Providence, RI – With the usual pomp and circumstance, Governor Lincoln Almond delivered his final State of the State address Wednesday night. Almond said he anticipates a quick economic recovery and stress the importance of maintaining a competitive business environment, while also protecting low income children.
The governor noted the strain the September 11 attacks placed on Rhode Island and the entire country.
?But much like the spirit of our great nation, I am pleased to report the state of the state is resilient, filled with unlimited hope and prosperity and surging ahead,? said Almond.
Governor Almond said the state?s economy is moving forward. He noted 59 new companies at Quonset Point Industrial Park and new bio tech businesses opening through out the state.
?We've made our state a leader for financial services. Now we're targeting bio-tech as one of our state's growth industries. Just think. Immunex and Dow combined are investing over $1-billion dollars in our state,? the governor said.
He also promised to continue to fight the expansion of gambling in Rhode Island, ?We've raised our voices against props that will diminish our quality of life and our ability to create and maintain jobs. That's why we have fought the expansion of any form of gambling and we'll continue to lead the charge.?
Despite an expected budget deficit, Governor Almond pushed for continued funding to maintane state subsidies for health care and child care.
?We can not role back the pages on important programs that set the foundation for our children to lead fulfilling lives. That's short-sighted.? Almond said, ?We know that a healthy, well-trained workforce will drive Rhode Island forward in the years to come. In the budget I submit to you next week, I will not recommend scaling back on these core programs.?
Some lawmakers questioned whether full funding is possible.
?That?s a major source of revenue expenditure in our state,? said Senate Majority Leader William Irons, ?The fact that they will be looked at seriously for modification that won't impair the services, that surely is on the table, you can't avoid that.?