Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

One to Watch: Nebraska's Gov. Nelson

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

One to Watch: Nebraska's Gov. Nelson

Article excerpt

About a year from now, Democratic Governor Ben Nelson of Nebraska may well become the newest Senator from the Cornhusker State. That turn of events would send a popular and outspoken supporter of state-based federalism to the source of much discontent among state leaders--the omnipotent Congress.

For bankers this may prove a positive development in some ways, less positive in others. Gov. Nelson, 56, was a key participant at the States' Federalism Summit, held in late October in Cincinnati. One speaker called the meeting the first state-led constitutional conference in 200 years. In his conference address, Gov. Nelson, who was president last year of the Council of State Governments, warned: "The federal government is downloading, not downsizing." Many summit delegates suspect Congress will package its budget problems as underfunded state mandates, while still stipulating service delivery methods.

In an interview, Gov. Nelson said, "If the states don't have the ability to change the requirements or impose their own ideas about how to handle the food stamp or welfare problems, there won't be a change. That's why we've been asking for maximum flexibility in block grants at the state level."

These are political questions with broad implications for bankers. Even apart from the regulatory issues, states taking on more administrative duties will award new contracts for banking, electronic commerce, and financial management services. However, nonbank companies will also compete for these awards (see "States Reach Out to Banks--and Nonbanks'" ABABJ, October 1995, p. …

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