Bill Clinton coming to Constitution Center

GETTY IMAGES Bill Clinton will speak at the National Constitution Center tomorrow.
GETTY IMAGES Bill Clinton will speak at the National Constitution Center tomorrow.
Posted: June 25, 2013

FORMER PRESIDENT Bill Clinton will return to the National Constitution Center tomorrow. The first time Clinton set foot at the center was in 2000 when, as president, he led the Pledge of Allegiance at the building's groundbreaking ceremony. The upcoming visit will be more substantive.

The event is the last of the four so-called "National Dialogues" organized by a group called the State Budget Crisis Task Force that will focus on federalism. That's the government system that gives states the independence - and burden - of managing big-ticket items such as public infrastructure, education, health care and public safety.

The dialogues are basically brainstorming sessions intended to find new ways to help federal and state governments work together to solve these problems, whether through better organization or through legislation. Mayor Nutter will make remarks on Philadelphia's perspective of federalism earlier in the morning.

The core problem that participants and panelists will tackle is the fact that state governments are recovering too slowly from the recession of 2008-09 to keep pace with their growing fiscal responsibilities.

Money coming into states has slowed to a seeming trickle, thanks to cuts in federal aid as well as less revenue coming in from income taxes in the wake of the economic crisis. However, expenses such as Medicaid and pension costs from an aging population are increasing rapidly.

The State Budget Crisis Task Force produced reports on six states: New Jersey, New York, Virginia, California, Texas and Illinois as case studies. After the four dialogues, the task force plans to release a final report with what it calls "Options for Action."

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