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Tech Talkin' Govs 2003: The Inaugural, Budget, and State-of-the-State Addresses

January 10, 2003

Annually, SSTI looks at the various addresses given by the nation's governors at the beginning of the year. Over the next several weeks, the SSTI Weekly Digest will profile the excerpts concerning programs, policies and issues immediately affecting the tech-based economic development community.

The states are facing their worst fiscal crises in more than 50 years — the latest combined deficit figures were a whopping $90 billion. It should not be lost on the governors the important role tech-based economic development plays in strengthening state and local economies through higher wage jobs and more competitive businesses. Do their speeches bear that out?

During the past 10 days, inaugural addresses were given in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Wisconsin and Wyoming. State of the State speeches were made in California, Connecticut, Idaho, New York, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia. Governors in Colorado, North Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming delivered budget messages as they presented their budget proposals to the state legislature.

Recent highlights show tech-based economic development remains a bipartisan priority for many states:


Governor Gray Davis, Second Inaugural Address, January 6, 2003

"[W]e will make California the world's nucleus for life science innovation. This sector of the economy, perhaps more than any other, has high-growth potential, high wages for its workers, and a higher purpose - using cell technology to build healthier, happier lives. We'll build on our existing successes to put California at the center of this remarkable industry."

Governor Gray Davis, State of the State Address, January 8, 2003

"I will ask the Public Utilities Commission to create an Office of Economic Development. It will review all major proceedings before the PUC to determine their benefit to the economy, infrastructure and job creation.

"Every large economy needs a vibrant manufacturing base. So I will ask you to extend the Manufacturers' Investment Credit. This credit is widely recognized as creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs...

"To keep California on the cutting-edge of this life-saving field [life sciences], we need to launch a new Life Sciences Initiative. My Administration will focus on three things: one, increasing the number of qualified lab technicians. Two, working with the University of California to simplify the transfer of technology. Three, increasing access to venture capital and federal grants."


Governor John Baldacci, Inaugural Address, January 8, 2003

"[W]e cannot let the temporary budget troubles divert our attention from the bigger challenge of strengthening Maine's economy. In the coming weeks, I will be putting forth a detailed economic strategy. It will include "Pine Tree" opportunity zones to spur economic development in areas of Maine that really need it; a doubling of our investment in research and development to support emerging industries like biomedical research at Jackson Lab; one-stop shopping for business and trade information; and a more consolidated, consistent emphasis on regional and international opportunities with the other New England states and the maritime provinces of Canada...

"One of the ways we will address [Maine's lag nationally in postsecondary performance] is by transforming the state's technical colleges into a true Community College System offering a full range of programs and making the best use of all our existing resources, including the University campuses and K-12 schools. To enhance higher education opportunities in Maine, our public higher education systems need to work collaboratively and efficiently. I have discussed this with the Chancellor of the University System and the President of the Technical College System, both of whom share this belief."

New Mexico

Governor Bill Richardson, Inaugural Address, January 1, 2003

"The voters of New Mexico showed on Election Day that...they want a state government that supports sustainable business growth and technology development. They want New Mexico's state government to work with private business to create good, high wage jobs while protecting our state's precious natural resources..."

"We will take advantage of our potentially enormous economic resources. We will reinvigorate our state universities, our national laboratories and work with the business community. We will actively promote the transfer of technology from the cutting-edge research of our labs to the private sector. We can nurture this growth to build a high-wage economy...

"We must bring our unique technological and scientific resources to the cutting-edge of the newest, environmentally friendly technologies. My administration will provide incentives for energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources. We will make New Mexico an exporter of the cleaner technologies of the future."

In related news, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported Wednesday that Governor Richardson announced he will ask the legislature to approve "spending about $24 million on economic-development initiatives, including $15 million for an existing in-plant training program and a one-time $9 million endowment of professorships at the state's research universities: The University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University and New Mexico Tech."

New York

Governor George Pataki, State of the State Address, January 8, 2003

"And while we deal with the immediate [fiscal] crisis we must also look beyond today and focus our sights and our energies towards the bright future that awaits us tomorrow. For we know that if we act responsibly, the crisis before us will be temporary, and if we build on the remarkable progress we've already made, the promise of the future we seek will be unlimited.

