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February 19, 1999

A review of State of the State speeches, inaugural addresses, and budget messages delivered by 48 governors over the last six weeks indicates a high level of interest in science and technology based economic development. Governors discussed research and development tax incentives, education, and new initiatives to encourage technology-based economic development.

As usual on the state level, support for science and technology transcended political parties. Over the coming weeks, the SSTI Weekly Digest will examine a number of the governors’ proposals in more detail. Selected highlights include:

Alaska: Governor Knowles said that the Alaska Science and Technology Foundation will "continue to pay dividends, if we protect and grow [its] assets." Knowles made the commitment despite budget difficulties brought on by declining oil prices.

Arizona: Governor Hull called on the Legislature to "significantly augment the research and development tax credit. Arizona corporations will initially save $6 million annually. That amount will grow as we encourage the creation of new products and new services."

Delaware: Governor Carper said,"...the expansion of life sciences is about to usher in a new chapter in American industry. Delaware has a unique opportunity to be at its forefront... My budget will propose creating a new Economic Development 2000 Fund to help establish a Delaware Biotechnology Institute in partnership with the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, and Delaware Tech."

Hawaii: Governor Cayetano announced several new initiatives, including: "a workforce training program focusing in the areas of healthcare, biotechnology, high tech, telecommunications and environmental sciences;....a research and development income tax credit for selected new industries; [and], a 5-year tax holiday for high tech companies in Kakaako High Tech Park."

Idaho: Governor Kempthorne announced "an aggressive program to land the new space port in Idaho" and that he will appoint the state’s first science and technology advisor.

Illinois: Governor Ryan called for the creation of the Illinois Technology Enterprise Corporation which will provide regional, privately-managed centers to promote technology transfer from the state’s major research universities. It will help firms develop high quality research proposals for federal grants, match venture capitalists with high tech firms, and build local technology infrastructures. He also called for the expansion of existing programs.

Indiana: Governor O’Bannon called for the creation of the 21st Century Growth Fund that would permit the state to invest in "promising new fields in biomedicine, health, technology, agriculture and science; university-sponsored research by helping to match federal research dollars; incentives to create, attract and retain jobs in businesses that offer realistic hopes for high-wage, high-growth jobs in high-technology sectors or in businesses that benefit from science and technology breakthroughs..." He also called for increasing the state’s R&D tax credit.

Maine: Governor King spoke extensively about how science and technology were changing the state’s economy and suggested the state consider its "own research triangle stretching from Orono, our flagship university campus, to Jackson Lab and the bio-tech centers growing on Mount Desert, to Portland's University of Southern Maine and Maine Med..."

Michigan: Governor Engler proposed the creation of "the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The Corporation will give us greater flexibility, continuity and focus, while allowing for the consolidation of all economic development functions." The Corporation would have responsibility for the state’s science and technology activities.

New Jersey: Governor Whitman announced the "New Jersey Virtual University. This initiative provides an online index of distance learning courses offered by colleges and universities across the state....Individuals and employers can visit the web site to learn about more than 800 offerings available over the Internet or through other technologies."

New York: Governor Pataki proposed "a plan that will make the City of Buffalo a national leader in biotechnology research and business development. We will create a new Biotechnology Research Center at SUNY Buffalo...it will complement the highly successful biotech research park at SUNY Farmingdale...and the SUNY Albany Biotech Incubator in Rensselaer County, which we will increase our support to this year."

Pennsylvania: Governor Ridge called for an increase in the net operating loss deduction and the creation of the Technology Investment Authority for Pennsylvania to provide custom-made financing tools for high-tech firms.

Texas: Governor Bush called for the creation of a research and development tax credit.

Utah: Governor Leavitt outlined a vision for Utah where,"By the time the world comes here to visit in 2002, I propose we have in place the foundation for a truly ‘digital’ state, including the ability to deliver high-speed, high-capacity ‘webtone’ to every home, school, and business in this state. Webtone is not a familiar term yet, but it will be. It is quick, immediate, high-speed access to the worldwide web, and soon it will be as commonplace and as easy as picking up a telephone and hearing dial tone."

Vermont: Governor Dean proposed "$2.5 million in tax credits for the so-called CAPCO bill. This will allow us to generate venture capital, a consistent shortcoming in Vermont, for the benefit of small business startups."

Virginia: Governor Gilmore spoke of his Information Technology Commission, which has recommended "the nation's first statewide Internet policy." He called on the Legislature "to support my package of Internet legislation and seal Virginia's leadership position as the Internet Capital of the World."

Washington: Governor Locke proposed the creation of "the Washington Online College, which will help students of every age, in every corner of the state, enroll in distance education courses with credit over the Internet."

West Virginia: Governor Underwood said, "The PROMISE program of the Science and Technology Advisory Council should be expanded to connect small businesses and higher education, research important new technologies and lay the ground-work for new business opportunities."  He also called for the establishment of a national center of excellence for the development of identification technologies to focus research on biometric and identification technologies and act as a clearinghouse for identification science and technology information."

Wisconsin: Governor Thompson announced that his budget proposal will "include a substantial investment [for the University of Wisconsin] in furthering biotechnology research and setting up an incubator for transferring that technology to the private sector..."

Copies of most of the governors’ addresses can be found on the National Governors’ Association’s website at http://www.nga.org