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State of the States Part II

by Kristine Tuinstra / /

 Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri plans to revive the state’s economy through tax credits rather than tax increases and by continuing to cut government spending. Two of his priorities include balancing the budget with less revenue and job creation.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert called on lawmakers in his state to exercise fiscal restraint and not raise taxes (without cutting education funding). He criticized the ever-growing involvement of the federal government in private industry. Herbert recognized that times are tough but for the first time in three years, Utah expects an increase in revenue in the upcoming fiscal year.

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland’s top priority is the state’s green energy production followed by job creation programs. Strickland plans to take $30 million in federal stimulus funds and $10 million in state funds to invest in fuel cells and clean energy storage. He also pressed the legislature to eliminate the state’s personal property tax on energy generation for new wind and solar facilities.

Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle proposed tax creates to stimulate clean energy jobs and creating a budget stabilization fund to help protect the state’s finances. The address was filled with specific plans to help the state recover from its worst economic downturn. The state is struggling to close its budget shortall because its economy is so dependent on tourism. To do so, the government will need to be downsized because it cannot continue spending at a rate that exceeds revenue.

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell focused his address on education and called for merit scholarships to Alaska universities. He also called for a two-year suspension of the state’s gas tax. The state can afford to suspend the gas tax because oil taxes have given Alaska large enough budget reserves to last the next 10 years.

Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell plans to rely on spending cuts and not on tax increases to get the state through this tough financial environment. To create jobs and expand Virginia’s economy, he would like to increase the money for tourism and economic development. McDonnell pledged during his campaign this fall that he would not raise taxes if elected. The address reiterated his promise but clearly stating that if the legislature passes a bill that includes tax increases that he will veto it. While the governor did not say where he would trim the state government, he did say that he would privatize the state-owned liquor stores saving the state an estimated $500 million.

Stay tuned for Part III