Read a rundown on the top public policy issues facing state lawmakers in 2015, state-private sector partnerships for infrastructure, e-cigarettes and taxes and dealing with cuts to mental health programs.
Washington, D.C.—With the release today of President Obama’s FY 2014 budget proposal and the passage of budget resolutions in both houses of Congress, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) urges Congress and the president to expeditiously enact comprehensive legislation that will lay the groundwork for long-term deficit reduction, debt management and economic growth. We believe a comprehensive and bold plan is needed to address our nation’s fiscal challenges and strengthen our economy.
As budget negotiations begin, NCSL urges Congress and the administration to adhere to the following state priorities:
Provide mechanisms for shared savings and enhanced program flexibility to ensure that states are not disproportionately or unreasonably burdened by federal deficit reduction as domestic and defense discretionary spending is reduced and entitlement programs are reformed.
UNFUNDED FEDERAL MANDATES
Impose no new unfunded federal mandates and ensure that any deficit reduction legislation be analyzed thoroughly for its potential effect on state and local governments.
Provide relief from maintenance of effort requirements, enhance program flexibility and establish a countercyclical trigger for enhanced Medicaid federal matching funds during economic downturns.
Support infrastructure programs at funding levels that continue the economic benefits they provide and protect the nation’s public facility investments.
MAIN STREET FAIRNESS AND TAX EQUITY
Enact the Marketplace Fairness Act to authorize states to require remote sellers to collect state and local sales and use taxes, thus providing more than $23 billion in fiscal relief without a dime from the federal Treasury. This will provide state and local governments some offset to federal program reductions.
Uphold state authority in areas such as medical malpractice, tort law and public employee exclusive participation in state retirement and pension systems.
Retain tax-exempt financing for municipal bonds.
NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.
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