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Tech Talkin’ Govs 2023: Governors’ innovation vision from their annual addresses

February 09, 2023
By: Ellen Marrison

After a busy election season that saw gubernatorial elections in 36 states, newly elected and re-elected governors delivered their annual State of the State addresses, kicking off new programs and reviewing the conditions of their states. SSTI reviews the speeches every year and covers news of new developments and initiatives the governors have highlighted as they relate to the innovation economy. New programs are laid out here in the governors own words as excerpts from their State of the State or budget addresses. Not all governors delivered a State of the State, and some that did may not have revealed new innovation-related initiatives and so are not included in our coverage. Common initiatives among the governors that touched on innovation included an emphasis on workforce, education and broadband; water issues for Western governors; and, clean energy.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey delivered her 2023 State of the State on March 7 and called on legislators to “look ahead and crate an economic development strategy for the 2030s.”

“… I am calling on you to get behind our playbook for economic success, what I am calling The Game Plan.”

“We will create a promising future by investing in large, shovel-ready sites and take steps to accelerate their development. We will spur innovation by stimulating the creation of high-tech jobs, sparking growth in rural areas and supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses.”

On the educational front, the governor proposed doubling the funding for computer science education in Alabama.

“ … I am proposing we establish the Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences to address the growing healthcare worker shortage we are predicted to experience in the coming years. This new healthcare high school… will offer an innovative curriculum for 9th through 12th graders, exposing them to a diversity of STEM and healthcare opportunities, as well as hands-on clinical training experiences.”

The governor also announced that the state would become a partner in the Saban Center, a partnership between the Saban family and the city of Tuscaloosa, that will be an interactive and immersive STEM experience for young people from all over the state.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy gave his fifth State of the State address Jan. 23.

“We’ll continue to lead in the production of oil, of natural gas, of conventional and critical minerals. At the same time, our potential will allow us to emerge as the global leader in new forms of low and no carbon energy. We’ll unlock our stranded North Slope gas to power Alaska, to supply our Asian allies, and to produce zero carbon energy in the form of hydrogen and ammonia. We’ll take advantage of Cook Inlet’s resources with nearly 20 percent of the world’s tidal energy and 50 gigatons of carbon storage potential for industrial and international customers. We’ll attract investment and generate new revenue through our forests, our coastlines, and our oil and gas basins.”

“As we look to the future, we’ll tap into new markets for our resources, we’ll responsibly develop them, and we’ll remain the good stewards of our environment that we’ve always been. We’ll be a hub for energy, for logistics, for Arctic shipping, for unmanned aircraft, and for national defense. We’ll be a leader in renewable and nuclear energy.”

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, in her first State of the State address on Jan. 9, 2023, focused on education and the state’s water supply. “With the release of my budget on Friday, you will see historic investment in schools to address capital needs ….”

On higher education, Hobbs said, “we’re expanding the Arizona Promise Scholarship Program, which last year made college more affordable for over 4,000 families, by including funding capacity for an additional 10,000 students who will now have an opportunity to pursue a college degree but otherwise would have been held back by the associated costs. 

“But we’re not stopping there. In line with the will of Arizona’s voters in passing Proposition 308 this past November, my budget allocates $40 million to create the Promise for DREAMers Scholarship Program to cover all students, regardless of immigration status.”

“… [M]y administration has heard loud and clear that re-establishing the Governor’s Energy Office is a priority for communities across the state. In response, we will relaunch this entity as the Governor’s Office of Resiliency, which will focus on water, energy, and land use solutions. This office will help coordinate efforts with the many departments, tribal governments, universities, organizations, and others involved in this effort.”

“Next, my administration will issue an executive order to launch the Governor’s Water Policy Council to modernize and expand the Arizona Groundwater Management Act.”

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis in his Jan. 17 State of the State noted the importance of water to the state’s economy and emphasized clean energy and workforce initiatives.

“For every dollar the state invested in Water Plan grants last year, we got four dollars back. In the last fiscal year, we awarded more than $23 million in grants that supported nearly $100 million in projects, and we’re hoping to once again position Colorado to punch above our weight and pull down major investments from the federal government. … But the most important thing we can do for water security is protect our waterways and rights. Hotter, drier conditions have strained our resources in a time when demand continues to grow. Our rivers and streams aren’t just life sources for Colorado, but for the entire American West. We must continue to fight for our rights and lead the way to a sustainable future.”

“And I’m proud to propose $120 million annually in new, clean energy tax credits. With this tax relief and incentives, we can improve our air quality, accelerate innovation, and make more rapid progress towards our goals, while saving people money at the pump and on their utility bills, and increasing access to clean, low-cost transportation options.”

“We are also focused on continued development of clean energy technologies of the future like geothermal and hydrogen. As Chair of the bipartisan Western Governors Association I am championing geothermal energy through our ‘Heat Beneath our Feet’ initiative. And I’m excited that my budget request provides funding for Colorado Mesa University to expand campus-wide geothermal systems, with a goal to become the first university in America to be fully powered by geothermal. And under the leadership of Will Toor at the Energy Office, our administration is also leading a multi-state consortium with Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico to gain additional federal investment as a hydrogen hub.”

“I look forward to working with the General Assembly to make Colorado a place where geothermal, hydrogen, and carbon capture technologies can and will succeed. While we do our part to improve air quality and reduce pollution, we are also preparing our state for the hotter, drier climate that we are experiencing.”

“Let’s ensure that every student has access to career-connected learning while they are in high school and let’s reward those schools that are doing more to help their students succeed in the workforce and in life! Whether it’s dual and concurrent enrollment, career and technical education, work-based learning and apprenticeship, or even receiving an industry certification or associate’s degree.

