Northeastern Tax and Fiscal Policy Academy
Along with ALEC CEO Lisa B. Nelson, the Center for State Fiscal Reform recently hosted its first-ever regional Tax and Fiscal Policy Academy. The event took place September 19-21 in Portland, Maine, with 25 legislative attendees representing seven states throughout the Northeast, including Maine Senator Andre Cushing, who served as legislative host. The purpose of the Northeastern Academy was to provide a forum for legislators in the region to discuss detailed policy solutions regarding pension reform, tax reform and priority-based budgeting.
Academy presentation topics included overcoming obstacles to tax reform, fiscal policy and innovation, a budgeting toolkit for staying in the black and pension reform best practices. Legislators participated in an exercise where they illustrated the fiscal condition of their respective states, and were then able to share thoughts in an effort to determine the best solution.
According to Connecticut Representative and ALEC Board Member John Piscopo, “these academies help identify what problems your state or region is going through, but more importantly they offer real policy solutions for how you can remedy these problems.” Academies tend to be smaller and more focused than the three large annual ALEC meetings. This allows attendees the unique opportunity to share ideas and network in an environment conducive to a deep-dive into particular issue areas.
In addition to policy sessions, Maine Governor Paul LePage hosted attendees at the Blaine House in Augusta. Governor LePage spoke about his efforts to implement pro-growth, free market reforms in Maine. Attendees then had the opportunity to tour the Maine Capitol and witness firsthand how the Maine Legislature operates. Additionally, Senator Cushing arranged for a tour of the State Archives, featuring the original Maine Constitution as well as letters penned by Joshua Chamberlain recounting the Battle of Gettysburg.
Given the success of the Northeastern Tax and Fiscal Policy Academy, the Center for State Fiscal Reform will begin to hold regional meetings across the nation in the years ahead.