Return to   |   Subscribe to the State and Local Officials Bulletin

Council on Foreign Relations State and Local Officials Bulletin
February 2015

Quarterly Update

The CFR State and Local Officials Initiative provides a bipartisan forum for discussion of critical issues that affect the priorities and agendas of state and local governments, including the economy, public health, immigration, homeland security, trade, energy policy, and climate change.

This edition of the State and Local Officials Quarterly Bulletin focuses on the mounting political momentum to reform the costly state subsidy system, strategies for boosting American competitiveness, policy shifts in U.S. energy markets, and the best ways to safeguard the free flow of information while ensuring cybersecurity.

We welcome your feedback and suggestions on other ways in which we can be useful to you and your colleagues. Please share your thoughts via email at

Best regards,

Irina A. Faskianos
Vice President, National Program & Outreach

February 2015

A CFR Proposal on Curbing the Cost of State Subsidies

Political momentum is building to reform state location incentives for corporations, which often drain state and local budgets. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal describes how a number of state governments are finally taking small steps to limit the costs of future deals. In a Renewing America Policy Innovation Memo, CFR’s Edward Alden and Rebecca Strauss argue that states need to do even more. The best way out of the costly subsidies is for states to cooperate with each other in setting rules for corporate incentives and follow models that have been successful. This is something that states could pursue on their own, with or without the involvement of the federal government. Read the related New York Times op-ed.

For more details on the proposal, the authors can also be contacted directly at and

Market Madness: A Century of Oil Panics, Crises, and Crashes

CFR's Blake C. Clayton presents readers with a timely look at oil industry cycles, from its earliest days to today's global oil glut in Market Madness: A Century of Oil Panics, Crises, and Crashes.


The American Economy: Competitiveness and Employment

How the United States Can Regain Its Entrepreneurial Edge

The start-up rate for companies in the United States has slowed over the past thirty years. To reclaim its status as a hub of innovation, the United States must reform policy in a variety of areas from immigration and business regulation to health care and education, says Robert Litan in this Foreign Affairs Snapshot. Read more »

A Bipartisan Work Plan: Helping America to Work

The United States must to help people develop the skills they need to manage economic transformation with greater personal security. Matthew J. Slaughter and Robert B. Zoellick propose a jobs-policy overhaul to support innovation and adapt to changing demand. Read the memo »

The Innovative State

Can the state foster innovation? In this Foreign Affairs Snapshot, Mariana Mazzucato writes that historically, the government served not as a meddler in the private sector but as a key booster of it—and often a daring one, willing to take risks that businesses won't. Read more »

Renewing America: The "Strong Dollar" Policy

On CFR's Renewing America blog, Edward Alden looks at the effects of a strong dollar on the competitiveness of American manufacturing. Read more »

The Shifting Landscape of Energy Markets

The Future of Fracking

This CFR Backgrounder lays out how hydraulic fracturing has unlocked huge reserves of shale gas and oil, transforming the global energy outlook even as local opposition and falling world prices threaten the industry. Explore this CFR Backgrounder »

The Strategic Importance of North America to U.S. Interests

In her testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, CFR's Shannon O’Neil argues that the United States should make North America a priority and work towards further strengthening economic and energy ties with Canada and Mexico. Read more »

Should We Frack?

Foreign Affairs polls a group of experts on whether they believe the benefits to the shale revolution in the United States outweigh the costs. Read the poll results »

As Oil Prices Plunge the Politics Are Pivotal

CFR's Michael A. Levi writes that a blind focus on market forces can be just as risky as political manipulation and collusion in this op-ed. Read more »

Why Saudis Are Holding Strong on Oil

While the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia may not alter the course of Saudi oil policy, CFR's Meghan O'Sullivan writes that interesting changes to the Kingdom's cabinet roster and other energy policies could be closer than most realize. Read the op-ed »

Cybersecurity and Internet Governance

Debate Simmers over Digital Privacy

In this CFR Expert Roundup, three specialists give their opinions on how technology firms should balance the privacy demands of their customers with the security concerns of police and counterterrorism agencies. Read this Expert Roundup »

Beyond Borders: Fighting Data Protectionism

The free flow of information across borders is essential for the modern economy, but a growing number of countries have erected restrictions curtailing a free and open Internet. In this op-ed, CFR's Karen Kornbluh discusses what diplomatic and policy steps the United States can take to safeguard the free flow of information worldwide. Read more »

Preserving Free Speech and Free Commerce on the Internet

Lynn St. Amour of Internet Matters, CFR's Adam Segal, and the U.S. State Department's Daniel Sepulveda join Georgetown University's Catherine Lotrionte to discuss the future of internet governance. The panelists describe the current decentralized, bottom-up governance regime, and explain why it is the best way to prevent government censorship and ensure free speech and free trade on the internet. Watch this CFR Event Video »

Call for Fellowship Applications: 2015–2016 Fellowship Programs

The Council on Foreign Relations' (CFR) Fellowship Program offers unique opportunities for mid-career professionals who are interested in pursuing proposed research and broadening their perspective on international issues that affect the priorities and agendas of state and local governments. Click here to learn more about the program, fellowship opportunities, and application process.




About CFR

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. Founded in 1921, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy.

About CFR's State and Local Officials Initiative

The CFR State and Local Officials Initiative seeks to serve as a resource and forum for bipartisan discussion on pressing international issues that affect the priorities and agendas of state and local governments, including the economy, trade and competitiveness, homeland security, public health, immigration, and energy supply and climate policy. For more information, please contact Lizzy McCourt, associate director for the National Program & Outreach, at 212.434.9848 or

About the State and Local Officials Portal on

CFR's State and Local Officials Portal,, is a resource and forum for discussion on international issues of local importance. This webpage serves as a guide to CFR's best materials on the topics that matter most to state and local officials and their constituents. In addition to a wide range of CFR materials—including work from the think tank, interviews with experts, meeting transcripts, and new backgrounders—users will find analysis and documents from other sources that have been carefully selected by the website's editorial staff for their relevance and quality.


Connect with CFR

cfr on facebook Facebook
cfr on twitter Twitter
cfr on youtube YouTube
cfr on youtube Mobile
cfr on youtube Join the conversation at»