“I’m proposing we expand Care Forward Colorado to include free training for other in-demand fields in the public and private sector like construction, firefighting, law enforcement, nursing, and early childhood education. In addition, we know that the number of Coloradans pursuing postsecondary education or training right out of high school has been declining. To address this challenge, I am proposing a new scholarship for graduating high school seniors in the class of 2024 who pursue postsecondary education, training, or certifications. The reality is that today’s economy demands access to quick skill acquisition, whether that is a one, two or four year degree, professional training, an apprenticeship, or on-the job training.”

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont revealed more details in his FY 2024-2025 biennial budget address on Feb. 8 than he had in his earlier State of the State. In his budget address he said:

“Our budget rewards employers who provide on-the-job training and expands the Office of Workforce Strategy to provide training to fill those jobs. A high-paying job in less than six months of training – that’s a pay raise for you, a stronger economy for all of us.

“We will continue to develop short-term certificate training programs working with employers large and small – as well as the trades – to train the next generation of workers. Some of the major workforce industries of focus include manufacturing, healthcare, information technology, transportation, green jobs, and life sciences.”

“In addition to increasing investments in affordable housing, our budget proposes an additional $200 million for workforce housing, which will allow the state to provide more housing options for you and more financing options for developers, allowing them to build much more quickly.”

Delaware Gov. John Carney, Jan. 19, in his State of the State said that while his entire career in public service had been focused on creating jobs, currently the “biggest challenge we have is filling the job openings that are out there.” Knowing that other states find themselves in similar positions, the governor highlighted the need for a skilled workforce and commented that “our colleges and universities have never been more important in this work.”

“With the support of the American Rescue Plan, we’re building: a Clinical Lab at Delaware State University; an Allied Health Center at Delaware Tech in Wilmington; and a state-of-the-art laboratory on the site of the McKinly Lab at the University of Delaware.”

He connected the future workforce with today’s learners and a high-quality education.

“My budget proposal next week will include more than $50 million for Opportunity Funding. That’s on top of more than $100 million in investments we’ve already made. As most people know, Opportunity Funding provides direct support for low-income children and English learners.”

As the lowest-lying state in the nation, Carney said “the effects of climate change and sea level rise on Delaware communities are real,” and that the state needs to take action. “With the help of federal infrastructure funding, we will accelerate our efforts to build out Delaware’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure. And we’ll restore investments in the Clean Water Trust – to protect our waterways and drinking water.”

Georgia Gov. Brain Kemp, beginning his second term as governor, delivered his State of the State Jan. 25, sharing

“… [F]or the first time in over a decade – and in the 30th year of both this program and the Georgia Lottery – we are once again fulfilling Governor Zell Miller’s vision and returning HOPE Scholarship and Grant awards to 100% of tuition!”

“We will also continue to focus on apprenticeships, Dual Enrollment pathways, and degrees aligned with the needs of job creators to grow our talent pipeline.”

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green delivered his first State of the State address Jan. 23 and addressed the need to address an economy “too heavily dependent on tourism alone,” and said the state faced challenges as it “wrestled with a housing crisis that forced too many of our people out of our state in search of economic opportunity and more affordable homes” and suffered environmental threats from pollution and climate change.

“I announced our commitment to providing 100 million dollars for a climate impact fund steered by the Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption Commission. We are committed to pursuing climate change strategies that are equitable, culturally responsive and resilient. This includes looking at the resiliency of the power grid, renewable energy, sustainable transportation, land use planning, sea level rise, health, natural and cultural resource impacts, and much more.”

“In the coming years, we will reposition our economy to pursue global opportunities — retooling tourism, developing green technologies, and expanding our reach into international markets for our small businesses and our world-class professional sector. We will begin to move our economy beyond tourism, become energy independent, and fulfill our potential as a economic and renewable energy leader in the Pacific.”

“I am pleased to share that we are working on an initiative with federal, community, and international partners to pursue investments in cutting-edge hydrogen technologies for Hawai‘i. Through cooperation with partners in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States Congress, this technology can help stabilize the Pacific’s energy resilience, promote our defense infrastructure, and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. To that end, we are preparing a historic application to potentially bring in over a billion dollars in federal and private sector investments to our state through a regional Hydrogen Hub.

“The integration of hydrogen technology into our grid, along with the continued expansion of traditional renewable energy infrastructure, will give utilities, businesses, and local talent an international advantage, with the potential to turn our state into a regional energy exporter.”

Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s State of the State on Jan. 9 was one that mentioned water, a theme from several governors this year, as well as education.

“I am very proud to announce my budget provides access to a scholarship of $8,500 starting next year to graduating high school students in Idaho to attend an Idaho university, community college, career technical or workforce training program of their choice. … The ‘Idaho Launch’ scholarship will be the single largest investment in career technical and workforce education in state history.”

“Now I am proposing more investments in water quantity and water quality infrastructure to not only reduce the burden on local property taxpayers but also to secure abundant clean water for years to come.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker gave his State of the State and Budget Address on Feb. 15, and called for a greater investment in higher education.

“With a $100 million increase to MAP [Monetary Award Program grant], we can make history. Together with Pell grants, virtually everyone at or below median income in Illinois can go to community college tuition-free. That means higher wages and better jobs in healthcare, IT, construction management, manufacturing, accounting, and much more.”

Pritzker also focused on workforce development “by investing another $25 million into Illinois Works for diverse hiring in the trades, $10 million for high school vocational training for the electric vehicle workforce, $1 million for data center operator training, and $20 million in grants to recruit, train, and rapidly upskill workers for job openings at Illinois companies.”

