Gov. Ronnie Musgrove’s new plan for economic development, the Advantage Mississippi Initiative, is both ambitious and vague — depending upon one’s perspective. The details, or lack thereof, will be the source of speculation in the next few, short weeks before the special legislative session Aug. 28. During the session, legislators are expected to pass the governor’s plan.
Reaction to the plan has been optimistic but cautious — not uncommon when any change is proposed. However, one thing is certain, this strategy was crafted in the context of the New Economy. Technology, workforce training and education are the critical issues Mississippi must address to insure prosperity and opportunities in the 21st century. It remains to be seen how the various, and often competing, economic and political forces in the state will handle the devilish details of the Advantage Mississippi Initiative, which offers the lofty goal of “Making Mississippi America’s State of Promise.”
An interesting component of the new economic development plan is a push toward electronic government. Using technology to improve access and communication between state agencies and citizens, as well as business and industry, is progressive government at its best. When well designed, easy to use and affordable, technology is extraordinarily liberating, and dare we say, empowering. It can also boost productivity, accelerate efficiency and eliminate tedious tasks from one’s daily routine — all valuable to public and private organizations.
Just think, with the proliferation of wireless networks and powerful, handheld computers, one day we might be able to renew our drivers’ licenses or pay our taxes while stuck in five o’clock gridlock traffic.
Technology as savior is a clich