April 20th, 2008 08:33 EST
US Governors agree about green
WASHINGTON—Finding new and using existing 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 report released today by the National Governors Association (NGA).
The Governors Speak 2008 finds that nearly 90 percent of governors used their annual State of the State addresses to outline policies on energy, the environment and natural resources, an increase in the number of governors highlighting the issue over previous years. The findings support the resonance of NGA Chair Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's Securing a Clean Energy Future Initiative.
The report summarizes the initiatives and legislation the nation's governors emphasized during their annual addresses. The report demonstrates where the chief executives of the states believe their leadership is most needed and articulates how they intend to accomplish their goals. In addition to clean energy, issues surrounding economic development, education, and health care were most prevalent in the governors' annual addresses.
"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."
The report quantifies and categorizes the initiatives governors launched on various public policy issues. The most prominent issues included:
- Economic Development: 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: 96 percent described initiatives to improve education, with about two-thirds (64 percent) emphasizing the connection between education and their citizens' ability to compete in the global economy; and
- Health Care: 93 percent discussed health care challenges facing their state, with 76 percent focusing on expanding health coverage.
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 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.
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.
The Governors Speak – 2008: A Report on the State-of-the-State Addresses of the Nation's and U.S. Territories' Governors was prepared for NGA by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education. To download a copy or learn more about the priorities of the nations' governors, please visit www.nga.org.
Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the collective voice of the nation's governors and one of Washington, D.C.'s most respected public policy organizations. Its members are the governors of the 50 states, three territories and two commonwealths. NGA provides governors and their senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges through the NGA Center for Best Practices. For more information, visit www.nga.org.