“After a successful first round of grants, we are adding an additional $20 million to our Rebuild Illinois Downtowns and Main Streets Capital Program to spruce up and modernize central business districts all across Illinois so small businesses will thrive. To make it easier to do business in Illinois, we are creating a “one-stop business portal” to help small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs figure out what they need to do to start and grow a business, get permits and win business with state government. And with equity as a guiding principle, we are providing $10 million in assistance for minority-owned businesses who plan to expand in Illinois.”

Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb’s State of the State on Jan. 10 focused on “three sets of big goals” and said they could be achieved because of revenue and population growth and responsible budgets.

“Now, to do this, and capitalize on the industries of the future that are looking for their new homes somewhere in America – like semiconductors and electric vehicles – means we must formalize the economic development tools you provided us in the last session and establish them in the budget.”

“That includes finishing I-69 next year, connecting Evansville to Indianapolis three years ahead of schedule, double-tracking the South Shore rail line in northwest Indiana, and connecting homes, and schools, and businesses via broadband internet – even on our most remote terrain.”

“So, I’m asking the legislature for another $500 million to launch READI 2.0 – to lock in more transformational projects. And while READI [the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative] is our secret weapon to attract more talent in our rural, suburban and urban communities, it’s irrefutable that we must do more to prepare and retain our homegrown talent, too. …  I’m asking the legislature to support a $184 million increase in higher education funding, and support the Commission for Higher Education’s proposal to reward our world-class universities for keeping their graduates in careers in our state.”

“Another pathway to brain gain is enrolling more first-generation, and low-income minority college-goers, which is why we should support Martin University’s mission.

“And we can easily ensure thousands more students have their college opportunity paid by automatically enrolling all financially eligible students in the immensely successful 21st Century Scholarship Program, once and for all!

“Finally, but no less importantly, we must further invest in adult learning and workforce training in a variety of tailored ways – including increased support for our Next Level Jobs program, expanded access to the Excel Centers, a pilot program to incentivize recipients of Unemployment Insurance to obtain their high school diplomas – and then on to a job!”

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly gave her State of the State address Jan. 24, said the state is in “a new era of growth” but noted that there “are not enough skilled workers for all the jobs we’re creating.”

“My budget increases funding for the Office of Registered Apprenticeship, giving more Kansans the tools they need to join the modern workforce.”

Kelly also noted that a diminishing water supply is an issue facing the state. “In this year’s budget, we fully fund the State Water Plan for the second year in a row. We’ll divert more money to water projects by paying off other debt early…and we’ll make additional investments to work with our producers and irrigators to ensure our water quality and quantity.”

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards delivered his final State of the State address (he is term limited and this is the final year of his second term) April 10. While much of his address was focused on a look back, he also addressed climate change and its impact on the state.

“That is why we established the Climate Initiatives Task Force to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. I spoke earlier about diversifying our economy. Our “all-of-the-above” strategy has driven new energy investment, while continuing to support companies meeting the current market demand for oil & gas. The result: Louisiana is as a global leader in the energy transition.”

The governor also continued his fight to raise the minimum wage, saying that it is “embarrassing and frankly immoral that we have not raised our minimum wage - even more so now with inflation.” The governor also said he will be supporting paid family and medical leave legislation, and equal pay legislation.

In Maine, Gov. Janet Mills gave a Budget Address, Feb. 14, looked forward to budget projections for the next two years that forecast $1.1 billion more than the current baseline budget.

In addition to continuing the state’s free community college program for another two years, Mills called for an increase in higher education funding.

“My budget also includes $71 million for the University System, the Maine Community College System, and Maine Maritime Academy, which includes a 4.5 percent across the board increase – along with $10 million to boost the Maine State Grant Program, increasing the maximum grant award to $3,000 to help more Maine students afford the cost of college.”

“…[O]ur Community Resilience Partnership is providing grants and assistance to more than 130 communities across Maine to reduce their carbon emissions, transition them to clean energy, and protect them from rising seas and extreme weather events. … I am proposing $3 million more to continue this important work and ensure that our communities are better prepared to protect our people from the impacts of climate change.”

She also called on the state to diversify its energy sources. “I am announcing tonight that I am directing my Energy Office to draft legislation requiring that 100 percent of our electricity come from clean energy by 2040.”

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, Feb. 1, in his first State of the State:

“… The Serve Act, that will create a Service Year Option. While our young people give back, they also lay the foundation for their future success through job training and mentorship programs, and create a lifelong habit of service to our state. Something we so desperately need. 

“Whether they're preparing our state for climate change, tutoring our students, or caring for the sick, young people should have the option to perform important service today and build a foundation for our shared future.”

“Our state government has begun to accept real-world experience as a substitute for a college education. This is a smart, common sense approach to allow all Marylanders to serve. But we must go further. To rebuild state government, and to give all Marylanders an opportunity to be a part of it, my administration will be looking at current standards to make sure they meet the requirements for the jobs we must fill.”

“Permanently extending the enhanced Earned Income Tax Credit and expanding the Child Tax Credit is how we begin. This push will make nearly 40,000 families eligible for one of the most successful child poverty tools this country has ever seen. By reducing the number of children living in poverty, and the severity of poverty, we are changing what has long determined a kid's future before they even get a say. 

“And this helps everyone. For every dollar invested in credits like these, there are up to ten dollars in economic benefit and a range of improved outcomes for communities, from higher-quality childrens' health to reduced crime rates.

“If we do this, and we raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and index it to inflation, we can lift more than 152,000 children in Maryland to the next rung of the economic ladder.”

