August 9, 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: Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction

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

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) recognizes the vital role the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction can have in achieving a bipartisan, comprehensive agreement to reduce the federal deficit. We see the work of the joint committee as an opportunity for Congress to work cooperatively to preserve the nation’s financial integrity.  

We ask that nominees to the committee be open-minded and flexible in attaining at least $1.2 trillion in savings. In this endeavor, we respectfully recommend that the committee establish and consult with an advisory group of state and local elected officials, including state legislators.

NCSL understands the need for the federal government to reduce its deficit and manage its long-term debt. However, states should not be disproportionately targeted in this process through unfunded or underfunded mandates and cost shifts to states. Additionally, to ensure that an unreasonable and excessive burden is not transferred to states, all federal discretionary, entitlement and tax-related programs should be examined for potential savings. We respectfully urge you to request a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the intergovernmental fiscal ramifications of the legislation developed by the Joint Select Committee in concert with the provisions in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

We fully respect and understand the difficulties the federal government faces to guarantee fiscal responsibility. However, as lawmakers we must work together to find agreement and balance our budgets, now the federal government must make certain the nation’s mounting deficit is not reallocated to state and local governments and future generations. We again offer to work collaboratively with you to resolve these fiscal challenges.

Sincerely,

Senator Richard T. Moore
Massachusetts Senate
President, NCSL

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

Rosie Berger
Member, Wyoming House of Representatives
Co-Chair, NCSL Deficit Reduction Task Force

Terie Norelli
Member, New Hampshire House of Representatives
Co-Chair, NCSL Deficit Reduction Task Force

Cc: Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States