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Benedetto urges fiscal solutions at conference

The Northeast region has been hit hard by the country’s fiscal crisis. Assemblyman Michael Benedetto is helping New York navigate that turbulent economy.

Benedetto discussed solutions to the region’s ongoing fiscal challenges and other policy issues at The Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conferences 49th Annual Meeting and Regional Policy Forum in Burlington, Vt. in August.

The meeting, entitled “The Fiscal Crisis: Navigating the Troubled Economy,” was held on August 2 to 5 at the Hilton Hotel in Burlington. It is the largest gathering of state and Eastern Canadian provincial leaders in the Northeast.

“In this challenging economic climate, it is more important than ever that we work together to promote our regional issues such as trade, fiscal stability, agriculture, and affordable health-care at the federal,” Benedetto said.

Helping states determine crucial funding opportunities within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be one theme for this year’s meeting. The meeting kicked off August 3 with keynote address from global economist David Hale, as well as an opening roundtable discussion on the economy from Gov. Jim Douglas of Vermont and Honorable Darrell Dexter, premier of Nova Scotia.

In addition, noted New York writer and journalist Pete Hamill delivered a keynote luncheon address on how the economy hurdles facing the print news industry could impact the quality and frequency of state capital news reporting.

The annual meeting also included daily policy workshops in areas education, energy and the environment, fiscal affairs, criminal justice and health. The concurrent, interactive workshops featured topics such as:

• Addressing farm-to-school programs

• Trade and protectionism between the U.S. and Canada

• Meeting the crisis of autism in public school

• Innovative approaches to clean energy financing

• Value-based health-care purchasing

• The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act

“The policy and economic challenges that we face in New York are similar to those facing our neighbors on Eastern Canada,” Benedetto said. “Meeting with my colleagues from throughout the Northeast, Eastern Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is an ideal way for me to take the best practices back to the people of New York.”

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