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey laid out some of the proposals in a prepared letter to the people from her FY 2024 budget proposal on March 1. Her $55.5 billion budget would fully fund the third-year phase-in of the Student Opportunity Act and “invests an unprecedented level of resources into achieving our administration’s bold energy and environmental goals, for the first time ever dedicating 1 percent of the overall state budget to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. This will expand the state’s ability to safeguard public health through environmental stewardship, climate adaptation and mitigation, and clean energy expansion, while making sure these efforts are realized equitably across all communities.

“These resources include first-time operating funding for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. In conjunction with funding planned in an upcoming supplemental budget, this will triple the budget for the MassCEC to keep Massachusetts on the cutting edge of clean technology and decarbonization and forge new partnerships with public higher education institutions and trades to increase the amount of training, re-training, and opportunities to work in the clean energy industry.”

At Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Jan. 25 State of the State, the governor said, “… I am excited to announce: Make it in Michigan.  … Make it in Michigan proposes a sustainable funding source for our economic development efforts while growing talent, making our communities better places to live, and helping our state become a place where anyone can thrive.”

“Let’s develop that core strength by manufacturing the building blocks of the future in Michigan. Let’s keep bringing supply chains of cars and chips home. And let’s increase domestic clean energy production, like wind and solar, so we can produce more energy in America instead of overseas.”

“To help young people get jobs to ‘make stuff and grow stuff,’ let’s support talent development and keep closing in on our 60 by 30 goal to have 60% of people earn a degree or skills certificate by 2030.  

“Let’s keep funding the bipartisan Michigan Achievement Scholarship, which lowers the cost of higher education—community college, private, or public university—by thousands of dollars for most students and makes college tuition-free for 65% of graduating seniors.”

“Let’s fund apprenticeships and initiatives that are putting nearly 200,000 Michiganders on tuition-free paths to higher education or skills training, helping them land good-paying, union jobs. To help even more people ‘Make it in Michigan,’ let’s take steps to lower the age for Michigan Reconnect from 25 to 21.  Reconnect is our bipartisan program that offers anyone 25 and older a tuition-free associate’s degree or skills training.”

“Employers know that today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce and entrepreneurs. We need tutoring to get our kids back on track for Michigan’s long-term economic success. Let’s fund MI Kids Back on Track [a program to offer every child personalized learning support to get them back on track for long-term success] before spring break.”

“We also have billions in federal resources from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law headed our way. To invest them as efficiently as possible, I established the Michigan Infrastructure Office. This year, it will redouble its efforts, helping to build up every kind of infrastructure—roads, high-speed internet, clean energy, and lead-free pipes.”

“We must pursue climate action while creating jobs, lowering costs, and becoming a hub of clean energy production. Last year, we unveiled the MI Healthy Climate Plan, and this year, we should make bold investments in climate action to deliver on its targets.”

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz was among the last to deliver his address on April 19. Walz, who now enjoys a Democratic state trifecta as he begins his second term in office, said this is “a moment we will not let go to waste.” The governor listed what the unified legislature has already done to strengthen the economy this session, and spoke of new environmental and educational efforts:

“We established a carbon free electricity standard that will transition our state to 100% clean energy by 2040. It will help our state win the race to create new jobs and new industry.”

Walz said his budget plan “invests billion into the education system, including more than 10 percent on the general education funding formula over the next four years.”

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, in his Jan. 30 State of the State, called for an elimination of the state’s income tax to help “build the best possible environment for entrepreneurs ….”

Missouri Gov. Michael Parson’s Jan. 18 State of the State touted the state’s historically low unemployment rate and its Missouri One Start job training program. “Its success is why we are continuing our investment of $27 million dollars for additional Missouri One Start training projects to help recruit and train skilled workers for companies choosing our state.”

He also said that the state will build on last year’s broadband expansion, and plans to invest “an additional $250 million to do even more.”

“We are investing $3 million dollars in Apprenticeship Missouri to expand apprenticeship opportunities with a focus on IT, public health, education, and public safety, among others.”

“This year, we are seeking $2.2 million dollars for our 27 job centers across the state. With more than 195,000 job openings in Missouri, we must make sure Missourians who need a job get a job. Additionally, to further support career opportunities for our young people, we are requesting $500,000 dollars for our Jobs for America’s Graduates to help more high school students further their education or go directly into the workforce. For college bound Missourians, we are increasing core funding to our Community Colleges and 4-year institutions, by seven percent… the largest increase in more than 25 years. Additionally, we are investing another $275 million dollars for capital improvement projects on our college campuses… We are also proposing an additional $800,000 dollars for our Fast Track program to ensure that any qualified person seeking a scholarship is able to receive it. For our high school seniors wanting to further their education, we are also again fully funding A+ scholarships. AND to help promote workforce development on college campuses, we are recommending $38 million dollars for our MoExcels program to expand employer-driven education and training programs.”

The governor also noted that the semiconductor chip supply chain is a hurdle for manufacturing companies in the state. “To address this issue…for the first time…we are dedicating $25 million dollars for research, program development, and training to increase our competitiveness for semiconductor manufacturing right here in Missouri.”

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, Jan. 25, State of the State:

“We must also make it easier for small business owners, family farmers, and family ranchers to thrive by further reforming the business equipment tax. For too long, owning the equipment needed to operate has come with a heavy, and unnecessary, tax burden. That’s why we tripled the business equipment tax exemption in 2021. And it’s why we’re working with the legislature this year, to raise the business equipment tax exemption to $1 million for every small business in Montana. Taken together, we’ll eliminate this tax burden for more than 5,000 small businesses.”

“Let’s pass the Individualized Education Act, sponsored by Senator Shannon O’Brien. Let’s also support work-based learning, allowing students to get on-the-job experience and apply that experience to their high school graduation requirements.”

“We must modernize our way of thinking about education beyond traditional geographic barriers. We can do that through Representative Llew Jones’ bill to transform the Montana Digital Academy. I ask you to pass this bill and get it to my desk.”