"...we must pay special attention to the needs of the new high-tech economy. Two years ago, I set forth a simple but powerful idea: Combine the power of our high-tech industry with the strengths of our top-flight academic institutions – add active State government support – and we can create a new economy and a new prosperity for New York. This notion is embodied in our Centers of Excellence – a network of high-tech research and economic development centers stretching from Buffalo to Brookhaven – creating an Empire State High Tech Corridor that teams our universities with industry.

"... But we need to continue our momentum by expanding our Empire State High Tech Corridor. Therefore, we are moving forward with additional Centers of Excellence – in Westchester with leading research institutions like New York Presbyterian Hospital, Cornell and Columbia universities, New York Medical College, and companies like IBM and GE, focused on biotech... And in New York City, with Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Columbia, NYU and other medical research institutions, to build on the biotech industry and academic strengths there.

"We must build on the other high-tech and biotech investments we have made – in our STAR Centers, our Advanced Research Centers and our Centers for Advanced Technology – in places like Alfred, Binghamton, Potsdam and Ithaca, and throughout our Empire State High Tech Corridor. Industry and university collaboration are essential to our goal of creating a new economy in New York.

"This is a critical time in our State's history. All these new projects and initiatives hold promise and they are loaded with incredible potential. They need to be nurtured with the same energy that was used to conceive and attract them."

North Dakota

Governor John Hoeven, State of the State Address, January 7, 2003

"I am asking you to make a major investment in North Dakota's future – an investment of more than $100 million – an investment in an initiative we call Smart Growth. It includes new funding for both traditional economic development programs, and a new approach - marshaling all of our resources in new ways to build our future...Smart Growth is a comprehensive plan that combines education, career development, and technology with entrepreneurial business activity to create a more dynamic economy for North Dakota.

"The programs in the Growing North Dakota Initiative totaled $21 million. It was a major commitment to build our future. But today, I am asking you to commit five times that investment – more than $100 million – to Smart Growth, a unified vision of teamwork and initiatives that will 'Build Our Future in North Dakota.'"

"Let me give you some examples of the kinds of investments and commitments I am asking you to make in Smart Growth:

  • Increase teacher compensation. We must keep our best and brightest teachers here, to keep our students the best and brightest.
  • Better link our teachers to career development, to keep more of our young people in North Dakota.
  • Fully implement the Higher Education Roundtable strategy, including resources for Centers of Excellence, designed to maximize the synergy between education and entrepreneurial activity.
  • Develop ConnectND, a cutting edge information management system for the entire state - to provide schools and businesses with the tools they need to compete nationally.
  • Launch new venture capital funds - to jumpstart business activity.
  • Implement business internship programs - to help students launch careers in North Dakota.
  • Enhance career counseling and job placement - to make sure students find the right career and find the best opportunities in North Dakota.
  • Decouple state corporate income tax - to send a clear message to the world that North Dakota has a competitive tax structure, and that we are ready to do business.
  • Partner with the New Economy Initiative - to keep this vision before us at all times.
  • Offer a low-interest home buying program to attract and retain skilled workers in areas of shortages.
  • And create tax incentives to stimulate energy development and value-added agriculture, such as new initiatives for ethanol, and enhanced development of oil and gas.


Governor Mark Warner, State of the Commonwealth Address, January 8, 2003

"...we currently have twenty-two workforce development programs spread across ten different agencies, in three secretariats. Too often, the current system doesn't help working Virginians when they need it most. That's why I have offered a comprehensive plan to move Virginia toward a coordinated statewide workforce development system. This plan improves the existing one-stop Workforce Development Centers. And we will FINALLY appoint a single, high-level state official to coordinate workforce development.

"And to target young adults without high school diplomas, we have proposed creating a "middle college" within the community college system. In the information age, when job skills are more important than ever, state government should help people gain new skills - not stand in their way.

"Looking beyond the session, we'll keep working to grow the economy by focusing on emerging industries and strengthening our traditional industries.

"In particular, advances in the life sciences offer tremendous economic opportunities, and I intend to build on the work that our biotechnology task force began this past year."

West Virginia

Governor Bob Wise, State of the State Address, January 8, 2003

"I have also requested that we merge the Governor’s Office of Technology with the Office of Information Services and Communications. We spend millions on technology--and it’s simply not coordinated as well as it should be."