MURRAY, Ky. (Aug. 30, 2013) — Dr. James (Jim) P. McCoy, Distinguished Professor of Economics at Murray State University, has begun his work with the Kentucky Consensus Forecasting Group (KCFG). McCoy is a longtime faculty member in the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business at MSU.
Formally established by law in 1994, the Kentucky Consensus Forecasting Group is a nonpartisan team of seven economists from across the state. McCoy was nominated by State Budget Director Jane Driskell, upon the recommendation of Greg Harkenrider, chief economist for the Governor’s Office for Economic Analysis (GOEA). His nomination was then approved by the Legislative Research Commission (LRC), which is comprised of members and staff of the Kentucky Senate and House of Representatives. The LRC is co-chaired by the Senate President and the Speaker of the House.
It is the charge of the group to monitor and forecast the national and state economies, along with the state’s revenue, on behalf of the governor and legislature. The group convenes six times per year before even-year legislative budget sessions and as requested by the governor.
Members of the Kentucky Consensus Forecasting Group work closely with economists from the Governor’s Office of Economic Analysis and the LRC in the development of 1-, 2- and 4-year national and state economic performance and state revenue forecasts that are used for state budget development and long-range planning by both the governor and the Kentucky Legislature.
“This is a special opportunity to not only say thanks and to give back by providing this service to the commonwealth, but it also affords me the chance to grow and expand my horizons professionally,” McCoy said.
He also sees definite advantages for the students and faculty at Murray State University.
“I plan on incorporating what we [Consensus Forecasting Group] do and how we do it into all of my classes, both graduate and undergraduate,” McCoy said. “The forecasting of the national economy, the state economy and state revenues are all direct real-world applications of a variety of subdisciplines in economics — macroeconomics, forecasting, econometrics, public finance and economic policy. All of these subdisciplines are intertwined with all other subdisciplines in economics, so this will be a valuable exercise in ‘bringing the classroom into the real world, and then bringing the real world back to the classroom.’”
Additionally, McCoy has contacted the staff of the Governor’s Office for Economic Analysis (GOEA) and the economists on the staff of the Legislative Research Commission about opportunities for Murray State students to learn beyond textbooks. “The head economist of the GOEA has already agreed to visit campus to meet with students to discuss applied careers in economics and to describe his professional activities in Frankfort,” McCoy said.
His plans also include meeting with members of the department of economics and finance at Murray State University to brief them on what the KCFG does so they can incorporate that information into their classrooms. “Even more importantly, I will be soliciting their advice about KCFG forecasts so that their input can be channeled through me back to the forecasting group. This way Murray State faculty members have even broader participation in the process,” McCoy said.
The Kentucky Consensus Forecasting Group presented its forecast earlier in August, which will be revised in both the fall and winter for final revenue predictions to be used by the 2014 General Assembly as the 2014-16 state budget is developed.