About a week before he delivers Delaware’s State of the State Address, Governor Jack Markell was in Washington, D.C. to deliver the first ever National Governors Association’s State of the States Address (pdf).
Markell, who serves as chairman of the NGA, delivered the speech at the National Press Club alongside NGA vice chair, Republican Governor of Oklahoma Mary Fallin. Markell highlighted the impact that federal action or inaction can have on the health of the states.
“As much as we do in our states, our economies are tightly linked to the national economy. As a result, our state’s prosperity and the prosperity of our citizens depend in no small measure on the ability of our public servants in Washington to come to terms on a path forward.” Markell says the uncertainty in Washington hurts the economies and budgets of the nation and the individual states.
Markell called on Congress to address uncertainties that still remain following the deal that helped avoid the fiscal cliff, especially regarding the federal debt limit. “Until these issues are resolved, states will not be able to make fully informed financial plans that will address the needs of our citizens.”
Markell also outlined a task force created by the NGA in response to the fiscal cliff debate. The group, led by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (R) and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (D), will examine tax reform and make suggestions on where the interests of the state and federal governments intersect. They will also examine ways for states to “level the playing field between main street retailers and online sellers when it comes to sales taxes.”
He says state economies are slowly recovering, but over the past five years the Governor’s have collectively cut $337 billion from their budgets. He says that has helped state governments streamline operations, but at times, citizens have suffered due to cuts.
Markell is scheduled to deliver Delaware’s State of the State Address next Thursday, January 17. You can watch the Governor’s address to a joint session of the General Assembly on WHYY-TV at 7:30 p.m.