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Tech Talkin’ Govs, part 7: States look to educated populace to help build prosperity

February 21, 2019
By: Ellen Marrison

As the states turn to tackling their budgets, governors are presenting their spending and revenue proposals, and SSTI continues to monitor these. Budget constraints and deficits are problems for governors in Connecticut and Illinois, and Connecticut’s governor is proposing expanding the sales tax base while focusing on loan forgiveness and clean energy. Education is on the agenda in Illinois where the governor is hoping to build prosperity through skills training and college affordability. And in New Hampshire, more money is being channeled to higher education initiatives, part of which could be funded by legalizing sports betting if the governor there gets his way.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont gave his first budget address, outlining his plan to address a looming budget deficit without raising the income tax as he promised on the campaign trail, and growing the state’s economy:

“My sales tax reform would broaden the base so that digital goods are treated equally and more significantly that we are capturing a growing segment of the economy. 

“Today, I’m inviting Connecticut businesses to step up and partner with me to help the next generation of talent repay their student loans and save for their futures. To kick-start this effort, Travelers and Stanley Black & Decker have agreed to offer their own loan forgiveness programs, and together we are inviting other Connecticut companies to join us.”

“I also support fully funding our clean energy and energy efficiency programs, which have been shortchanged over the last few years. These funds help bring down electricity costs for working families, and they further reduce our carbon footprint. I will make sure that we work with labor and vo-tech schools so that more of our citizens get the skills training they need for good paying, green collar jobs.”

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker also delivered his first budget address yesterday, working to fix what he said was “a fundamental structural deficit that has existed for quite some time and spanned the administrations of several governors. And it won’t be solved until we rethink our spending priorities and some basic revenue issues facing the state.”

“It also requires a recognition that to lower costs and increase revenue over the long term we must make investments in education, livable wages, innovative human service programs and job training. We must stop slashing programs that build future prosperity – if we cut skills training and college affordability, we curb near term economic growth, lower our prospects for future revenue, and drive businesses away.”

“… We need to continue to grow our position as a top-tier startup and technology ecosystem, and we are doing that in this budget with new investments and by re-prioritizing dollars within the departments of our state government.”

“We can grow our economy and make it more inclusive by taking advantage of the talent among the diverse people of our state. That’s why we must promote the development of sustained wealth in black and brown communities by being purposeful about increasing the number of minority-owned businesses eligible for state procurement opportunities and by attracting private capital to build out new businesses and jobs in Opportunity Zones. And I want downstate Republicans and Democrats to work together with me on a Downstate Revitalization Plan to encourage the creation of new businesses and jobs and foster the growth of existing ones in struggling communities so they can thrive.”

“College affordability is a paramount investment in near term economic growth for our state. So I’ve proposed a 5 percent increase for public universities and community colleges, as well as an increase in the Monetary Award Program by $50 million to help more than 15,000 more low- and moderate-income students attend college next year. We will do more every year to come. I’m also proposing $35 million for the second-year costs of the AIM HIGH merit scholarship program for high achieving students – so we can keep our best and brightest in Illinois.”

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu focused on education:

“…I am proud to announce we will be removing barriers and increasing CTE tuition and transportation aid to its highest levels ever - $8.6 Million, which will be necessary to get the kids to the new Rochester and Hudson CTE schools, both to be funded and completed this biennium.”

“The answer to the high burdens of college debt is NOT to give free diplomas to everyone, it is to create a system that incentivizes students to stay and work in our great state through a student debt assistance program. Last year we piloted this idea within the area of Regenerative Medicine. This year we are building on that success by restructuring our cash funds and will lead the nation with a new $32 Million Student Loan Assistance program available to all students and at no additional cost to the tax payer.”

“This budget increases our education revenue streams by legalizing sports betting, which will bring in an additional $10 million in annual revenue beginning in fiscal year 2021. Given our new opportunities to legalize sports betting in a responsible and reliable way, and capture more revenue for our education system, I say we go all in and get it done!”

Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshiretech talkin govs