The budget proposal is in a word: long. But within the many pages of the document there’s much to be said about technology and innovation, a lot of which can be found in the section on “Investing in Our Future.”
So what could it all mean to Connecticut?
For one, as of the Fall 2011 semester, the majority of all students enrolled in public institutions in Connecticut attend community colleges. Over the last ten years community colleges have seen a 48% increase in full-time enrollment.
Under Obama’s budget community colleges would receive a huge boost in funds, including $8 billion dollars to “support college partnerships with businesses to build the skills of America.” The businesses in these partnerships are what the White House considers high-growth industries, including cybersecurity (the administration proposed $769 million support the operations of the National Cyber Security), digital healthcare, high-tech education and high-tech manufacturing. All of the these industries require cutting-edge technologies and courses are already being offered at some colleges including Manchester and Tunxis.
Another top priority for the administration’s budget is to expand next-generation, wireless broadband to all parts of the country. The budget (accurately) acknowledges that wireless broadband is a critical component of day-to-day business operations and economic prosperity. Perhaps because of the millions of dollars spent by Verizon and AT&T, Connecticut’s wireless broadband access is for the most part pretty solid (other than some areas of Litchfield County). Areas of New York, Vermont and New Hampshire could certainly use the help, especially from AT&T.
A lot of the negativity in Connecticut surrounding the budget revolves around a potential 1% cut (approximately $5.1 billion) in the Pentagon’s budget. According to The Hartford Courant’s Mara Lee, to reach the 1% cut the Pentagon’s purchasing of the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft would be slowed down. Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut produces the engines for those jets. Additionally, there would be a delay in the production of a missile submarine that is under contract with Electric Boat.
The budget still needs to pass through Congress before any of this is actually on the books. This decision is expected in the Spring.
In the meantime, sound off in the comments with your opinions.
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