preparation for the 2014 Annual Conference, NACo will unveil three new research
products focused on counties’ needs, challenges and best practices.
partnership with the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at
Austin, NACo prepared Strong Economies,
Resilient Counties: The Role of Counties in Economic Development, the first
report in a new NACo Why Counties Matter
The study dives into the details of county involvement in
economic development activities, outlining county administrative structures,
financial support and partnerships in this policy area. In addition, the study
addresses the main challenges counties face with their economies and
identifies some of the current county practices in economic development.
research draws upon the answers of 480 counties responding to a 2013 NACo
survey and the 35 case studies developed for this research. The report,
together with a companion interactive data tool and 35 case studies will be
released July 7 and it will be available at www.naco.org/strongeconomies.
implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — commonly
referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — offers an opportunity for
counties to assess their current health benefits, changes over the last five
years and potential effects of — and barriers to — ACA implementation. In partnership with the Carl Vinson Institute
of Government at the University of Georgia, NACo conducted County Health Benefits 2014, an analysis of two surveys in April
2009 and March 2014 of the same group of nearly 1,000 counties.
study creates a baseline for understanding county health benefits for
employees, dependents and retirees, before all changes resulting from ACA
implementation take place. The
variations in the data illustrate the tensions that are inherent to the county
government role in the health system.
At the same time, the survey respondents
register resistance to complicated regulations and federal preemption of local
control. The report will be released before Annual Conference and it be
available at www.naco.org/healthbenefits.
County Intelligence Connection (CIC) 2.0 is a big-data tool to help counties
make informed policy decisions that will be unveiled at the NACo 2014 Annual
Conference. The CIC 2.0 features a user-friendly interactive map to view
and explore the latest data available for nearly 70 datasets and more than 500
unique indicators for all 3,069 counties. Whatever your interest or issue,
from federal funding to county employment, CIC 2.0 is a one-stop shop for
information on counties.
participating at the Annual Conference will have the opportunity to interact
with NACo research staff who will have the data tool ready for use at two stations
in the conference center.
There will also be demos of the tool at different
meetings during the conference and a workshop and discussion with members about
how they can use the tool for advocacy.
Starting with the Annual Conference,
members will be able to access the CIC 2.0 interactive on the NACo website and
the full version through NACo’s County Innovation Network (COIN) at CountyInnovation.us.
and transportation remain hot issues for counties this year, with
the impending expiration of the federal surface transportation funding law,
Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). Building upon the Road Ahead: County Transportation Funding and Financing report
released in February, NACo will have updated profiles at the state level in time
for the Annual Conference.
These profiles detail the sources of funding for
counties in each state for roads and bridges, and challenges and solutions with
funding and financing transportation.