2021 NCSL Spring Fiscal Briefings Series



NCSL’s Fiscal Affairs Program is proud to announce its 2021 NCSL Spring Fiscal Briefings Series! 

What: This special seven-part online meeting series is designed to expand your thinking on important budget issues. 

Who: This is a special series offered by invitation—and at no charge—to select legislators and legislative staff.

When: Wednesdays, 2-3:15 ET, from April 28 to June 16.

Review the sessions below and be sure to register in advance for each session below.

What's Next for States? 3 Insights, 2 Tools and 1 Technique Just Crazy Enough It Might Work | April 28

This past year of pandemic life disrupted business-as-usual in many ways—some impacts are short-term, but others will change things forever. What does this mean for states? Join us to hear from a renowned economist and futurist on what’s next for states and more importantly, how to prepare.

Managing Budget Risk and Uncertainty: Lessons from COVID-19 and a Look Ahead | May 5

The last year has been a wild ride for state budget planners. From plunging revenues to uneven economic recovery to a massive influx of federal funds. State revenue forecasts have been up and down, making it difficult for policymakers to plan ahead. This session will highlight tools policymakers can use to help them prepare for and mitigate budget uncertainty.

  • Part 1: Managing Budget Uncertainty, State Fiscal Health
    • Angela Oh, senior manager, State Fiscal Health, The Pew Charitable Trusts
    • Representative Janet Ancel (D-Vt.)
    • Representative John Macco (R-Wis.)
  • Part 2: Measuring and Managing Uncertainty in State Pensions
    • David Draine, senior officer, Public Sector Retirement Systems, The Pew Charitable Trusts
    • Senator George Munoz (D-N.M.)
    • Senator Sean Bennett (R-S.C.)



How States are Preparing for Opioid Settlement Funds | May 12

States have filed thousands of lawsuits against opioid manufacturers in recent years. Many of those cases have been settled or are in talks and some states are considering legislation to disburse the funds. This session will highlight actions states are taking and discuss ways policymakers can manage settlement funds to ensure they best serve communities affected by the opioid crisis.

  • Charlie Severance-Medaris, policy specialist, Health Program, NCSL
  • Representative Dave Baker (R-Minn.)
  • Assemblymember John McDonald (D-N.Y.)
  • Senator Roger Thompson (R-Okla.)
  • Sara Dube, director, Results First Initiative, The Pew Charitable Trusts



Enhancing Local Budget Flexibility and Sustainability | May 19

The pandemic recession has hit local governments particularly hard. While federal stimulus funds will likely help most local governments get through the next couple of years, they face additional ongoing fiscal risks from declining commercial property values, growing debt loads and shifts in income tax revenue from increased telecommuting. These uncertainties mean local leaders must continue to think about how to achieve longer-term structural balance. This session will examine ways that states can support their local governments beyond additional funding.

  • Adrienne Lu, manager, State and Local Fiscal Health, The Pew Charitable Trusts

     Presentation PowerPoint | PDF

  • Chris Morrill, executive director/CEO, Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA)
  • Shayne Kavanagh, senior manager of research, GFOA

     Presentation PowerPoint | PDF

     GFOA: Local Government Fragmentation

  • Rick Vilello, deputy secretary, Community Affairs and Development, Department of Community and Economic Development

     Presentation PowerPoint | PDF

  • Representative Robert Freeman (D-Pa.)
  • Andrew Sheaf, local government policy manager, Department of Community and Economic Development

     Presentation PowerPoint | PDF

  • Alex Zhang, research officer, State Fiscal Health and Economic Growth, The Pew Charitable Trusts


Cutting Corrections Costs While Preserving Public Safety | May 26

Strained state budgets have reignited the conversation on effective ways to ensure public safety while reducing spending. Corrections spending typically accounts for around 5% of state general fund budgets annually. Policy changes to reduce admissions and shorten length of stay in prisons and jails, as well as changing responses to community supervision rule violations can be both fiscally beneficial and encourage successful outcomes for individuals involved with the justice system. This session will explore some of these policy changes and their fiscal impacts.

  • Elizabeth Compa, Public Safety Performance Project, The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Amanda Essex, senior policy specialist, Criminal Justice Program, NCSL
  • Secretary James LeBlanc, Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections
  • Natalie LaBorde, executive counsel, Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections



Pension Plan Design Trends Across the 50 States | June 9

The challenge of balancing pension costs with the need to recruit and retain a strong workforce has prompted policymakers in several states to review how they design public retirement benefits. From incorporating risk sharing policies in traditional defined benefit plans to adopting alternative plan designs, states have explored a range of possibilities in the years since the Great Recession. Join us for an overview of the latest on market impacts to public pension fund investments, new research on public sector hybrid retirement plans and other recent design trends in the states.

  • Susan Banta, project director, Public Sector Retirement Systems, The Pew Charitable Trusts 
  • Aleena Oberthur, research manager, Public Sector Retirement Systems, The Pew Charitable Trusts 
  • Elizabeth Wiley, consulting actuary, Cheiron
  • Representative C. Ed Massey (R-Ky.)
  • Kevin Drennan, executive director, New Jersey Senate Majority Office


Webinar PDFs

State Budget Rollercoaster: From Revenue Nosedive to Surplus | June 16

Revenue shortfalls from the beginning of the pandemic became budget surpluses in 2021 as state economies rallied and the federal government injected billions in stimulus aid. How did states respond? Gain insight into recent state budget and tax actions as NCSL shares its newest survey information.

  • Erlinda Doherty, director, Budgets & Revenue Committee, NCSL
  • Erica MacKellar, program principal, Fiscal Affairs Program, NCSL
  • Jackson Brainerd, senior policy specialist, Fiscal Affairs Program, NCSL


Webinar PDFs

Additional Resources