July 24, 2014

State, Local Leaders Call for Action in Washington

  • The federal budget is an expression of our country's values. Where we choose to spend and at what levels, how and who we tax, and the borrowing we...

Alarmed about the impact that federal budget problems could have on other levels of government, state and local officials have become increasingly vocal this year in calling for constructive action in Washington.

While welcoming these calls, Paul Hansen, western states regional director for The Concord Coalition, says state and local leaders could do more.

“State and local leaders can help by taking a pass on wasteful federal projects and by urging more responsible action by recalcitrant or timid federal officials,” Hansen says in a new blog post.

The United States Conference of Mayors and two associations of state legislators issued “compelling resolutions” that urge action by federal officials, he writes.

Earlier this year, for example, the National Conference of State Legislators asked Congress and the President to approve a comprehensive plan modeled after recommendations from the Domenici-Rivlin and Simpson-Bowles panels. And in Hansen’s own state of Wyoming, the legislature overwhelmingly approved a resolution asking Washington for “a comprehensive deficit and debt reduction plan.”

“For too long,” Hansen points out, “a common measure of success for members of Congress has been how much federal money they could siphon off to their home district.” More state and local leaders should reject that standard in favor of more responsible fiscal decisions.