Global conflicts, health risks, populist political movements and changing attitudes toward trade all represent unpredictable influences on global economic stability, which has significant impact on states’ economies. In 2016, the world saw a number of political and trade issues—such as the United Kingdom’s decision to exit the European Union, also known as Brexit, and Americans’ resistance to international trade agreements—emerge unexpectedly that will continue to resonate in 2017. With little certainty as to how these and other issues will play out, global economic instability will be the most important international issue facing states this year.
All but three state legislatures will meet in 2017 to adopt budgets. Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program that currently covers about 73 million Americans, is the single-largest component of state budgets. It is all but certain that big changes are ahead for Medicaid under the Trump administration, but the shape, fiscal impact and speed of those changes are likely to remain unclear before sine die adjournment in many states.
On Jan. 20, President Donald Trump took the Oath of Office to be sworn in as America’s 45th president. Thousands stood along the National Mall to watch him offer his inaugural address. Meanwhile, behind the scenes of the inaugural festivities and mostly out of the public eye, frenetic activity has been taking place to plan and prepare for the transition to the next administration. The president’s transition team must fill 4,000 political appointments to lay the groundwork for implementing the new administration’s policy agenda, and provide for the effective management of our civil service and military.
About one out of every three dollars of state revenue comes from the federal government. But with a new Republican-controlled White House and Congress, the future of that funding is unclear. “There is some uncertainty there. We just don’t know what’s going to happen with federal funding,” said Delaware state Rep. Helene Keeley. “It’s really too soon to tell,” said Brian Sigritz, director of state fiscal studies at the National Association of State Budget Officers. “But from a budgetary perspective, any kind of federal uncertainty can make it difficult for states to do their budget proposals.”
Rules and policies promulgated by the Obama administration, such as the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule, were some of the most controversial environmental regulations seen in recent memory. While these rules have not yet been implemented at the state level and remain stayed pending the outcome of litigation, the election of President Donald J. Trump in November called into question what the future of these and other Obama administration policies will be and what role states will play in guiding energy and environmental policy in the future.
State education officials are being given greater control over everything from evaluating teacher performance to setting education standards, thanks to a comprehensive reform bill signed by President Barack Obama in December 2015. The legislation, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, reduced the federal government’s role in setting education policy and granted more authority to the states, a move that education officials are hopeful will lead to strides in fixing widening achievement gaps and other issues that have plagued the nation’s public schools.
While the number of states exploring transportation funding options in 2016 was down from 2015’s record pace, 2017 could see significant activity. Several states had special task forces in place in 2016 to discuss funding options, while others have targeted 2017 as the year for action or are completing unfinished business from years past. During this annual CSG eCademy webinar, we’ll hear from transportation experts and statehouse and transportation beat reporters about what could lie ahead in 2017 legislative sessions around the country.
After more than four decades in public office, New York state Sen. Hugh T. Farley announced earlier this year that he would not run for re-election and would retire at the end of 2016 to spend more time with family. Farley, also Senate vice president pro tempore, was first elected to the New York Senate in 1976, making him its second longest-serving member.
By Pennsylvania state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio
With a strong professional background in long-term care and working with older adults for more than 20 years before entering public service, I learned not to make assumptions about how people age. We all age differently. We live different lifestyles and make different choices at all points along life’s timeline, including through our 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond. It is imperative to recognize the individuality of our older constituents and not generalize or assume—you know the adage about when we assume—that their needs are the same or even similar. We can best serve our older constituents by recognizing that many are still working well into their 70s and 80s.
Employment is the most direct and cost-effective means to empower individuals to achieve independence, economic self-sufficiency, and a sense of dignity and self-worth. This FREE CSG eCademy webcast focuses on employer practices and state policies that address the hiring, retention and re-entry of people with disabilities in the workplace. This is the final webcast in a four-part series presented by the National Task Force on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy.