Husbands Fealing and Lockhart Featured at State Budget Conference Hosted by Volcker Alliance and Atlanta Federal Reserve

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Kaye Husbands Fealing, chair of the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Public Policy, and Dennis Lockhart, professor of the practice in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and former president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta were participants in the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the Volcker Alliance’s “FY2020 State Fiscal Conference: Truth and Integrity in State Budgeting—Looming Risks, Durable Solutions”, which was held in Atlanta on July 10-11.

Fealing was featured on the panel entitled “Workforce Development: Challenges, Solutions, and Budget Consequences” where she spoke about issues pertaining to technological change and the workforce, including its implications for diversity, equity and inclusion.

“As ‘cognitive technologies’ and high volume/high velocity data are increasingly adopted in the workplace, we must guard against risks of reinforcing existing biases or even introducing new ones in the workplace,” said Fealing who brought to bear her expertise as an economist who works in public policy. “Additionally, as these are increasingly adopted in government agencies, budgeting for integration of these technologies is required, and there are many questions about whether workers will be displaced or assisted by these technologies.” 

Fealing’s presentation built upon other recent speeches she’s given, such as her plenary talk at the 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) forum on science and technology policy in Washington, DC.

Lockhart moderated a session on “Infrastructure: Quantifying Risks to Reap the Rewards.”

“Much infrastructure spending in the United States is at the state level,” said Lockhart. “This is especially true now in surface transportation infrastructure given the drying up of the federal highway trust fund. States are saddled with the problem of funding a lot of deferred maintenance, estimated to be as much as $900 billion. The conference exposed the great variation in quality of quantification and disclosure of deferred maintenance requirements in state budgets and capital plans.”

This was the fourth in a series of convenings with regional Federal Reserve Banks. Also among the roster of influential speakers and moderators were Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President & CEO Raphael Bostic and former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin. 

Lockhart express his opinion on what next steps should be.

“My personal opinion is an appropriate role of the federal government is to promote best practices and high disclosure standards in the infrastructure area. Otherwise, the responsibility to raise standards of disclosure falls to the states themselves.”

The conference expanded upon the grades, conclusions, and best practice recommendations contained in the Volcker Alliance’s 2018 report, Truth and Integrity in State Budgeting: Preventing the Next Fiscal Crisiswhich scrutinized state budgetary processes in terms of their ability to maintain fiscal sustainability.

The Sam Nunn School of International Affair and the School of Public Policy are units of Georgia Tech's Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.


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