Koppelman confers with state government leaders
Rep. Kim Koppelman of West Fargo recently met with state government leaders at the Economic Summit of the States, sponsored by the Council of State Governments (CSG) in New York.
With many states facing economic crises and budget deficits, CSG organized the Economic Summit to allow state officials to hear from experts and confer with one another about solutions.
The summit format followed the concept pioneered by Koppelman, while serving as CSG's chairman, when he hosted the first Interbranch Summit of the States in Bismarck in June of 2008. It was a unique gathering of leaders from all three branches of state government throughout the nation.
The concept was well received and has led to a greater focus on topical meetings and interbranch involvement.
North Dakota's excellent budgetary and economic health - the envy of many other states - didn't go unnoticed at the meeting. It is one of the few states with a budget surplus, has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation and ranks among the fastest growing personal income rates.
"Certainly, many friends from other states had questions about what we are doing right, in North Dakota," Rep. Koppelman said. "It led to some very constructive conversations and some valuable sharing of information and ideas."
Among the notable speakers at the event were economic expert and former administration official Professor Arthur Laffer and author and pollster Frank Luntz. Former Arkansas Governor and Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee was scheduled to attend, but was unexpectedly called away and communicated with attendees by video, instead. Huckabee is a former CSG President, an office he held while serving as governor.
This year's CSG President, Gov. Mike Rounds of South Dakota, participated in the conference and conferred with Rep. Koppelman on several issues including resolutions the organization passed.
"I appreciate Gov. Rounds' leadership," Koppelman commented. "It's good to have a fellow 'Dakotan' continue in a key leadership role in CSG." Gov. Rounds became CSG's vice president during Koppelman's chairmanship.
Koppelman carried two resolutions introduced by others. One encourages states to participate in a program which offers free tax filing software to moderate income taxpayers, a result of a public-private partnership. The other encourages the federal government to promote states' interests in international trade.
"This was a very important meeting, because of its unique timing and focus," Koppelman said. "With the federal government swimming in red ink and many states reeling from the weak national economy and facing their own budget challenges, it is more important than ever for state government leaders, from all three branches of state government, to meet, share ideas, and discuss how to best meet today's challenges."
"CSG offers truly unique opportunities for that kind of interchange," Koppelman added. "While states face challenges that are diverse, they often have a great deal of commonality, as well. We learn from one another and that helps each of us serve those we represent more effectively."
As Past CSG Chairman, Koppelman continues to serve on CSG's Executive Committee, as a member of all of its standing committees, and on its Past Chairs Roundtable.