Tucson Fiscal Leaders Seminar | Dec. 10-12, 2013


NCSL’s meeting for legislative fiscal leaders in Tucson, Ariz., Dec. 10-12 was at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. The program focuses on current issues, the economy, state budgets and leadership skills. This meeting is for chairs of legislative budget and tax committees as well as senior legislative fiscal staff. This year's seminar was held partially concurrently with the NCSL Legislative Leadership: The Path Forward meeting.

Wednesday, Dec. 11
9:30-10:45 a.m.

State Budget Update & Roundtable Discussion

How has economic recovery affected state finances and the budget outlook as lawmakers prepare for their 2014 legislative sessions? You will get a preview of NCSL’s latest state budget update report and the opportunity to describe your state’s fiscal situation.


Moderator/Speaker: Arturo Pérez, Fiscal Affairs Program Director, NCSL

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Managing State Economic and Revenue Volatility

The dramatic fiscal environment of recent years has many state policymakers asking what can be done to cope with the impacts of economic and revenue volatility on state budgets. Through specific fiscal policies, states can limit the effects of spending cuts or tax increases on taxpayers, businesses and local governments. Examine how states can build healthier fiscal futures by better understanding the sources and drivers of state revenue volatility and what steps states can take to develop or improve existing policies.


Moderator/Speaker: Brenna Erford, Manager, State Fiscal Health and Economic Growth, The Pew Charitable Trusts

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Speakers: Rick Mattoon, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

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Senator Lyle Hillyard, Utah

12:45-2 p.m.

Public Pension Funding Analyses Following GASB Changes: What Do the Actuaries Say?

Recent GASB reporting changes implement a clean break between funding standards and reporting standards. They require additional analysis of pension fund assets and liabilities to better understand their impact on state and local government budgets. Explore pension funding projections that take into account different economic scenarios and their implications for system health and funding requirements. This session will focus on the ways in which these sorts of analyses can help address the current pension challenges that state and local governments face.


Speaker/Moderator: Greg Mennis, Director, State’s Public Sector Retirement Systems, The Pew Charitable Trusts

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Speakers: Kai Petersen, Principal, Retirement at Buck Consultants

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Donald Fuerst, Senior Pension Fellow, American Academy of Actuaries

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2:30-3:30 p.m.

Leadership thoughts from a Statesman and an Astronaut

Jake Garn represented Utah with distinction in the U.S. Senate for nearly two decades. During that time, he chaired the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee and became the first sitting member of Congress to fly in space when he flew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery as a payload specialist. After his mission to space, he retired from the Senate and the Utah Air National Guard as a Brigadier General. Garn will reflect on his extraordinary career in public service and what it taught him about being a leader with integrity who could get things done.


Moderator: Senator Curt Bramble, Senate President Pro Tempore, NCSL Vice-President, Utah

Speaker: Senator Jake Garn, Utah

4-5 p.m.

The Economic Big Picture and What it Means for States

The economy and the jobs market appear to be on the mend after a long and grueling recession.  But is the momentum strong enough to continue solid growth? Will sequestration take a bite out of 2013, and can an energized private sector offset any economic damage? Where does the U.S. economy stand and what does 2014 look like.


Moderator: Senator Bruce Starr, NCSL President, Oregon

Speaker: Beth Ann Bovino, Chief U.S. Economist, Standard & Poor's, New York

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Thursday, Dec. 12
7:30-9 a.m.

Breakfast Session – Investing in Programs That Work

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, works with states to implement an innovative cost-benefit analysis approach that helps them invest in policies and programs that are proven to work. This approach can help policymakers make informed decisions about allocating limited resources by estimating the long-term costs and benefits of public programs and by comparing options and identifying those that can most cost-effectively achieve the desired policy outcomes. This session will provide an overview of this approach and attendees will hear from state policymakers that are working with Results First to implement this approach.


Speakers: Gary VanLandingham, Results First, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Washington, D.C.

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Senator Eugene "Buck" Clarke, Chair, Senate Appropriations Committee, Mississippi

Speaker Terie Norelli, New Hampshire

9:15-10:30 a.m. 

The Battle over the Federal Budget—Implications for States and Next Fall’s Elections

Conferees in Congress are meeting to hammer out a federal budget deal (again) before the next deadline in mid-January. One of Washington’s keenest political observers, Amy Walter, Cook Political Report and former political director of ABC News, will give her perspective on where things stand with the federal budget and implications for the 2014 elections.


Moderator: Speaker Terie Norelli, NCSL Immediate-Past President, New Hampshire

Speaker: Amy Walter, National Editor, Cook Political Report, Washington, D.C.


Leading in Turbulent Times

Former Southwest Airlines CEO Howard Putnam knows about leading during challenging times. He guided the fledgling carrier through airline deregulation and the development and implementation of a business "vision" that led Southwest to revered heights over the past twenty years. Southwest tripled in size and tripled in profitability during his tenure, and today remains a model for organizations that put their people first in their culture and reap the rewards. You will receive a copy of Putnam’s book, The Winds of Turbulence.


Moderator: Senator Debbie Smith, Senate Assistant Majority Floor Leader, Nevada

Speaker: Howard Putnam, former CEO, Southwest Airlines, Nevada

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