Governors focusing on educational performance, corrections, and mental health
Published: April 24, 2014
2014 finds the governors as committed as ever to their growth agendas launched over the previous two year. Continued budget surpluses open the door to state innovation and experimentation.
Each year Deltek compiles the forward-looking agenda items from each of the governors' state of the state addresses. This year found some interesting shifts in the areas of emphasis. States have been out of recession for more than two years now, and governors have been ambitious with their agendas.
Deltek classifies each of the governors' agenda items by vertical (as shown in Figure 1 below). We also track the popularity of each vertical as compared to the recent trend. For 2014, Education, Justice/Public Safety, and Social Services are the stand-out verticals.
Figure 1. 2014 Agenda Item Popularity vs. 2012-2014 Average, by Deltek Vertical
Deltek also subclassifies each agenda item below the vertical level (not shown above). In the Education vertical, the governors were specifically interested in improved performance for Pre-K through 12 public education. They are also keen to blend high school education into the two- and four-year higher educations systems to create a seamless pipeline of educational attainment for workforce development purposes. Containment of higher education tuition costs is also a significant interest and a key part of performance measurement for these institutions.
Corrections continues to dominate the Justice/Public Safety vertical, where governors want to contain costs by moving non-violent offenders to community supervision. They also want to develop better processes for reintroducing ex-cons back into society and the workforce. This year marks the first time government have begun to look at the economic impacts of incarceration as well as the fiscal impacts.
Governor interest in Social Services increased for the first time since the recession. With little federal direction in this area, the vertical has been adrift. However, this year found governors interested in addressing public mental health concerns, driven in part by school shootings, veterans, and drug addiction. Drug addiction and treatment, given recent upswings in crystal meth and heroine usage, has emerged a top level priority.
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More detailed information for all of the verticals covered in Deltek's recent report "State of the State, 2014." The report is available for immediate download by Deltek State & Local Industry Analysis subscribers. It can be purchased online by those who are not subscribers. The report comes with a spreadsheet that includes all of the governors agenda items categorized for easy sorting and reference by market strategists.