The STEP grant program has been a vital resource to help states increase the number of companies that export, and thus grow their economies.

Exports from the United States account for nearly 13 percent of the gross domestic product and support millions of direct and in-direct jobs. Moreover, firms that export are more diversified and pay 15-20 percent higher wages on average than their nonexporting competitors.

On June 21, 2018 the White House unveiled a proposal to reform and reorganize various federal agencies. The Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century report proposed merging the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education into one new agency, the U.S. Department of Education and Workforce, or the DEW.

The proposal is result of the directive from Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, to identify and streamline duplicative federal offices and programs.

“They’re [U.S. departments of Labor and Education] doing the same thing, Mulvaney stated during the announcement. “They’re trying to get people ready for the workforce—sometimes it’s education, sometimes it’s vocational training—but all doing the same thing, so why not put them in the same place?”

When the federal government issues regulations or passes legislation without proper consultation with state leaders, state priorities may be adversely impacted and problems result. An active and lively federalism requires greater interaction and cooperation between federal policymakers and states to assure the state’s needs and goals are met. The Intergovernmental Affairs Committee will take an in-depth look at how states and the federal government work together during the policymaking process, and will examine what effective “consultation” should look like.

International trade and investments from foreign nations are major contributors to the United States economy and help support millions of good-paying jobs throughout state and local communities. In today’s global economy, it is imperative that state and local governments play a leading role in coordinating and developing an international trade and investment strategy that gets their community ready to engage and compete in the global marketplace. This session will highlight how state leaders can further engage in international trade, including trade policy and trade promotion.

The U.S. Senate will begin full consideration this week on its version of the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee, two weeks after the House passed its final version of the massive defense policy bill.

Since 1963, every U.S. president has set aside a week to highlight the importance of small businesses and to recognize their accomplishments through innovation and growth. This year was no different. On April 29, President Barack Obama declared May 1-7 as National Small Business Week, an annual event organized by the U.S. Small Business Administration, or SBA

CSG Director of Federal Affairs Andy Karellas outlines the top five issues in international policy for 2016, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), export promotion and economic development, global cybersecurity, attracting foreign investment, and global humanitarian crisis.

CSG Director of Federal Affairs Andy Karellas outlines the top five issues in federal affairs policy for 2016, including fiscal uncertainty, federal regulations and intergovernmental coordination, unfunded mandates, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. 

Congress finished 2015 on an unusually productive streak – at least compared to recent years – by passing a variety of legislation important to state governments, including funding the highway trust fund, reforming the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now called the Every Student Succeeds Act), reauthorizing the highly debated Export-Import Bank, extending a variety of tax incentive provisions, and funding the federal government through September 2016.  Going into a presidential election year, many experts do not expect Congress to act on major policy initiatives before November, and are closely watching what President Obama will do in his final year in office. 

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