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Tech Talkin’ Govs 2022: Innovation agendas from the governors’ State of the State addresses

January 20, 2022
By: Ellen Marrison

This week we continue our review of the governors’ State of the State addresses for news impacting a state’s innovation economy and new initiatives the governors may be announcing on that front. This week we bring you updates from governors’ plans in Colorado, Kansas, New Jersey, South Dakota and Washington.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (Jan. 13)

Gov. Jared Polis, in an effort to foster the entrepreneurial spirit in the state, said he would work with the secretary of state and others to make it free for Coloradans to start their own business. On education, Polis said he has a plan for “historic investment in kindergarten through 12th grade education,” and also said he is “proposing stronger support for our state’s institutions of higher education, including an expansion of available financial aid, and investments to help reduce costs and keep tuition flat.”

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (Jan. 11)

Gov. Laura Kelly announced that her budget includes a total freeze on college tuition increases.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (Jan. 11)

Gov. Phil Murphy said a new public-private partnership, the Innovation Evergreen Fund, “will get to work pairing both public and private investment to support the next generation of leading-edge technology startup businesses.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (Jan. 11)

Gov. Kristi Noem called for the elimination of fees associated with starting or renewing a business with the secretary of state in South Dakota. She also plans to expand the cybersecurity program at Dakota State University with a $30 million investment.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (Jan. 11)

Gov. Jay Inslee said his budget would create a Poverty Reduction Workgroup and use their recommendations to help “create a $125 million reinvestment fund to address economic and social disparities across decades that are the legacy of federal policies that hurt communities of color.” Inslee also said he is building on the previous climate work the state has done and putting “$626 million more toward this noble effort.” He would also combine state money with one-time and new federal funds available to “provide nearly $1 billion to fund clean transportation programs and activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector; preserve the infrastructure we have; and support critical investments to improve ferry service reliability. This includes $324 million to support ferry electrification. We desperately need boats – cleaner boats – to give Washingtonians reliable ferry services.”

Part 1 coverage posted January 13 covering Kentucky, New York, Vermont, Arizona, Idaho and Iowa:

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (Jan. 5)

Gov. Andy Beshear promised that his forthcoming budget will make “historic investments” in education; create a fund for investing in development sites; invest in essential workers; and, ensure “we remain a leader in agriculture technology in Eastern Kentucky and will build on our pharmaceutical footprint in Northern Kentucky … .”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (Jan. 5)

Gov. Kathy Hochul, noting that her address was the first time a woman delivered the state of the state in New York, outlined what she is calling “a whole New Era for New York.” On healthcare, the governor set a goal to grow the healthcare workforce by 20 percent over the next five years and expand the capacity of the state’s medical institutions so more students can train for high-demand healthcare jobs, which would be made possible with free tuition and stipends if they remain in state after graduation.

Hochul said she will “invest smartly and strategically in workforce development programs which simply means matching people to training, to jobs.” To increase the number of trained workers, she said she will reboot the Workforce Development Office and house it in Empire State Development to build stronger partnerships with employers and move funding through the Regional Economic Development Councils. To incentivize success, Hochul would tie a portion of workforce funding to high job placement rates and make it easier to qualify as an MWBE (minority and/or women-owned business enterprise).

To expand educational opportunities, Hochul would make the state’s tuition assistance program available to part-time students. She outlined a vision for the SUNY system, that would include “recruiting world-class faculty, creating flagship institutions at Stony Brook and the University at Buffalo, investing more in our premier research facilities at Binghamton and Albany, leaning into the strengths of our four-year comprehensive colleges, our technology colleges, and our community colleges, providing childcare on each campus, Increasing enrollment to 500,000 students by 2030, making SUNY a national leader on equity, increasing the number and diversity of people in every community with degrees and credentials that launch middle class careers and ensuring that SUNY campuses spur economic growth in their surrounding communities.”

A $1 billion investment in New York’s digital infrastructure would boost innovation and economic growth, especially in the most remote communities, Hochul said.

Hochul said a move to increase the Environmental Bond Act to $4 billion would go on the ballot this fall to provide resources to help fight against climate change. She also announced a $500 million investment in offshore wind energy.

The full State of the State Book is available here.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (Jan. 5)

Gov. Phil Scott outlined the challenges facing the state, specifically workforce challenges resulting from a high cost of living, which has led to people and families leaving the state, “creating a vicious cycle that’s been difficult to break.” He went on to say that there is opportunity to transform the state. His proposals will be geared toward the workforce, and he said the state will invest more to help cover interns’ wages. “If we make smart changes to current policy, we can open the door to Career and Technical Education, giving kids multiple paths to a lucrative career and filling these crucial jobs,” Scott said. “But more importantly, we need to do more to encourage students to pursue these programs.”

The governor said he will again propose a comprehensive relocation package that markets to people with past ties or current interest in Vermont and that his budget will support the Senate’s worker relocation incentive program to bring in more families that in turn contribute to the economy.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (Jan. 10)

Gov. Doug Ducey credited Arizona workers for fueling the “healthy and transformed” economy, and noted that the “manufacturing sector is on fire,” even outpacing construction. He called for investing in workers, “arming them with the skills they need for our growing semiconductor and advanced manufacturing industries. … Our budget makes historic investments into community colleges to empower our people with a quality education and the skills of the future.” He called for a program to waive veterans’ spouses’ tuition at in-state universities and community colleges. To secure the state’s water future, the governor proposed a $1 billion investment in desalination technology.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little (Jan. 10)

The governor proposed making “the largest investment in Idaho education, ever,” adding $1.1 billion over the next five years to improve Idaho education. He also proposed “$50 million for the new Empowering Parents grants. The grants will cover things such as computers, tutoring, internet connectivity and other needs so students have the best chance for success.” He also proposed $12 million to establish a new Cyber Response and Defense Fund.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (Jan. 11)  

In noting the pressing need for healthcare workers, Gov. Kim Reynolds said the state is launching a new healthcare registered apprenticeship program that will provide funding to at least five communities to scale a program that offers students hands-on experience in medical settings while earning a wage.

Reynolds also is introducing new legislation that will upgrade Iowa’s fuel infrastructure to offer higher fuel blends. She is also proposing to invest in carbon-capture solutions to sustain and build on the state’s position in renewable energy.

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