“Now more than ever, Montana needs a highly skilled workforce – which is why we created the Montana Trades Education Credit in 2021. As we anticipated, Montana employers are taking advantage of the credit to upskill our workforce. And this year, our budget nearly doubles the Montana Trades Education Credit – boosting this successful program that builds the skills of hardworking Montanans.”

Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen, one of the newly-elected governors, gave his first State of the State on Jan. 26.

“I am also recommending that the state assume responsibility for funding our community colleges across the state, which will immediately cut property taxes by nearly $300 million a year.”

“…  I’m proposing the creation of the Education Future Fund with an investment of $1 Billion dollars in fiscal year 23-24 and $250 Million each year thereafter.”

“…[M]y budget provides $39.4 million to fund over 4,200 scholarships for Nebraska students who attend any of Nebraska’s institutes of higher education. This helps us to compete for our kids and keep them here. I want to inspire and challenge Nebraska stakeholders and business leaders to pick up the ball and do business differently. We need to reach out to K-12 and build relationships with our kids and give them hope. Scholarship them so that they can get an education and work in your business for a minimum of five years in return.”

“I’m also committing $20 million dollars to continue the ‘The Good Life is Calling’ campaign to market Nebraska. We simply have to brag about Nebraska across this country, with a focus on attracting top talent.”

“Water is vital to Nebraska. The drought makes it even more urgent. We must build the Perkins County Canal. We have had stakeholders from across many sectors in Nebraska working together for more than 20 years for Nebraska’s water rights via the Perkins Canal. My budget recommendation includes fully funding the canal.”

“Our team has also created the Nebraska Broadband Office. We have to get broadband across Nebraska completed.”

Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo delivered his first State of the State on Jan. 23 and cautioned against overspending the unexpected budget surplus and said his budget “sets aside more than $2 billion dollars in total savings to safeguard against cuts to education and critical programs in the years to come.”

“Included in those savings is $315 million dollars for the Nevada Way Fund, a new sub-account to be used for transformational economic development projects and critical infrastructure needs in areas such as emerging markets in the north and south ends of the Las Vegas Valley, as well as in other emerging markets in Nevada. Approval of the Nevada Way funds will be authorized by the newly formed Nevada Way Leadership Committee, made up of the Governor and the bipartisan leadership of the Nevada Legislature.”

“For the first time in Nevada history, we will allocate over $730 million dollars to the Education Stabilization Account, which is a rainy day fund solely dedicated to K-12.

“Interest from this account will be innovatively used to provide scholarships to Nevada high school graduates who attend Nevada colleges or universities, and who are willing to teach in Nevada schools for at least five years.”

“We will also: increase funding for workforce innovation, to better respond to the needs of various organizations for workforce training; invest $75 million dollars for the long-term stability of the state’s Millennium Scholarship program; invest $65 million dollars in deferred maintenance for aging buildings; put $20 million dollars more in graduate student stipends and to support research at our system institutions; add $9 million dollars to build-up the faculty at UNLV Medical School, so that we can accommodate more medical students; and, appropriate $6 million dollars to continue state support for Promise Scholarships, for Nevada high school graduates attending our community colleges.”

The governor promised to consolidate workforce services into a single Office of Workforce, that will “develop and execute an integrated plan and will oversee the 17 revenue streams sourced to the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act.”

“Tax dollars should rightly follow the demand for services, regardless of political boundaries. I am asking the Legislature to work with me to ensure that as expiring tax abatements become new tax dollars, those incremental funds are directed to the communities most impacted by our state’s growth.”

He called water the greatest challenge that the state may be facing in the next decade.

“Southern Nevada’s unique ability to capture, treat and return water to the Colorado River is a clear competitive advantage, but our future is dependent on our ability to conserve and prioritize our use of water. It is also dependent on our ability to work with the seven basin states and Mexico to deal with short and long-term water resource solutions. Nevada must lead by example and demonstrate our firm resolve to achieve a new balance on the river. Going forward, I will be more involved along with Nevada’s best water experts, in future negotiations with other states, purveyors, and users to bring about necessary change.”

“… I am very proud to announce tonight that we will be making a $400 million dollar investment in broadband to accelerate statewide connectivity.”

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu delivered his 2023 Budget Address on Feb. 14. The governor said he believes all jobs in the future will rely on computers or computer science in some form, and that workforce demands already outpace available skills.

“I am proposing New Hampshire’s greatest computer science opportunity in history.  $5M towards a computer science initiative that creates a statewide credentialing system and pays incentives to hundreds of new computer science teachers to become certified in their schools at No Cost. This budget also doubles down on real world applications by being the first state in America to bring New Hampshire’s FIRST Robotics to every middle and high school classroom in the state with their new Experiential Robotics Platform. This exciting program allows students to grow their skills and prepare their pathway into the workforce.”

“This budget includes landmark legislation to grant universal license recognition for the professions in New Hampshire that require a license. If you have a substantially similar license and are in good standing in another state, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have a license on Day One in New Hampshire!  If a small business owner needs a license to do their job or operate their business in their current state — New Hampshire will recognize their license here, incentivizing working professionals across the nation to move to New Hampshire.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, State of the State, Jan. 10: “We must recognize that in the new, post-pandemic business environment, not every new job created for a New Jerseyan is going to be housed in a physical office in New Jersey. For many New Jerseyans, working remotely is here to stay. So, let’s take this moment to focus on incenting jobs in New Jersey, wherever they are, regardless of whether they are in an office building in Newark or at a kitchen table in Cherry Hill.”

“We are primed to be a leader on the East Coast in offshore-wind and a national leader in component manufacturing and logistics for the wind industry as a whole.”

