Washington, D.C.—The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) presented Jonathan Ball, the chief budget staffer for the Utah Legislature, with the Steven D. Gold Award at NCSL’s Capitol Forum in Washington on Thursday.
The Gold Award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of state and local finance, especially those that erase boundaries between academics and public policy.
“Jonathan exemplifies what the Gold Award is all about,” said NCSL Executive Director William Pound. “He strives to bridge the worlds of academia and government so that citizens enjoy thoughtful, informed and practical laws and programs.”
Ball is the director of Utah’s Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst and leads a team of 25 economists, accountants, financial analysts and support staff who help legislators craft the state budget each year. He has contributed to several academic publications, is a frequent guest lecturer at colleges and universities in Utah and regularly presents on budget issues for national organizations, including NCSL. He served as president of the National Association of Legislative Fiscal Offices and the Western States Legislative Fiscal Officers Association. He is currently staff co-chair of NCSL’s Standing Committees and a member of the NCSL Executive Committee.
“Legislative staffers typically prefer to toil away in anonymity,” said Ball, “but this recognition is welcome and especially meaningful because it reflects what my team and I strive for on a daily basis—objective, accurate and relevant budget advice. I’m humbled and honored to receive it on behalf of my family, friends and colleagues without whom it would not have happened.”
The award was established in 1997 in the memory of Steven D. Gold, an accomplished economist, academic and public finance expert. Gold was an active member of NCSL, the National Tax Association and the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. It is given each year by one of these organizations on a three-year rotation.
Since its inception, Ball is the second Utahan to receive the Gold Award. The National Tax Association presented it to Brigham Young University professor Gary Corina in 2006. It is the second national award Utah has been given for good fiscal management in recent months. Governing Magazine named Kristen Cox, budget director for Governor Gary Herbert, Public Servant of the Year in November.
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.