Governors State of the States

The CONEG Governors delivered their 2017 State of the State addresses, or in the case of New Hampshire and Vermont, their inaugural addresses. Highlights of those speeches are provided below including a word cloud illustrating the commonalities among the states.

 

Connecticut

Governor Dannel Malloy focused on the budget and jobs in his State of the State address on January 4, 2017. Malloy discussed the need for economic predictability and stability for the state’s residents and businesses, and highlighted the successful agreements with major aerospace and defense corporations to create and keep jobs in Connecticut. “When we give people reason to believe that their job is here to stay, we’re giving them the confidence to purchase a home, to buy a new family car, or to start a college fund. In other words, we’re giving them confidence to take part in our state economy.”  However, significant fiscal challenges remain and the Governor stated that reductions in spending will be needed in all areas of the state budget and will focus on continued cost savings and efficiencies in state government, making the state pension and benefits more affordable, and creating a more equitable system for distributing funds to cities and towns, especially for education. Read the speech.

Maine

Governor Paul LePage delivered his state of the state address on February 7. The Governor’s top priorities are on tax reform to lower income and corporate taxes; realigning the welfare system and Medicare program to prioritize the elderly and disabled; addiction treatment for the uninsured, therapy and medicated assisted treatment for the opioid crisis; accountability and efficiency in education funding; and sensible energy policies. “We should be able to agree on a sensible energy policy. We should provide the most affordable energy that does the least harm to the environment.” Read the speech.

Massachusetts

Governor Charlie Baker declared the Massachusetts economy “among the strongest in the nation” in his State of the Commonwealth address on January 24, 2017. The Governor emphasized the need for bipartisanship and collaboration and highlighted several of the state’s accomplishments including passing landmark energy legislation, creating a pilot program with Uber and Lyft to provide transportation for disabled individuals, and the successful transition to all-electronic tolling on the Massachusetts Turnpike. He also addressed the state’s continuing efforts to battle the addiction crisis, adding “We all know the opioid epidemic is ravaging individuals and families across the country. And while this is going to be a prolonged battle, our efforts are making a difference.”  Baker’s proposals include developing a cybersecurity blueprint, and creating school empowerment zones. Read the speech.

New Hampshire

Governor Chris Sununu delivered his inaugural address on January 5, 2017. The Governor’s top priorities are curbing the state’s drug abuse crisis, reducing business taxes and regulations, controlling rising energy costs, and expanding choice in education. Sununu will also increase efforts to recruit new employers to New Hampshire and to bring “sensible long-term planning to the energy policy.” He stressed the need to focus on customer service and achieving results for individuals and businesses, and proposed a 90-day moratorium on new rules and regulations. “Let's take a step back and figure out what we are doing and why we are doing it.” Read the transcript.

New York

Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered a series of six Regional State of the State addresses across New York January 9-11, 2017, tailoring each speech to that particular region. The Governor touted achievements in reducing the unemployment rate, increasing jobs, and getting spending under control. “Our government has achieved more, built more, passed more meaningful legislation than ever before,” said Cuomo. The Governor offered a comprehensive set of 37 proposals that aim to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class, bolster the state’s vital infrastructure and create a more sustainable environment.  Proposals range from expanding after-school education to children in high-need areas, closing Indian Point power plant, protecting New Yorkers from soaring prescription drug prices, to strengthening cybercrime and identity theft laws. Read the speech.

Rhode Island

Governor Gina Raimondo focused on the economy, infrastructure, and education in her State of the State address delivered on January 17, 2017. The Governor highlighted the success of the state’s job training programs, decisions by major corporations to bring jobs to Rhode Island, the progress of the RhodeWorks program to repair the state’s highways and bridges, and being the first state in the country to offer computer science classes at every public school. Governor Raimondo’s proposals include increasing the minimum wage, reducing the car tax, increasing the number of green jobs, expanding the advanced manufacturing industries, and guaranteeing two free years of tuition for Rhode Island students at the state’s public colleges noting that “the hardest part of college shouldn’t be paying for it.” Read the speech.

Vermont

Governor Phil Scott was sworn in as Vermont’s 82nd governor on January 5, 2017. His inauguration address focused on four major policy areas: combating the opiate epidemic; realigning the state’s approach to economic development to tie it more directly to workforce expansion efforts; transforming Vermont’s education system; and developing sustainable budgets that can help achieve these goals. Governor Scott’s proposals include convening a State Convention on Drug Abuse Prevention, establish sustainable budgets that address fundamental cost drivers across state government and make necessary investments to grow Vermont’s workforce with “a laser-focus on attracting and retaining working age people” to the state. Read the remarks.