Economic recovery by state is the process by which states regain or restore strength to their respective economies. For example, in Georgia, the economic recovery is being led by Governor Sonny Purdue. He has adopted a two pronged approach of promoting Georgia's robust business environment while also implementing large-scale infrastructure projects. In addition, the common people of the state are enjoying tax cuts, educational initiatives and community revitalization programs. However, economic recovery by state is just that, a recovery – it can never be complete without the assistance and leadership of a national, state level elected official. Whether a governor chooses to work on a national level or on a state level, the overall recovery effort should be led by a person who is highly knowledgeable about the process.
Unfortunately, there are currently many politicians in both parties who have demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge about the nature of economic recovery by state. As a result, we are witnessing policies and programs at the state and federal levels that are not fiscally sustainable over the long term. For example, there are serious concerns that a sharp increase in fuel prices may result in increased taxes and energy costs for households across the nation. However, in order to address this concern, it would require congressional action as well as the Obama administration being able to negotiate a reduction in the amount of gasoline that we buy. Likewise, the federal government needs to take a renewed interest in how our highways are managed – particularly the bridges across our nation's busiest cities. Without the implementation of new strategies, it is very likely that we will once again see a record number of bridges collapse due to lack of maintenance.
Beyond the issue of the federal level, it is important to recognize that many state and local governments face serious limitations when it comes to the types of programs and initiatives that are available to them to deal with their own economic recovery. For example, in Georgia, the cities of Atlanta and Cobb County are experiencing an influx of new development and growth, but this has resulted in an increase in traffic congestion and gridlock in the region. To address this problem, the cities must implement solutions for improving transportation options, which should include better bus service, safer routes, and the ability to add new road projects as well as bridge improvements. Similarly, cities across the nation need to take a renewed interest in the development of green spaces – and, where appropriate, develop partnerships with other municipalities to achieve this.
There are also concerns that the federal economic recovery package that was recently passed by Congress will have an adverse impact on the states that are not participating. Although the stimulus package included funding for the states that were not experiencing major problems like those in Florida and Arizona, it is very likely that this funding will not be provided equally across the board. As a result, the states that are most at risk are likely to experience cutbacks on programs or services – including those that provide early childhood education, high quality child care, and other programs that can help improve the economic recovery . . . . . . in these “flyover” states.
Finally, it is important to recognize that economic recovery is not solely a state or federal issue. Economic recovery is also a local issue that can impact a city long before it affects a state or federal economic recovery plan. For example, when residents in a city are experiencing financial difficulties, the local business community is often hit hard, but the effects may be felt long after the business economy has recovered. Many cities have seen an increase in vacancies, decline in investment, and loss of business or jobs as a result of the slowdown in local economic activity.
In short, the focus of the previous discussion is the fact that economic recovery is a national issue that can no longer be ignored. No matter how one feels about federal stimulus programs, it is important for citizens in every state to become involved in the economic recovery process at the local level. Whether it's advocating for funding for local programs, fighting against cuts to education in a way that makes sense across the state, or working with city leaders to secure funding for a local business group, everyone can make a difference in the economic recovery efforts of their states.