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. Most states utilize public financing to raise capital for a wide range of public projects, some states utilize public-private partnerships, and some states operate on a “pay-as-you-go” basis. 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.
Job training and higher education are at the center of governors' economic development agenda. Growing small businesses, expanding existing industries and attracting new companies all depend on the qualifications of a state's workforce.
Early childhood education is critical for early workforce development and strong state economies. For governors, early childhood education and child care has been more than just a smart strategy for school readiness. It has been a significant investment of resources and political capital to increase economic growth in states and ensure the prosperity of all Americans.
Governors recognize career and technical education as a powerful tool to fuel state economies and prepare students for rewarding and productive careers. Thoughtful alignment of these programs to state industry and workforce needs provides governors with the talent pipeline to jumpstart existing businesses and make states more attractive sites for private sector investment and innovation.
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.