The Council of State Governments
December 18, 2008

From the Expert:
Chris Whatley
States May Soon Get Assistance

By Chris Whatley, CSG Washington Office Director

States may soon get federal assistance in dealing with their economic woes. President-elect Barack Obama's transition team has launched unprecedented outreach to state leaders since his historic election. In addition, Congress has indicated any new stimulus funding will go directly to the states, and U.S. Senate leaders are considering a stimulus package that will include an increase in the federal Medicaid match.

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States Can Take Action on Pensions

By Mary Branham Dusenberry, CSG Managing Editor

States know they're in trouble with their public employee pension plans. In fact experts say public pension plans are underfunded-states have only set aside an estimated 65 percent to cover the collective pension bill. But Girard Miller, a senior strategist for Public Financial Management Group who is considered an expert on public pensions, said states can take steps to dig themselves out of the hole.

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CSG Members Rate Top Issues for State-Federal Relations

CSG members rated top issues where the incoming Obama administration can work with the states. In a first-ever instant wireless poll, an overwhelming majority of CSG audience members at the recent Omaha, Neb., Annual Meeting cited comprehensive health care reform and other top issue for state-federal relations.

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