Report analyzes priorities of U.S. governors
Harnessing ways to promote clean energy topped the list of priorities outlined by the nation’s governors in their 2008 State-of-the-State addresses, according to a recent report released by the National Governors Association (NGA).
Titled “The Governors Speak—2008: A Report on the State-of-the-State Addresses of the Nation’s and U.S. Territories’ Governors,” the report was prepared for the NGA’s Center for Best Practices by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education.
The report summarizes the initiatives and legislation the nation’s governors emphasized during their annual addresses; demonstrates where the chief executives of the states believe their leadership is most needed; and articulates how governors intend to accomplish their goals.
In addition to clean energy, the governors’ annual addresses emphasized issues surrounding economic development, education and health care. The ranking includes:
• Economic development. During their State-of-the-State addresses, 93 percent of governors highlighted proposals to foster economic growth, with 71 percent describing initiatives to develop “new economy” advancements focused on high-tech fields such as biomedicine as well as on energy and fuels development.
• Education. An estimated 96 percent of governors described initiatives to improve education, with about two-thirds (64 percent) emphasizing the connection between education and their citizens’ abilities to compete in the global economy.
• Health Care. Approximately 93 percent of governors discussed health care challenges facing their respective state, with 76 percent focusing on expanding health coverage.
Additional issues and challenges
For many governors, the slowing economy has resulted in challenging budget conditions this year. In 2008, 58 percent of governors described economic conditions in their respective state as “good” or “strong,” down from 67 percent in 2007. Meanwhile, 18 percent of governors described state economies that were weakening or slowing, and 60 percent of governors emphasized efforts to cut spending growth or increase government efficiency.
“Despite challenging economic conditions, governors continue to pursue an array of public policies to move their states forward,” said John Thomasian, director of the NGA Center for Best Practices. “Across the country, governors are strengthening their economies and improving residents’ livelihoods by spurring clean energy development, improving education and stimulating job creation.”
Governors also described their efforts in a number of other areas. For example, more than two-thirds of governors discussed efforts to improve transportation in their states, up from 41 percent in 2007; 47 percent outlined proposals to expand broadband access and the use of information technology; 42 percent highlighted plans to improve or expand social service programs; and 40 percent described priorities for homeland security, including disaster preparedness and development of information infrastructure.
To download a copy of the report, visit http://www.nga.org/.