Last Friday, my firm hosted a half day session on Policy Projections for 2013. We focused on how the 2012 elections will impact policy in 2013 and what that means for business.
Providing speakers from the national, state and local level, we addressed how the federal government is refusing to act, the state government overreacts and the local government pays the bill.
Our federal relations speaker, Neil Dhillon of MSLGroup D.C., focused his comments on sequestration and the idea that Congress may fail to act on critical budget issues. If this happens, all government agencies will receive an automatic budget cut, currently projected to be in the range of 8%. It will also seriously affect the country’s credit rating. Neil further discussed energy policy, health care, and more. In the end, he projects that if Romney wins, Congress may get moving again but if Obama is re-elected, we are likely to see continued gridlock in D.C.
John Pitts of the Texas Star Alliance presented on the upcoming 2013 Legislative Session in Texas. His comments focused on the budget and the challenges the state faces in funding everything from education to prisons to health care. He indicated that the Legislature is facing very difficult decisions. He also discussed the impact of the State rejecting participation in federal programs such as health care and education.
Yours truly provided the local perspective and reminded the participants that no matter what happens in the lofty environs of D.C. or Austin, kids still go to school, criminals are still arrested, roads are still driven on and health care is still provided. The local government does not have the option of ignoring these issues. We also discussed the $2.7 billion worth of bonds on the November ballot in the region and how they might bolster business if adopted.
We topped off our day with a light-hearted point of view provided by White House reporter for Sirrius XM’s P.OT.U.S radio program, Julie Mason. Julie is also a former reporter for the Houston Chronicle. She regaled the audience with humorous, but serious perspectives of the people and players in Washington D.C. While the audience had the opportunity to laugh out loud at some of her tales, we also learned how the level of cynicism effects policy discussions.
Overall, a great opportunity to view policy from all levels of government and prepare ourselves for the coming year ahead.