Last night, President Biden offered a vision of government as an instrument for progress not heard from a president since Lyndon Johnson. Congress should put that vision into legislation this summer, but success will also depend on countless smaller decisions made across the country.
A key test comes from more than $450 billion earmarked for states and local governments to spend quickly as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan enacted last month. This money may be used to fill budget holes. But state revenues have risen sharply with economic recovery, in some cases exceeding pre-pandemic levels, and some states have a surplus even before a federal dime arrives. Cities and councils (and tribes) face more shortfalls, but they will also have opportunities to invest.