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, delivered her fifth State of the State on Jan. 17 and called for increased investments in housing and infrastructure.

“…  I’m also calling for $128 million in water infrastructure improvements, $146 million in statewide broadband expansion, and updates to the New Mexico Film Tax Credit so we can attract even more businesses to communities in every corner of our state and redouble our investments in critical workforce development and job training programs.”

“In the days to come, we will redouble our commitment by launching a $75 million Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund to create sustained funding for state programs that protect our environment, combat issues like drought and water scarcity, and address the roots of climate change. This fund will bolster initiatives like the River Stewardship Program, which safeguards our waterways so New Mexicans can continue to hunt, fish and access clean water—offering economic benefits for this generation and those to follow while strengthening our fragile ecosystems.”

“We will also take another step in our sustainability efforts by codifying our zero-emissions goal in state statute ….”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, in her State of the State, Jan. 10 talked about weaning the state from fossil fuels saying, “… I'm proposing a plan to end the sale of any new fossil-fuel-powered heating equipment by 2030. And I'm calling for all new construction to be zero-emission, starting in 2025 for small buildings and 2028 for large buildings.”

“… [W]e’re pursuing a nation-leading Cap-and-Invest program to cap greenhouse emissions, invest in the clean energy economy, and prioritize the health and economic well-being of our families.”

The governor also pointed to the 275-page book containing “147 thoughtful policy proposals” for a full picture of her upcoming agenda.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper delivered his State of the State address on March 6. In speaking to education, the governor asked legislators to “carefully consider” the report of the bipartisan Commission on the Future of Public Universities, which he said he created to propose changes to the way university leadership is selected.

“In addition to education, we’re tackling the challenge of our robust growth with more critical infrastructure like roads, bridges, ports and rail. And thanks to the generational investments of the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law we’re investing more than $2 billion to do what once seemed a faraway dream. We’re going to ensure that every home in North Carolina has access to high-speed internet. And our Office of Digital Equity and Literacy — the first in the nation — is working to ensure that everyone can get online with affordable devices and good training.”

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, State of the State, Jan. 3: “… [W]e’ve proposed investing $500 million between this biennium and next to capitalize the Clean Sustainable Energy Loan Fund. This infusion, along with $50 million for grants through the fund, will support clean energy projects such as carbon capture, which represents a path forward for baseload coal power through innovation over regulation.”

The governor announced that the Federal Aviation Administration granted initial approval to allow one of the state’s private sector partners to fly a drone, beyond visual line of sight, using Vantis, an air traffic control network for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations, and highlighted work the state is doing to lead the sector. “To build on this momentum, our budget proposes a $30 million investment in Vantis and $7 million for the Grand Sky UAS business and aviation park in Grand Forks.”

“As national and state enrollment trends decrease, it’s vital we provide our institutions the resources to respond to workforce needs more rapidly. We urge the legislature to advance the proposed $10 million innovation workforce grant to provide the resources necessary to quickly create programs that respond to those needs. Our research universities also are teaming up with 11 universities in five states (ND, SD, WY, MT and ID) on the Regional Technology and Innovation Alliance. Our administration will work with this alliance and our regional governors to ensure we succeed in our pursuit of federal research grants to advance the next generation of technology and reduce our nation’s reliance on foreign adversaries for critical technology such as microchips.”

“… [O]pen and unfilled jobs are a reminder of our need to make good on our commitment to provide the appropriated $88 million in matching funds for private sector investment for the designated career and technical centers across the state, so construction can begin this spring. Even if that means advancing funds from the Bank of North Dakota until federal funding is released. It means following through on the recommendations of the Workforce Development Council and providing $20 million for a competitive Regional Workforce Impact Grant program. It means investing in child care to make it easier for North Dakotans, especially young families, to participate in the workforce. It means investing in automation by expanding the successful automation tax credit, incenting industries to adopt automation through matching grants, and investing in a workforce transition training program to retrain and upskill citizens pursuing new opportunities through automation. And we can double our investment in the Native American Scholarship program, building on private sector efforts to expand educational and employment opportunities for tribal members across North Dakota.”

“As part of our comprehensive workforce initiative, the Department of Commerce has refreshed and expanded its “Find the Good Life in North Dakota” workforce attraction campaign. This marketing campaign drives those interested in relocating into a pipeline that connects job seekers with community champions.”

Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine, Jan. 31, State of the State:

“To reach more students and to provide better training for 21st Century jobs, our budget will invest $300 million of one-time funding for capital improvements and equipment for career tech education.”

“If a child’s passion instead takes them to college, many families worry if they can afford it.  And so, for the first time ever — we will provide need-based financial aid to students choosing to enroll in community colleges or university regional campuses. 

“Our budget will also expand the state’s need-based scholarship, known as Ohio College Opportunity Grants, in two very important ways. First, we will significantly expand eligibility to include many more working Ohio families. And second, we will increase the scholarship amount to $6,000 per student, renewable for each of four years.

“Further, to reward academic excellence, if you are in the top five percent of your high school graduating class -- wherever you go to high school in Ohio -- we plan to reward you with a $5,000 a year scholarship, also renewable for each of four years, if you choose to attend a college or university here in Ohio.”

“…[O]ur budget creates the ‘All Ohio Future Fund’ — a one-time investment that will provide a lifetime of returns!  We will make an unprecedented $2.5 billion investment to prepare the infrastructure of large economic development sites located in every single part of Ohio.  With the development of these sites, every single Ohio citizen will be within commuting distance of at least one of these sites.”

“In our budget, we will invest an additional $150 million to create new Innovation Hubs in regions throughout the State.  These hubs will bring together each community’s strengths to encourage more economic development and attract the very best talent.”

