July 29, 2011

 

The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

 

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

 

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

 

RE: Deficit Reduction and Debt Ceiling Negotiations

 

Dear Speaker Boehner, Representative Pelosi, Senator Reid and Senator McConnell:

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) recognizes the critical need and urgency for the federal government to rein in deficits and manage its debt obligations. Achieving both of these goals is essential. State governments in particular require certainty so that we can preserve balance in our own operating budgets and maintain reasonable borrowing costs for capital projects.

As negotiations continue and agreements are ultimately honed, we respectfully remind you that the decisions you reach should avoid imposing new unfunded mandates or shifting costs to states. Even with some very modest revenue turnarounds, growth in the Medicaid program, postponement of necessary capital activity and reductions to vital programs continue to challenge state budgets.

There are expectations among state legislators that domestic discretionary spending will be reduced significantly. These reductions must be accompanied by additional program flexibility and unfunded mandate and maintenance of effort relief. It is also NCSL’s belief that all federal discretionary, entitlement, mandatory and tax-related programs should be on the table. Federal deficit reduction is necessary, but it should not disproportionately fall on state and local governments.

State legislators have labored intensely for the past four fiscal years to ensure fiscal responsibility. States have lived up to their balanced budget expectations and made very difficult decisions regarding spending for education, public health, transportation, human services and public safety. These challenges remain in our future just as your fiscal challenges will continue to affect the decisions you must make at the federal level. NCSL offers again to work with you to meet our mutual fiscal responsibilities and strengthen our economy.

 

Sincerely,

Senator Richard T. Moore
Massachusetts Senate
President, NCSL

Senator Stephen R. Morris
President of the Senate, Kansas
President-Elect, NCSL

 

 

Cc: Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States