Laura Tomaka

Author Articles

Stateline Midwest ~ December 2012

Under a new set of recommendations in Ohio, half of the state’s funding for higher-education institutions would be based on how well they contribute to a key economic goal: boosting the number of college graduates in the workforce.

In late November, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and a state panel released a higher-education finance framework designed to give greater weight to degree completion in determining funding for the state’s public colleges and universities.

Stateline Midwest

Can the Midwestern states collaborate to more effectively compete in the national and global economy?

This question, which has been at the center of the work of the Midwestern Legislative Conference’s Economic Development Committee for the past two years, was explored further during the committee’s July meeting.

For 100 years, employees injured on the job have been provided guarantees through state workers’ compensation systems that cover the cost of medical and rehabilitation services, as well as lost wages. In return for carrying this mandatory insurance, employers are protected from potentially costly lawsuits. But have the systems themselves become too costly for business and inefficient?


Lawmakers across the Midwest are seeking ways to support and expand existing and new economic development programs. In North Dakota and Michigan, bills recently signed into law will ensure those states’ commitment to technology-based economic growth will continue.

The Midwest, once the national leader of the industrial economy, is now floundering in the knowledge- and innovation-driven global economy. The way back to economic vitality and growth, says James Duderstadt in a report for The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, will require changes in another traditional strength of the region: “our extraordinary array of colleges and universities.”

Entrepreneurial activity and new business creation in the United States are at their highest points in 15 years. In order to help encourage this growth, state policymakers in the Midwet are looking for ways to better support these new enterprises.

Question of the Month: Which states require supermajority votes in the legislature to pass tax increases? According to Americans for Tax Reform, entering this year, 16 states required a supermajority vote for taxes to be raised. 

Proposals to transfer business-recruitment functions to private entities have advanced in three Midwestern states. Governors in Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin have led the charge in hopes of making these agencies more responsive to the businesses they serve.

Policymakers are increasingly demanding more accountability and transparency with the tax breaks and incentives being used to lure businesses and create jobs, and few states have more robust systems in place than Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Several bills being introduced in 2011 North Dakota  aim to bolster an already strong economy in that state.


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