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, beginning his second term in office, delivered his State of the State on Feb. 6.

“In my executive budget, I am proposing the following initiatives: Education Savings Accounts. … The Innovation School Fund to help start more schools like the Aviation Academy in Norman. … Expanding concurrent enrollment so that high schoolers can more easily earn college credits.”

“Let’s make sure our universities and higher education are partnering with companies to train the workforce of tomorrow. I want to challenge OU and OSU to grow and deliver a quality education to 40,000 students by 2030.”

“I want to challenge our high schools and CareerTechs to be more responsive to our workforce. … For Oklahoma to keep up with the jobs of tomorrow, we must transform our state economy into an innovation economy.”

“Let’s continue to promulgate our budding reputation as the regional hub for Advanced Mobility and unmanned aircraft. Let’s continue to make investments in our fastest growing industry: aerospace and defense.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro gave his first budget address to the General Assembly on March 7 and said the state needs to invest more in economic opportunity, and said he created the Office of Transformation and Opportunity, a one-stop shop for businesses “to help connect the dots and give them the support they need to grow and thrive.”

“This budget also makes a significant down payment on innovation and economic development. Like a 50 percent increase in the Manufacturing Innovation Program, which connects our universities with our businesses to find new solutions and spur innovation. This will be cutting edge research done by Pennsylvania students, spurring job creation right here in Pennsylvania… ”

“We stand on the precipice of a major opportunity for energy and tech jobs – and Pennsylvania must lead the way by securing at least one regional hydrogen hub. My administration supports Pennsylvania’s applicants, and we want the future of hydrogen to come through our Commonwealth.”

“For the first time ever, the Commonwealth is going to put sustainable state funding into what’s known as the Historically Disadvantaged Business Program. We’ll provide long-overdue funding for women and minority-owned businesses across this Commonwealth, to support their growth and open new doors of opportunity.”

The governor also focused on the workforce, and highlighted his Executive Order signed his first day in office announcing that 92% of state government jobs do not require a college degree. He also called for a raise in the minimum wage to $15/hour.

“My administration has a comprehensive plan to invest in apprenticeship programs, expand vo-tech, and bring career and technical education back into our classrooms. We can connect the dots between our schools, our trade unions, our companies, and the public sector. We can create a pipeline from the classroom to the workforce and give Pennsylvanians the tools they need to succeed.”

“And for those who choose to pursue college, it’s on us to rethink our system of higher education – because what we’re doing isn’t working. Colleges competing with one another for a limited dollar – duplicating degree programs, driving up costs, and actually reducing access. As enrollment declines and questions about the value of a college degree persist, it’s on us to once and for all have an honest dialogue about higher education in Pennsylvania. I’ve tasked Acting Education Secretary [Khalid] Mumin to immediately convene our college and university presidents to pick up on the conversation I’ve already started with them. They’ve agreed to engage in a constructive, time-limited working group so that when I stand before you next year, I can present a comprehensive and meaningful reform plan for higher education.”

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee, Jan. 17, State of the State:

“The budget surplus and economic stimulus funding from the federal government has put us in a position to make a record-setting investment in Rhode Island and in the people of Rhode Island. In addition to economic development projects happening across the state through public and private partnerships over the next several years, we will also have 137 state infrastructure projects totaling nearly $2 billion moving forward.”

“It’s time to double down and make a major investment in Rhode Island’s life science sector. My budget will reflect this investment and I look forward to working with the Speaker on this key priority that we both share.”

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s Jan. 26 State of the State :

“… I recommend setting aside a significant amount of funds to re-invest in our state’s record-breaking economic development efforts, rather than borrowing it through the issuance of bonds, which increases our state’s debt.  A one-time appropriation of $500 million will allow the Department of Commerce to satisfy all outstanding obligations and incentives without borrowing money. The House recently approved this appropriation, and it is my hope that the Senate will follow suit.

“An additional one-time appropriation of $200 million will allow the department to identify and secure properties for future mega-site development.”

“To address the critical labor shortage affecting key sectors of our economy, I am asking the General Assembly to invest an additional $78 million in lottery funds to expand Workforce Scholarships for the Future through the South Carolina Technical College System.”

“We are also providing a record amount of financial aid and scholarships for students in need.  I propose providing $80 million so that every South Carolinian who qualifies for federal need-based financial aid - as measured by federal Pell Grants – receives sufficient state financial assistance to attend any in-state public college, university, or technical college. And students at private, independent, and historically black colleges and universities will receive an additional $20 million for tuition grants and assistance.”

“In addition, I ask that the General Assembly complete the funding of the Battelle Alliance, a collaborative nuclear sciences research partnership between the University of South Carolina, Clemson University, South Carolina State University, and the Savannah River National Laboratory.  With an appropriation of $100 million in addition to the $20 million appropriated last year, the alliance will develop workforce training programs designed to develop a pipeline of new talent to fill engineering, science, research, and management positions for private industry and nuclear facilities, including those operated by the Department of Energy. The impact on our research campuses will be far-reaching and dramatic.”

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Feb. 6 State of the State:

“This year, I propose that we complete Tennessee’s TCAT [Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology] Master Plan. To do that, we’ll expand and improve 16 existing TCATs, replace seven outdated facilities, and build six brand new TCATs at strategic locations across our state. Our goal is to train 10,000 new skilled workers a year. To achieve this, we’re proposing $1 billion in this budget – the largest investment in our technical colleges in state history.”

Striking a hopeful note, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox’s Jan. 19 State of the State was directed toward the youth of the state and elected officials in the Legislature had young family members with them for the address.

“… I am proposing another $500 million in water conservation investment in addition to new policy changes that will reduce our per capita use.”

