Winter 2014 Forum Highlights

 January 16–19, 2014 

Corina Eckl, Director, State Services, National Conference of State Legislatures, gave a cautiously optimistic report on the state of the state budgets, indicating that most states are meeting their projections but remain concerned.

David Brunori, Research Professor of Public Policy, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University, and Contributing Editor to State Tax Notes, presented a session on state-tax-reform issues, with an overview of state tax successes and failures, a review of principles of sound taxation policy, and forward-looking projections of what states are prepared to do in terms of tax reform.

Social media have become an invisible but growing force in government affairs. Harvard Kennedy School Professor Nicco Mele, author of The End of Big: How The Internet Makes David The New Goliath (2013), and Katie Harbath, Facebook’s Global Lead for Politics and Government Engagement, considered the implications of social media for state legislators. They examined how issues are reported in social media, how the public uses social media to get their news, and how legislators can use social media in the best interests of the community.


Keynote Speakers

David Brunori

David Brunori is a Research Professor of Public Policy at the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University, where he teaches courses in state and local public finance, administrative law, and fiscal federalism. He serves as executive vice president of Editorial Operations at Tax Analysts. He is also contributing editor of State Tax Notes magazine and the author of The Politics of State Taxation, a weekly column focusing on state taxes and budget politics.

He edited The Future of State Taxation and has published articles in the National Tax Journal and the State and Local Government Review. His book, State Tax Policy: a Political Perspective, won the 2001 Choice Award for the best public finance book. He has also authored Local Tax Policy: a Federalist Perspective and has served as an appellate trial attorney with the Tax Division of the US Department of Justice and practiced with a Washington, DC, law firm. He was a David C. Lincoln Fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Corina Eckl

Corina Eckl is Director of State Services for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), managing the conference’s core programs, which include fiscal affairs, legislative management, and leaders’ services.

Prior to her current position, Corina served as director of NCSL’s Fiscal Affairs Program. She has written extensively on state-budget and tax issues and regularly provides information on state-budget conditions and other fiscal matters to legislatures, trade associations, and members of the national print and television media. She has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times, USA Today, and The Christian Science Monitor, among others, and has appeared on CBS, CNBC, FOX, ABC, CNN, and the BBC. She has been interviewed numerous times for National Public Radio.

Corina serves as a consultant on NCSL’s evaluations of legislative organization and staff operations and is the NCSL liaison to the Hawaii Legislature. She also has represented NCSL on assignments to Algeria, France, Germany, South Africa, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia.

An NCSL staff member since 1984, Corina has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado.

Katie Harbath

Katie Harbath is the global lead for politics and government engagement at Facebook, where she focuses on political outreach. Prior to working for Facebook, Katie was the Chief Digital Strategist at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. She previously led digital strategy in positions at DCI Group, the Rudy Giuliani for President campaign, and the Republican National Committee. In 2009, Katie was named a Rising Star by Campaigns and Elections magazine and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Nicco Mele

Nicco Mele is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and consultant to Fortune 1000 companies and is one of America’s leading forecasters of business, politics, and culture in our fast-moving digital age.

Born to Foreign Service parents, Nicco spent his early years in Asia and Africa before graduating from the College of William and Mary in Virginia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Government. He then worked for several high-profile advocacy organizations where he pioneered the use of social media as a galvanizing force for fundraising. As webmaster for Vermont Governor Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid, Nicco and the campaign team popularized the use of technology and social media that revolutionized political fundraising and reshaped American politics. Subsequently, he cofounded EchoDitto, a leading Internet strategy and consulting firm, whose nonprofit and corporate clients have included Barack Obama’s successful US Senate campaign, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Sierra Club, the UN World Food Programme, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons), and Medco. Nicco is also on the faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he teaches graduate-level classes on the internet and politics.

Nicco’s first book, The End of Big: How The Internet Makes David The New Goliath, was published by St. Martin’s Press in April 2013. In the book, he explores the consequences of living in a socially connected society, drawing on his years of experience as an innovator in politics and technology.

David Brunori

Corina Eckl

Katie Harbath

Nicco Mele

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