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Tech Policy Issues Up Front In New Year

Technology policy took a front seat on political agendas Wednesday, even though President-elect Barack Obama hadn't named the nation's chief technology officer by late afternoon.
Technology policy took a front seat on political agendas Wednesday, even though President-elect Barack Obama hadn't named the nation's chief technology officer by late afternoon.The New York Times had reported that Obama would name someone CTO and announce his selection for a chief performance officer on Wednesday. Obama did, in fact, announced that Nancy Killefer was his choice as performance officer. He did not, however, name a CTO.

Still, tech took a front seat in New York politics, as Gov. David Paterson gave his State of the State speech before the Legislature. During a talk that focused more on the economy than any other issue, Paterson announced plans for statewide broadband access and the computerization of medical records, and he indicated they are keys to the state's economic vitality.

He also promised state-of-the-art information and analysis of the state's energy technologies and policies, as well as a unified clearinghouse for energy efficiency programs for New York's schools, hospitals, and local governments. He mentioned technology several times when pointing to ways to strengthen the state's economy.

And, although it wasn't tech-specific, Paterson also announced plans for tax breaks and grants that will encourage business, create jobs, and promote research and development in New York state. Plans to increase intelligence-based law enforcement and the opening of new crime analysis centers also bode well for tech industry players looking for potential business in New York.

But, it wasn't all rosy.

Paterson reflected national concerns when he said that New York faces "savage fiscal choices and the worst budget deficit in the history of our state." He estimated that New York would lose 225,000 jobs to the recession.

Paterson said that New York isn't alone in its suffering, but he expressed optimism that it is well-poised to emerge from global recession. He said the state's human capital, vibrant university system, and innovation indicate that the state will bounce back.