Our first fiscal stewardship committee was created through apartnership with the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Don Kettl of the Fox Leadership School. The committee, made up of community leaders, joined with a class of Penn students to produce a Committee Report while the Penn students were fully immersed in a class project to design and implement a strategy for youth outreach on fiscal issues. The results were impressive:
(To read the full report click here)
The committee developed a report that focusd on three major reccomendations:
Recommendation 1: Information and Education
There is bipartisan acknowledgment about the nature and scope ofour country’s unsustainable fiscal path. Information needs to bedeveloped and disseminated in order for the public to be better able tounderstand the present situation and evaluate options for addressing it.
Recommendation #2: Commissions
Policymakers need to find a way to have a broad discussion aboutAmerica’s priorities removed from the day-to-day nature ofcongressional policymaking and from the constant concern about theelectoral cycle. One way to accomplish this is to create a “fiscalstewardship commission” process similar to the BRAC commission processfor military base closings. Any such committee process also needs tohave a major public engagement component.
Recommendation #3: Budget Process Reform
Changes in the budget process can also assist policymakers in focusingon long-term challenges and priorities. Congress should look atadopting a capital budget for investments that can pave the way for future economic growth and expanding the economic pie. Process rules should also force members to deal with the long-term implications of policy changes, instead of focusing on budgeting in five or 10 year increments.