The Center for State and Local Government Leadership has three main areas of focus.
Demography: Aging and Immigration
There is simply no more fundamental an issue than demography in terms of state and local governance today. As the nation ages, that process will undermine existing state and local tax and fiscal policies, land use and transportation patterns, and competitiveness. How states and local governments take advantage of creative immigration policies will also shape future economic opportunities.
Restoring Public Trust in Governance
Governing will require earning the trust and respect of the public—especially in the face of the very hard choices to be made in the next decade. In a democracy, government relies upon trust of the governed. Ethics in government will be essential to restoring that trust.
With work forces aging, serious questions abound with regard to how promises for post-retirement pension and health care benefits will be kept. The federal government’s reliance on states has increased in this Administration alone, as states have become the anvil for policy success in implementing the recovery programs and health reform. While not a new trend, the growing reliance on the states for policy leadership clashes with the greater restraints encumbering fiscal and policy flexibility at state and local levels. This focus examines the capacities and inclinations of states and communities as partners in federal policy implementation.
Local Fiscal Crisis
With support from the MacArthur Foundation, the Center on State and Local Leadership is in the midst of a multi-year study analyzing the fiscal challenges in the wake of the Great Recession. The project is structured around six struggling cities: Pittsburg, Providence, Detroit, San Bernardino, Chicago, and Baltimore. The case studies incorporated on-site interviews with local leaders, members of the community, and the media to understand the interaction of policy and economic and sociodemographic factors.The final report will provide an in-depth discussion of “best practices” and online resources to share with municipal and state leaders. The six case studies and related reports and blog are available on the project page.