Will the Stimulus Have Any Lasting Impact on States and Cities?
Of course we've all heard a lot about the stimulus over the past several months. And we're about to hear a lot more ...
Josh Goodman's October Governing story.)
But what are the long-term implications of the stimulus? Will it have any lasting impact on states and cities?
A panel of stimulus experts tackled that question at the kick-off session for Governing's Managing Performance conference in Atlanta.
The bottom line? Will the stimulus have a lasting impact? No. Except...maybe.
Everyone on the panel seemed to agree that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act won't have any long-term fiscal impact on states and localities. "I don't know of any governor who's counting on this money continuing," said David Quam, the director of federal relations for the National Governors Association. "They see this as a one-time thing."
The ARRA influx of cash did delay states' "day of reckoning," as Mike Mower, Utah's planning coordinator and stimulus czar, put it.
But Mark Muro, policy director for the Metropolitan Policy Program at The Brookings Institution, was blunt about the stimulus' ultimate effect: "I don't think ARRA will be seen as transformative at all," he said. "I think it will be seen as one of the last gasps of federal business-as-usual, a highly visible case-study of the way we've delivered government services for the past 30 years."
So, okay, no movement of the tectonic plates when it comes to states' fiscal picture. But there is one way that the stimulus may change government for the long-term: accountability. The reporting and transparency required by the ARRA may fundamentally shift the way states and cities report on how they deliver services. "I do think we're starting to see a trend" toward great accountability, said Quam. "If it's done right, I could see this having a long-lasting effect."
Quam also said the working relationship between states and the federal government has improved dramatically. "I'm hopeful that the cooperation that's come from working together to create this [reporting system] is actually a model for building a relationship that, instead of being coercive, is actually cooperative."
So, the stimulus: a necessary one-time shot in the arm for state budgets. But maybe the beginning of a long-term evolution toward better accountability and an improved give-and-take federalism.
Or maybe not...
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
Why Water in Schools Is So Susceptible to Lead Poisoning1 hour ago
Outside DNC, Philadelphia Takes Down Mississippi's Flag14 hours ago
Virginia Governor Promises to Circumvent Court Orders to Revoke Felons' Voting Rights15 hours ago
Facing Lawsuit, Texas Eases Birth Certificate Policy for U.S.-Born Children of Immigrants15 hours ago
Alaska's Parent-Notification Abortion Law Ruled Unconstitutional16 hours ago
Denied Medical Care, Sick Prisoners Sue Tennessee Officials16 hours ago