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.
Governors recognize that the foundation of today’s economy, national security and the daily operations of government are increasingly dependent upon the security and reliability of communications technology and other digital infrastructure.
Governors strongly support the efforts and sacrifices made by the men and women of the armed forces – active duty, reserve, National Guard and veterans – to protect the United States and preserve our way of life. Governors are particularly concerned with the role of the National Guard as it is the only military force that a governor can call upon to respond to disasters and other emergencies.
Governors strongly support providing services to our nation’s veterans and their families, and urge the federal government to work with states to help veterans, including members of the National Guard and reserves, reintegrate into the community.
The nation’s governors are committed to protecting public health and conserving the environment for the American people. The future success of environmental protection and remediation efforts depends upon the continued successful implementation of programs at the state and local levels.
The national security and economic well-being of our nation are predicated on the affordable, environmentally sustainable supply and efficient use of energy. Significant changes in the way that the United States both produces and consumes energy have occurred in recent years. In order to capitalize on these changes, the infrastructure used to move energy resources from production facilities to markets must be evaluated, and where necessary, modernized and updated.
The nation’s governors are concerned about the growing challenges facing both state and federal agencies in managing and protecting our natural resources. As the United States’ diverse population rapidly expands, governors nationwide are addressing the issue of how best to use America’s land while preserving community character and protecting environmental health.