Cox was the only governor thus far this year to call on social media companies to help protect youth and cited efforts to propose legislation that will “prevent social media companies from collecting data from our kids, limit the use of cell phones in the classroom, and empower parents to reduce this toxic technology in our homes.”

“We can do more to support skills-based learning for those who don’t choose to pursue a college degree and freeze tuition costs for those who do.”

Although he did not provide a State of the State, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, in his January budget address, proposed $78.2 million across all funds to the State Colleges, including an additional $2.5 million for the Vermont State College system.

“The State Colleges are important to our regional economies, so they need to be financially sound. And to be candid, some of the decisions they’ve made, and will need to make, will be tough to swallow. But they’re adjusting to the realities of today, and are better positioned than ever, to prepare our future workforce. So, to help them finish this transition, I’ll also dedicate an additional $9 million in one-time bridge funding, and $10 million for transitional infrastructure. 

“And with another $10 million, we can launch a two-year pilot that reduces CCV tuition by 50% for those programs targeted to the specific fields we know are in demand, including childcare and education, accounting, IT, engineering and more.”

“We should also continue to support UVM’s Upskill Vermont Scholarship, and free tuition through VSAC’s 802 Opportunity program, with a total of $6.4 million this year to give low-income Vermonters free courses, helping them gain new skills for good jobs.”

“We should continue helping employers train future workers with another $1 million through our internship program. Let’s also invest $5 million in the Vermont Training Program to meet the increased demand from companies across the state, and to bring more federal CHIPS and Science Act dollars to Vermont, supporting President Biden’s goal to grow semiconductor jobs. And I propose we continue investing in recruitment tools that help attract more people, like our relocated worker program.”

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Jan. 11, State of the Commonwealth, stated that “the heart of our economic challenge is growth” and said the out-migration of residents from the state “moving to states with lower taxes and lower cost of living and as those Virginians pack up and move away so go the jobs, investments, and tax revenue they drive.”

“The budget amendments I have put forward calls for immediate tax cuts for businesses and individuals – key, visible commitments and a modern-day shot heard round the world that says Virginia is here to compete and Virginia is here to win.“

“We must provide choice within the public school system by accelerating our bipartisan efforts to build lab schools. And we must accelerate dual-enrollment partnerships between our high schools and our community college system, so we WILL realize a day where every child graduates with an industry recognized credential.”

“Let’s fund research to drive innovation in small modular reactors, hydrogen, carbon capture and more effective battery storage. Let’s set realistic carbon reduction goals every five years, as opposed to etching in stone 30 year plans based more on hope than reality.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in his Jan. 10 State of the State talked of shifting the state’s policies in clean energy to implementation and investment. “We need more capacity to site and permit clean energy projects in a timely manner, and we need to bolster our transmission infrastructure to reliably deliver clean energy throughout the state. We also need to expand our research and development capacity. … The CCA [Climate Commitment Act] will provide an estimated $1.7 billion that we will use for projects to drive down emissions, create jobs and make communities healthier.”

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, Jan. 11, State of the State:

“I'm proposing with our ARPA dollars that have been sitting there a long time. I'm proposing with those dollars that are a total of $677 million, that we do with those dollars two things. We put $500 million of those dollars aside for the economic enhancement or impact fund.”

“I want to put $75 million in higher ed to work on deferred maintenance.”

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers delivered his fifth State of the State address on Jan. 24 and looked forward to the state’s 175th anniversary in 2023.

“More than 387,000 homes and businesses will have new or improved access to reliable, high-speed internet, and I want to double that number by the end of this term.”

This governor’s concern with water wasn’t related to its supply as many western governors have related, but to its contamination. “’I’m proposing to invest more than $100 million to take a three-pronged approach to confront PFAS [per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances] across our state. We’re going to increase PFAS testing, sampling, and monitoring statewide so we can find these contaminants and get them out of our water.”

“… I’m excited to announce we’re going to continue our Main Street Bounceback program in my biennial budget with a $50 million investment to provide as many as 5,000 eligible businesses with grants up to $10,000 to help afford building repairs and improvements, lease and mortgage payments, and defray other expenses that can be a barrier to someone’s dream becoming a successful business.

“We’re also going to ensure our more than 8,500 small businesses who’ve already received Main Street Bounceback grants continue to thrive by investing up to $5 million into providing technical assistance, mentorship, and educational training to these small business owners to ensure they have the support they need to continue their success.”

“… I’m announcing we’re going to continue harnessing our local ingenuity through the Workforce Innovation Grant program with a $100 million investment in my budget to keep developing new, innovative ideas and locally-based projects that will support our workforce and economic development based on what those communities and regions need.

“We’re also going to invest $10 million in an initiative led by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to collaborate with industries in every sector of our state’s economy to develop and implement initiatives to retain and attract talented workers.”

“… We’re also going to invest nearly $10 million into expanding clean energy job training and reemployment and reducing barriers for folks joining our clean energy workforce.”

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon in his Jan. 11, State of the State noted that the state’s joint hydrogen hub proposal with Colorado and New Mexico made the first cut and received the go-ahead to proceed to the next step. He also said he is requesting an additional $50 million for the Governor’s Energy Matching Fund, and urged support for the Joint Appropriations budget proposals for the State Engineer to have the “resources that are essential to boost our ability to respond and advocate for Wyoming water users effectively.”

“A diversifying economy also needs a nimble, skilled and ambitious workforce. Without collaboration by our higher education institutions to meet these workforce needs, those jobs will go elsewhere. That is why I joined with our community colleges and university to launch the Wyoming Innovation Partnership or WIP. This collaboration aligns education, workforce development and industry to support Wyoming's economic development needs.”

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