NGA Policy Positions
Principles for State-Federal Relations
Governors believe that commerce is the engine of economic development and job creation. Many cylinders power this complex engine, including, but not limited to, capital access, trade and investment, taxation and regulation, research and development and innovation, and collaborations between private firms, academic institutions, federal research laboratories, and the public sector.
Our nation’s multi-modal transportation and related-infrastructure systems support and enhance the economic growth of states and the nation. Infrastructure provides the skeletal network that connects the nation. Together, transportation and infrastructure help sustain quality of life, promote public safety and enable the flow of interstate and international commerce that underpins the United States’ competitive position in the global economy.
Governors support the preservation of public financing - notably tax-exempt financing - because it is the primary method to raise capital for a wide range of public projects. By lending money through the purchase of state and locally issued bonds, investors help provide market validation for those projects.
America’s elementary and secondary education system has evolved over the decades with changing economic pressures, intense globalization, and rising expectations for all students. Despite these changes, however, too many of our nation’s students are unprepared for college or a career.
Governors recognize the importance of ensuring that children have access to meals of high nutritional value. Yet, far too many of America’s children don’t have reliable access to the nutritious food they need to lead healthy, active lives. Hunger is one of the most severe roadblocks to the learning process.
For Americans to stay competitive in the global economy, it will take bold transformation and modernization of our nation’s education and workforce systems and a stronger federal-state partnership. Every member of the workforce must be given the opportunity to realize their full potential over the course of their careers in order to keep pace with the ever- evolving demand for new skills and knowledge.
In 1996, governors and the federal government agreed to end individual entitlement to cash assistance, replacing it with federal funding for state block grants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). TANF marked an historic shift in social policy by devolving to states and territories the authority to develop and implement innovative approaches to welfare reform that would better serve poor families and help individuals move from cash assistance and to stable employment.
Governors across the country face significant challenges in their efforts to ensure the sustainability of health care programs amidst rising health care costs. To put these programs on a fiscally sustainable path, governors are increasingly exploring alternatives to the less desirable cost-cutting methods that involve reducing provider payments, limiting benefits and restricting coverage.
Providing for the safety and security of citizens is a high priority for governors. With the constantly evolving threat of terrorism and increased occurrences of natural disasters, governors must maintain and continually update state strategies to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies.